Technology has changed nearly every aspect of the adoption process.
Search engines have made it easier to find information guides, just like this one, and social media has made it easier to share the information with your friends. Prospective birth mothers and hopeful adoptive parents are able to find more agencies than ever before. And open adoption communication is drastically different than it used to be.
Of all the inventive ways technology is used in open and semi-open adoptions, one newer application caught our eye — Google Voice as a tool for communication between birth parents and the adoptive family.
If you’re a birth parent or adoptive parent, do you know how Google Voice works and how it could be used in your open adoption communication? If not, then this guide is for you.
We’re going to cover the basics of this application and show you a few creative ways that it could potentially be of use to you.
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is a voice over IP that allows you to use one number for all of your various phones. That’s a bit technical. In layman’s terms, Google Voice allows you to create a distinct phone number that forwards all calls and messages on to your actual cell, home and work phone.
This application is also capable of text messaging, group video calls and more. While it has been around for more than a decade, Google Voice has only recently seen a surge in popularity, including in the adoption community.
Why is that? Let’s explore a few reasons this application is so attractive, as well as some creative ways that birth parents and adoptive parents have put it to use in open adoption communication.
How Could Google Voice Be Useful in My Open Adoption?
One of the most attractive features of Google Voice is its cost: Free. If you already have a smartphone, then Google Voice can integrate with your device at no extra cost while providing a lot of extra value.
How, exactly, can Google Voice provide added value for you? Let’s look at three of the most popular reasons this app is used in adoption communication.
It can protect privacy.
Is your adoption semi-open? Whether you’re a birth or adoptive parent, you may be interested in protecting your privacy while still maintaining good communication. Google Voice is a great solution.
Because Google Voice creates a distinct number for you, it puts a degree of separation in place for both parties. You will not actually have the direct cell, home or work phone of the other — just the Google Voice number, which forwards the calls and texts on to the actual phone.
In this way, Google Voice creates a clear line of communication while simultaneously protecting the privacy of everyone involved.
It can create a centralized location for communication.
Tired of trying to remember if that video came through a text, email or Facebook message? Google Voice can eliminate confusion by creating one central location for all adoption-related communication. Because the app can integrate calls, texts, photo and video messages and more, it allows for all types of communication to be housed in one place. Sounds pretty good to us.
It can be cost effective.
As we said earlier, Google Voice is a free application. The only thing Google Voice requires is an internet connection. That can be from a tablet, smart phone, laptop or desktop computer.
If either the birth parents or adoptive parents hit a rough financial patch, this is a communication solution that allows for the lowest-cost internet or phone plan while still maintaining an important connection.
How Do I Set Up Google Voice?
Interested in using Google Voice for your open adoption communication? First, check with the others in your adoption to make sure everyone is on board. You can share this article with them to help answer any questions.
Once everyone has agreed, setting up Google Voice is simple. All you need is a Google account (like a Gmail) and an internet connection. Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Open up Google Chrome and go to voice.google.com. You can use a different browser, but the whole setup will be easiest using Chrome.
- Step 2: Sign into your Google account. If you don’t have one, follow a few simple steps to create one.
- Step 3: Search your city or area code when prompted. This will help Google generate a new number for you.
- Step 4: You’ll be shown several available numbers. Select the one you want.
- Step 5: Follow the prompts on the screen to complete setup.
That’s it! You’ll have a new Google Voice number that syncs with your phone and computer, allowing you to access all the benefits of this free application.
Do you have experience using Google Voice in your open adoption? We’d love to hear how it has worked for you. Or, if you prefer other applications, tell us more about those in the comments.