If you were adopted, would you “friend request” your birth mother on Facebook? Thanks to social networking, it’s easier than ever to find birth parents, and kids given up for adoption, with a little digging. More adopted kids and the birth parents are doing just that. According to ABC News, adoption experts say “Facebook reunions” are emotionally dangerous, and a few mouse clicks could mean years of devastation.
Before online reunions, adopted children who wanted to find their birth parents – and birth parents who wanted to find their kids - would contact a social worker at the agency that handled their adoption. The social worker would act as a go-between and would make sure both parties were psychologically prepared for a reunion. If one party wasn’t ready, the reunion wouldn’t take place. With social networking websites, there is no middle man to make sure both sides are ready to reunite – which can leave people feeling ambushed and vulnerable. Ellen Fursland is the author of “Facing Up to Facebook.” She says social networking sites have blown apart all the carefully thought-out procedures for tracing, contacting and meeting birth parents, an d kids who reach out online could end up facing a traumatic rejection.
One woman mentioned in the article tried to meet her birth mother 20 years ago through the adoption agency, but was rebuffed, but just recently, she decided to search for possible siblings. She plugged in her birth mother’s married name and hometown – and wrote to the people who matched the description, asking if they were related. One woman said “yes”, and introduced her to their eight siblings! However, if her birth family hadn’t been accepting, it could have been a disaster.
The experts say, you’re better off going through traditional channels to find your birth parents or a child given up for adoption – so that person has a choice as to whether they want to meet. If you’re looking for free adoption records, try Adoption.org, and if you want help finding a family member, try FindMe.org – which helps reunite parties with mutual consent.