"Loving, professional couple looking to adopt a newborn in the U.S. Melissa has been a fourth-grade teacher for 11 years, and Seth works in public health. We want to build our family through adoption with love, laughter, fun and passion."
So read the flyer Seth Edlavitch posted on his Facebook page one night in late November 2008. Seth, at the time a Facebook newbie with only 40 friends, had heard of the social-networking site's viral effect, and decided it certainly couldn't hurt. After five years of trying to conceive, the loss of twins at five months after successful in vitro fertilization (and then countless more rounds of in vitro after that), Seth and his wife, Melissa Segal, were ready to adopt and wanted to spread the word. “We had already sent out the flyer in a mass e-mail to our family and friends, and started a blog where we uploaded it along with our pictures and a toll-free number. For Facebook, I converted the document into a PDF so I could post it on my wall,” says Seth.
In his status update, he encouraged friends to pass it around. Seth's close friend John was one of the first to leave a comment, asking if he could post the flyer to his wall, which he did. “We had no idea if it would work, but we figured that the more people who knew we were looking, the better,” says Melissa.
In early December, a friend of John's whom he hadn't spoken to in more than 20 years called Seth directly because she had seen the flyer. “She explained to me that Lisa, the wife of one of her employees, was eight months pregnant. The couple already had several children and wanted to place the baby for adoption but didn't have a plan yet,” says Seth. Phone numbers were exchanged, and Seth and Melissa called Lisa that same night. Since she lived only a few minutes away, they made a plan to meet at the local Starbucks.
“We were really nervous the day we met Lisa,” Melissa recalls. “But when we sat down to talk, it was like getting to know a good friend. She showed us pictures of her children, who were all happy and healthy.” Discussions moved on to weightier subjects, like Lisa's health, medical issues and drinking and smoking habits, “but she was great about answering everything,” says Melissa.
Once Lisa chose Melissa and Seth to adopt her baby, lawyers were brought in to begin the legal adoption process. Within a few weeks, Melissa and Seth were in the delivery room by Lisa and her husband's side. That's when they met their son, Noah Benjamin.
“Using Facebook to find Noah was a miracle,” says Seth. It's one the couple hopes to replicate, as they've turned to the networking site again as part of an overall strategy to adopt a second child. “We know the power of social media, and we hope it will help connect us with another baby in need of a family,” says Melissa. As for Noah, his little face currently fills every pixel of Melissa's profile picture.
Melissa, Seth and Noah, now 2 year old, live in Washington, DC.