PHOENIX -- We all know social media is a great way to connect with others, but how about connecting future family members?
People who want to adopt a child are now "Facebooking", "Tweeting" and "You-Tubing" their desire, all hoping a birth mother will see their posts and pick them to be parents.
However, if you're looking to adopt, don't race over to your computer to update your status.
Holding, singing and kissing Theo, their newborn son, was a dream come true for his adoptive parents: Molly and John Connolly.
"We found and connected with our son by using social media," Molly explained.
Soon after the Connolly's posted a website and started a facebook group expressing their desire to adopt, Theo's then pregnant birth mother saw it and emailed them.
"Our hearts just jumped out of our throats practically," John remembered.
They finalized the arrangements through an adoption agency, and the day Theo was born they traveled across the country to meet the little boy and his birth mother at the hospital.
"She was holding Theo and she told him how much she loved him and, she loved him so much that she picked the perfect parents for him and she gave him a kiss and put him in my arms," Molly said.
Social media sites confirm more people than ever are posting their plight to adopt online, hoping to stand out in a competitive selection process.
There are Facebook posts linking to websites with heartfelt pictures, heartbreaking stories of infertility, carefully worded write ups about how they'll parent and if the birth mother can be involved.
"The terms "adoption" and "baby" have been mentioned on the social media site more than 550,000 times in the past year," Twitter told 3TV.
And we found thousands of adoption profiles on Youtube.
Adam Pertman is the Executive Director of the renown Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute. He is studying the brand new phenomenon.
"What we're seeing really is historic changes. We really don't know about all this stuff. It is inventing itself before our eyes," said Pertman.
While posting online may sound like an inexpensive way for a "do it yourself adoption," the
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys warns it should just be part of the process.
"The risk involved is that both the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents are vulnerable and they don't necessarily know the laws or how they can proceed once they connect," Pertman explained.
The Connollys said the risk was worth it.
They actually still use Facebook to keep in touch with Theo's birth mother so she can see pictures as he grows up.
"It changed our lives so I think it's something people should do if they want to start a family this way."
For more information. http://www.childadoptionlaws.com
For information about American Academy Adoption Attorneys: http://www.adoptionattorneys.org