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Is Facebook an Adoption Hazard? Biological Parents Use Social Media to Track Kids Down

Is Facebook a Useful or Harmful Tool?

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By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
January 5, 2012|1:32 pm

Experts say Facebook divides adoptive parents and their children when biological parents use it to unexpectedly contact their children, but others view it as a useful tool for family reunions.

Two leading U.K. adoption companies have expressed growing concern over biological parents using the social networking site to communicate with their children who have been adopted by others.

Critics have said that many children, who are removed from their biological parents' care, are often lost when they are later contacted by their biological parents through Facebook.

"Unplanned and unsupported communication, contact and reunions between adoptive and birth families via Facebook and other social networking sites has already had a dramatic effect on adoption," Jonathan Pearce, Chief Executive of Adoption UK told The Times.

According to Pearce, problems often arise when a child is unexpectedly contacted by his/her biological parent because they may not always be completely aware of why they were ever adopted.

Reasons for adoption often include child or sex abuse, drug abuse, and domestic violence, which critics argue makes unexpected contact through Facebook even more dangerous for the children.

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"Currently adopted children tend to be told a rose-tinted version of what really happened," Pearce explained.

"Something closer to the truth will better protect and prepare children for the destabilizing effects of unplanned contact, which often happens at a key stage in their adolescence," he added.

While some critics fear that Facebook tarnishes relationships between adoptive parents and their children, others praise the social networking site and view it as a tool that enables reunions which otherwise may not have been possible.

Gloria Hochman, Director of Communications at the US National Adoption Center, spoke directly with The Christian Post and confirmed that the same issue is also present in the U.S.

Hochman explained that prior to the internet, biological parents had fewer ways to communicate with their children after they were adopted, but nowadays technology makes the need for contact not only possible but "inevitable."

"While it may seem threatening, adoptive parents should try to understand that it's quite natural for an adopted child to wonder who am I and search for an identity," Hochman said.

"Some children will never search for their biological parents, but some are haunted and adoptive parents should prepare for this by offering love and support," she added.

While for many people Facebook acts as a platform for reuniting with long lost loved ones, it is clear that for others who come from broken families that it can be detrimental.

According to study by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, 53 percent of adopted children have used social networking sites like Facebook to locate their birth parents.

Of these adoptive children, 1 in 4 said that the outcome was unpleasant.

 

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