Friday 22 August 2014

Curiosity killed the.............

As noted in my recent post we have recently been subject to the increasingly common experience of being contacted by birth family through Facebook.
Reflecting on the incident it would appear to be a little naïve to be surprised or shocked.

We were found through snippets of information, two first names and a town, the trail of breadcrumbs led online, here then there and re appeared in our lives.
This experience mixed with a recent thread on twitter made me reflect on the temptations available to this generation of adopters, adoptees and birth families.

In the majority of current placements the theme running through them is that the children were not relinquished or given freely to adopters. Birth families are left with memories and not much else. The much televised tragic view of the stoic, silent and dignified mother is an endangered relic of a historic model of adoption. Children forcibly removed from parents is a painful majority of contemporary adoption. Freely available to these families is a raft of social networking platforms that potentially offer them a link to their lost children.

For the benign or malevolent alike the hope and thought of discovering information, a picture or celebratory status update or even achieving contact would be almost irresistible.

I have to ask what would I do in the face of such ‘temptation’?  What would you do?

For the adopted child or teenager curious about identity and history, perhaps the temptation is easier to satisfy. With key information often in the much-maligned LifeStory Books then with the minimum of information, full names, towns of birth and images, then contact is literally at their fingertips.
In my children’s shoes what would I do? What would the 15 year old me have done?

For the adopters?  
I’ll come clean, I looked.
Not every month, week or day but I looked, perhaps once or twice a year.
So why did I look?
Of course I have a duty of care, identifying potential harm is my duty.
I check for broken glass in playgrounds. Were they close or far, was there a potential for harm.
But I have to confess that at times my searches were to satisfy my own curiosity and intrigue, what had happened in the intervening years, who was with who and living where. Were they close or far, was there a potential for harm.
Was I right or wrong to look? I don’t know.
My motives were mixed.

It feels like SW, adopters and post adoption support services are lagging, not sure how to react or protect.
If I had the answer I’d be rich and on a book tour. So, what do I do, we talk with each other, we are frank, we dispel myths, we ‘friend’ and ‘follow’, we try and stay one step ahead, we try to be savvy and we pray.

We are ok, our kids are ok. Yes, we had a shock but we’d laid a foundation that caught the fall and gave room for manoeuvre, at least for now.


  1. A thought provoking post! I haven't just looked on FB, I have (anonymously) contacted a member of my 15 year old's birth family to try to get more info.... Do you know if anyone else has done this with / without success?
    I have always hoped that if we adoptive parents facilitate contact with the birth family, then there is less danger of unwanted and unexpected approaches via FB, but is that naive do you think?

    1. I honestly feel like we are in uncharted territory. Each circumstance is so unique and with so many aspects out of our control I feel that adoptive parents are on the back foot. The nature of Facebook is that ripples run through friends and family so quickly and it only takes one member of that pool to poison it.
      I do agree that for some a proactive approach is appropriate and may negate some potential harm.

  2. I look occasionally because they are so very close. I also look for all my LACs' family members as it's a small world and I often find we have mutual friends of mutual friends on FB so I need to temporarily block/hide people. I've had a heavy week of being reminded about birth family in a few different ways - latest revelations and discoveries have come as a shock to family and friends, and been another stage in opening their eyes as to what adoption really means.

  3. It's nature is that it evolves and shifts as the members grow and live their lives. I guess constant ongoing vigilance is our main defence.