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In the emotion-charged realm of adoption the Internet has been a blessing and a curse Thanks to online listings - complete with photographs and profiles - thousands of parents have adopted children they otherwise might never have found In the wrong hands however the Internet is a near-perfect tool for preying on vulnerable couples yearning for the child of their dreams Theres bad and good in everything even on the Internet said Mary Teinsmeyer of Indianapolis IN proud mother of two boys and a girl found on an adoption Web site You just have to make sure of who youre dealing with The seamy side of Internet adoption has been spotlighted in the past few months as couples from Britain and California battle for custody of twins they found through the same Internet service The Britons paid 12000 to the San Diego-based broker the Americans 6000 Though the case has roused trans-Atlantic outrage it is not an isolated example Harlan Tenenbaum director of a Delaware adoption agency and chairman of the American Bar Associations adoption committee said increasing numbers of private for-profit brokers use the Internet to drum up business A favorite venue he said are chat lines on which couples discuss their interest in adopting One couple was on line for 37 minutes and received six solicitations Tenenbaum said Its not always a bidding war but it lends itself to bidding Allan Hazlett of Topeka Kan president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys said brokers also e-mail solicitations to couples who post information about themselves in hopes of attracting interest from birth mothers contemplating adoption These facilitators are unregulated unlicensed essentially uncontrollable Hazlett said Theyll send an e-mail or call a couple saying I can get you a birth mother in a week or two If it sounds too good to be true it probably isnt true But thats what theyre counting on people so
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