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. And more adopted kids and the birth parents are doing just that. But according to adoption experts, “Facebook reunions” are emotionally dangerous and a few mouse clicks could be devastating.
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. And if one party wasn’t ready, the reunion wouldn’t take place. But 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” and she says social networking sites have blown apart all the carefully thought-out procedures for tracing, contacting and meeting birth parents. And kids who reach out online could end up facing a traumatic rejection.
One woman we read about, tried to meet her birth mother through an adoption agency, but her request was declined. So, 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 and one woman said “yes”, and introduced her to their 8 siblings! But her birth mother still didn’t want to meet her.
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.