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Internet helps match parents to children in need of family

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Nathan Gwilliam was voted "Most Ambitious" in his high school yearbook - right alongside being named "Most Likely to Have Kids." On his LDS mission to Brazil, Gwilliam resolved to help orphaned children once he had the chance.

It comes as no big surprise, then, to see him in the role of president of an Internet company, Adop-tion.com, dedicated to finding homes for adoptive children from all over the world."Our goal is just to help as many kids as possible," said Gwilliam. "We're here to help couples have hope."

Adoption.com does that through listing prospective parents and children up for adoption on its web page, along with essential services, including attorneys, agencies and support groups.

Gwilliam bought a photo listing page known as "Precious in His Sight" from an Internet user in Wisconsin that gives Adoption.com the largest photo listing in the world, including children from Russia, Romania and Brazil.

He and his colleagues at Adoption.com, James Endicott, director of marketing, and Jeff Wiseman, vice-president of operations, also offer a web site mall, a chat room, a bulletin board service and daily news updates for people interested and involved in adoptions.

Although it has only officially existed in Orem for a little over a month, Adoption.com has been in the evolutionary process for several years. The site is available in 10 countries.

In 22 days, the web site recorded 1.4 million hits.

Already, parents from Arizona have been linked up with a child in New York they intend to adopt. The birth mother wanted her baby to have a good home but he had a 10 percent chance of having Hepatitis C. The baby was actually born healthy and adopted by parents who found him through Adop-tion.com.

The happy match is only the beginning, said Gwilliam. Ned and Janet Ostler of Murray are hoping to be one of the next success stories. The Ostlers have three boys - which would rule them out as a high priority with most adoption services. But Janet cannot have any more children and they very much want a girl, a little sister for their family.

Gwilliam said situations like these are ideal for the Internet service. People are free to search the country (or countries) to find what they want in a child. Birth mothers in high schools or universities can visit the net in total privacy and even search by specific categories including religious preference, race, socioeconomic status and age.

All of the couples who post themselves on Adoption.com are required to be state-certified, said Gwilliam, and fees are only charged for postings, not for the exchange of information.

Couples in the registry record a 30-second video with their message and write a detailed letter about themselves. The interactive process is much less "cold" than the traditional written letter, said Gwilliam.

An informational meeting is slated for Wednesday, March 19, in the Provo Park Hotel at 7 p.m. for those who want more information. Adoption.com can be reached by calling 434-9900 or at (http://www.adoption.com).