I’ve been watching this idea for weeks and have been resistant to comment on it, but now as it’s getting it’s second wind, I have a few thoughts.
A while back, a group set up a Kickstarter page for a phone app that would allow people to swipe right or left through photos of children that were available for adoption, in hopes of making the process….easier? Eventually Kickstarter kicked them out and they have migrated to Indigogo to raise funds. They’re looking for $100,000 in startup funds to be added to venture capital that they say they have arranged.
The app is called Adoptly, and you’re right, it sounds a lot like Tinder, the dating app. Their press is a little shy on details but they vow to make it easy to connect potential adoptive parents with available children. You can read more at Fox News or AOL.
I am all for adoption reform, but this is ridiculous for more reasons than I have space to list. Here are my brief thoughts.
I’m suspicioius that it’s not a legit effort.
Kickstarted booted them, and as of this writing, Indigogo’s Trust and Safety Team has them under review as well. That could mean several things – that they are simply trying to collect money, or that they are trying to make a greater point with the attention they’re gathering. Either way, I kind of doubt anyone smart enough to do all the legwork on this would also think it’s a good idea.
If it is legit, it’s not helping.
There are aspects of adoption that will forever be complicated. Forever. And should be. The reason is to make sure that children and parents are treated ethically, that trafficking isn’t an issue, and that we are not placing children in unfit homes. There is no army of volunteer professionals to do that work and they deserve to be paid. The idea of choosing a child via a simple app making things easier is naive at best, misleading at worse.
It’s unclear where these kids are.
I kind of assume they’ll pull from a pool of photos that states publish – these are kids who are in foster care and are available for adoption. Often states do make these photos available, but the databases are notoriously out of date and the 5 year old child you’re swiping right or left on may very now be a sophomore in college somewhere.
Even if they get this to work – and they won’t – it actually changes nothing. You still need attorneys. Social workers. Doctors. Counseling. All the things that current system uses are not done away with – they’re just brought into the equation after you’ve fallen in love with a jpeg image on your phone.
Even if this becomes operational, it does not make adoption better. Resist the temptation to take short cuts. The answer to adoption is not a glossy application – it’s the right people rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, whether it’s easy or not.