With the ability to access the internet and social media from nearly anywhere, information regarding birth parents and adoptees are relatively easy to find. It is a parent’s job to protect their child, but it can be difficult to know where to start regarding cyber security, identity protection, and digital citizenship. Beyond that, there is concern if the birth family reaches out via social media and makes contact with your adopted child.
How They Reach Out
If you have adopted, fostered, or are kinship parents, you may worry about birth families entering your child’s life and changing your entire family dynamic. This can occur with social media contact. Many times, children want to be involved in social media with their friends by sharing pictures publicly as well as commenting on public forums for celebrities or events in their town or community.
This public access can make it easy for members of the birth family to track down their relatives and make contact through a private, direct message. Surprise contact can be coached by an adult seeking contact, which may be jolting for your child. This can set up a response by them in a way that is unprepared and an emotional, knee jerk reaction.
One of the most proactive things you can do to prepare for this type of social media contact is to do it first. You can utilize the internet to search for the birth family and research them in a public scope. You may even find that you want to be the touchstone to reach out privately in a message to them.
Set your boundaries and know what level of interaction you’re prepared to accept and allow. Your child needs to know they are safe with you and can trust you. If they came from an abusive family, you will want to shield your child with all the tools available for internet safety so that they are not approached by the birth family via social media.
There are many courses online to help you and your child remain safe while surfing the web and participating in social media. Now is the time to take those classes and become a pro at keeping your child safe on social media, the internet, and from texts they may receive on their phone.
The Pros of Making Contact First
Contrary to above, if you’ve proactively sought out the birth family and researched them via public posts they’ve made, you may find that your child wants to get to know them.
- A meeting via social media may empower your child to grow their identity and learn about their heritage.
- There are many ways to put the power of these decisions safely in the hands of your child. Walking them through mock scenarios and answering all their questions is an important aspect of preparation.
- Your child may decide they’re not ready yet for contact. Reassure them that’s okay and you’ll always support them, especially regarding social media contact with their birth family.
- Check in with them often and make sure they feel safe at all times.
If you aren’t sure of any aspect of this situation, there are professional counselors who will help through your adoptive, foster, and kinship agencies. Reach out to other families with similar family structures or through the internet with an agency who can help you and your child navigate these confusing times.
The main key is doing what’s right for your child and keeping the power to decide with them. This way, they always feel safe and in control of when, if, and how to reach out for more contact with their birth family.