Friday, June 24, 2011

"I found my birth mom through Facebook"

Part fear-mongering, part open to the possibilities, this article from the New York Times looks at birth parents finding their children on the internet, and vice versa:
The Internet is changing nearly every chapter of adoption. It can now start with postings by couples looking for birth mothers who want to place children, and end years later with birth mothers looking to reunite with children they’ve placed. A process that once relied on gatekeepers and official procedures can now be largely circumvented with a computer, Wi-Fi and some luck.

“It used to be a slow process,” says Anya Luchow, a psychologist who facilitates an adoption support group in Bergen County, N.J., that includes the Dorfs. “And when the children were minors, it was one that their adoptive parents could control.”

Now, says Leanne Jaffe, a Manhattan therapist (herself an adoptee) who specializes in adoption issues: “Kids, at the most vulnerable time for developing identity, are plugged in online. Either they are savvy enough to find their birth parents, or they spend time in places like Facebook, where their birth parents can find them.”

There are stories of children as young as 13 approached by birth parents online, and of children being contacted before they had been told they were adopted. Among the most cautionary of tales is that of Aimee L. Sword, who was convicted of having sex with her biological son, who was 14 at the time, and whom she found on Facebook when yearly updates from his adoptive family stopped coming. “It’s uncharted territory,” Dr. Luchow says. What are the new rules? They are being made up as the participants — adoptees and their parents — go along.
 The article profiles several families, very interesting read.


Linda said...

I think it is very heavy on the fear mongering. I mean, seriously- who lets their 13 year old have a FB account without monitoring it?

And if these kid have not been told they are adopted before then, well...shame on them. They are idiots.

"Most" adoptees are highly curious about their first families.I can guarantee you that had the internet been around when I was that age, I would have found my first family.

This is another example of how openness about a child's adoption, their first families, and their feelings about their families should be discussed from the earliest age possible.

Of course, I have to make the disclaimer that I am talking about traditional newborn adoption, not a foster adopt situation, or an adoption which was the result of neglect or abuse. But even then- kids are curious, but obviously safety/security measures are even more important.

Mei Ling said...

Hm. I don't know about this...

And not everyone uses Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Why do they always have to use the most extreme examples to make a point?

kyburg said...

My son's foster family from Taiwan found me on Facebook. Me? Delighted. My agency? Not so much.