One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen people in the matching process do is to fall in love with a picture. Here are a list of reasons why you should never fall in love based on a picture (even if it is next to a one paragraph summary).
1) If it is a cute picture, a WHOLE BUNCH of other people are going to be in love with it too. They are going to have the picture on their fridge, bulletin board, or desk. They are going to think the kids are SO CUTE or that "there is just something about that kid." A captivating photo will captivate many, and as you know, the more people that are captivated, the more families will be interested in the child.
2) Many children who are on photolistings are already matched. One of the hardest parts of the adoption matching process for those who are involved in matching and placing children is keeping photolistings up to date. There are many children who are already matched on websites.
3) Falling in love with a face can keep you from really listening to the information presented about the child. Wanting a child very badly because of a cute picture can cause people to not make reasonable decisions.
4) Very few people are matched with the first kid they fall for. In fact, because there is only one family chosen for each situation, there are many many others who are not selected. I remember hearing about one sibling group of children and the Texas website received over 100 homestudies submitted within the first 24 hours they were on the website. Theoretically that would mean that 99 homestudies were rejected and only 1 selected. Ironically, these three children, all under the age of five, were so difficult that the worker ended up putting the children on hold and none of the 100 families were chosen. The children were not matched until almost a full year later.
5) Photolistings, while they are great matching tools, are also recruiting tools. I remember the first kids we fell in love with back in 1997. I came across the old "Faces of Adoption" website and was immediately in love with these two kids. We didn't even have our homestudy done. But even though we realized that we had no chance of getting those kids because the process took so long, they drew us into the adoption process. So you may never be matched with children you see on a photolisting.
6) Finally, and most unfortunately, even getting matched does not mean that the children will come to your home (which I will discuss in a later post). But seeing a picture for the first time is definitely way too early in the process to be getting excited.