How Do Adoptive Families Deal with Communication in a Wired-Up World?

Adoption was once a primarily closed process. Once adopted, children rarely saw or heard from their birth parents. Some conducted exhaustive searches after reaching adulthood, and others remained content with not knowing. Research was difficult, and even those who obtained contact information struggled to keep in touch.

All this has changed in the internet age. Today, a quick search on Google will reveal a treasure trove for adoptees. While some digging may be required, information is more accessible than ever before. Some children never have to search, however; increasingly open adoptions allow them to remain in touch with birth parents from the very beginning.

Most Adoptees and Birth Parents Follow Each Other Online

Whether following a breakup or adoption, the urge to Facebook stalk is just too great to overcome. A 2013 Donaldson Adoption Institute survey revealed that both adoptees and their biological parents continue to monitor one another following adoption. Most are surprisingly cautious.

Siblings are nearly as likely to follow adopted children. Sometimes, this can cause conflict. For example, in a 2012 issue of Social Work Today, adoptive parents Mark and Charlene mentioned that their daughter's biological sister reached out on Facebook, despite their efforts to limit contact. A simple friend request eventually led to contact between the adopted daughter and four additional biological children. In some situations, such contact could compromise the adopted child's safety.

Setting Boundaries

Ultimately, it's up to adoptive parents and birth parents to set appropriate boundaries for their children. Many now prefer open adoption, in which birth parents play a prominent role in adopted kids' lives from the very beginning. However, this approach isn't for everyone; in some cases, it may be unsafe for the child. Either way, adoptive parents must acknowledge the ease with which children and birth families can get in touch — and develop a plan for the worst-case scenario.

Whether open or closed, every modern adoption should include stipulations about digital access. For example, birth parents may agree to avoid contacting their kids online, or to only interact under the adoptive parent's supervision. No matter the arrangement, the adoptive parent should be aware, and approve, of any digital interactions — the adopted child's safety and security could otherwise be at risk.

Proactive legal proceedings can prevent communication issues down the road. Work with our Fairfax adoption attorneys at DiPietro Law Group to ensure the most drama-free adoption possible. Contact us online, or call (888) 530-4374 for a consultation.

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