Adoptly Gamifies Child Adoption With a Tinder-style App

Why it matters to you

An app that can simplify the adoption process could be enticing to prospective parents looking to avoid red tape, but whether it can deliver on its promise is another story.

If you can swipe right on a potential partner or your next pet, you should be able to swipe right on your next child — right? That’s what Alex Nawrocki and the team at Adoptly believe. Adoptly is an app that simplifies the adoption process of children to the same mechanic that made Tinder so popular.

There’s no doubt that Tinder’s “swipe left or right” process is popular — it’s a feature that has been integrated into a plethora of various apps such as BarkBuddy, a pet adoption app where you can swipe left or right on dogs you dislike or like. But while the mechanic works well in some apps, it doesn’t necessarily translate the same way to everything else.

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Swiping left or right on a child reduces a part of the adoption process to looks, but Nawrocki says that’s not what the company is doing — and in fact, Adoptly isn’t inventing anything new.

“Adoptly basically acts like an aggregator of pre-existing agency and network databases, those that are already in existence, and it pulls in those profiles that have already been legally preapproved,” the app’s co-founder told Digital Trends. “So in that sense we’re kind of expediting the process and kind of aggregating all the data out there and unifying it on one streamlined platform.”

Nawrocki said current adoption platforms allow users to “filter” and fine-tune their searches to preferences such as race and age. It’s why he and the Adoptly team do not see any issue with implementing a swipe system for a child’s adoption process — the app just makes things “faster and simpler.”

“We anticipated a bit of push-back, but not as quite as much as we’ve received,” he said. “A mechanic doesn’t contain any morality — as in the swipe, which has gotten a lot of attention. “A mechanic is agnostic. it’s just simply getting some flak because of the connotation of where it was previously used, which is Tinder.”

While Nawrocki says the team isn’t “phased” by the backlash, several media outlets are calling Adoptly’s legitimacy into question. And we have to as well — namely because the product doesn’t exist yet. Nawrocki says the Adoptly team, which comprises four people in San Francisco, have really only designed the app’s user interface. They have yet to begin any app programming, which is why they launched a Kickstarter looking to raise $150,000.

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Nawrocki said parents looking to adopt would need to go through the traditional background check process before they can start browsing on the app. If a “kid, through their agency or foster care, likes you back it’s a match.” You can then start a conversation to ensure a perfect fit, and that’s it. The Kickstarter page is rather vague about the specifics of the entire process.

“We think the swipe is a really potent and strong way to operate, partly that’s because it really reflects the way that society operates and thinks,” he said. “In a cultural sense, it’s really becoming ingrained  — it’s something that is familiar, a lot of people can relate to … and specifically millennials, and that’s our demographic.”

And Nawrocki said Adoptly will function as a nonprofit, and that the app will sustain itself — even though signing up for the service will be fee. Users will have to pay state and federal fees, as well as the background check. Prospective parents will also have to pay any other “associative fees” required to use the program, such as transportation.

As of this writing the team has raised $4,000, and with 22 days to go it doesn’t seem as though the project will be successfully funded. Why go the Kickstarter route? Nawrocki said his team believed it would be a “good gauge on whether people are actually excited about this idea.”

“The concept is absolutely real, what we’re proposing is real,” he said. “But only through proper support and getting funding can we make this an actual reality.”