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Discussion Starter #1
The Guardian has an article out now about birth parents connecting with their children unexpectedly through social networking websites. The article is rather slanted against birth families, but the message is clear to adoptive parents: in domestic adoptions where birth family is still living, it's probably wise to prepare your kids for some interaction with their birth families.<br><br>
Article: "Adopted children face anguish as birth parents stalk them on Facebook"<br><a href="http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/23/birth-parents-stalk-adopted-facebook" target="_blank">http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&s...opted-facebook</a><br><br>
thoughts?
 

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The tone of that article really pissed me off.<br><br>
How about, "Parents who allow their children to post their full names, date of birth, and other very stupid information to post if one has any idea at all about internet safety, shouldn't be surprised if people they don't want to contact their children...do."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually, the article said they're finding the kids by looking at photos, not necessarily names or birthdates.
 

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Yes, and you shouldn't post unsecured photos of your children (and should advise them not to do so either) on the internet either. Basic net safety stuff.<br><br>
I mean, most people choose to violate one or more best practices, and that's fine--but when you choose to do that, to place information into a worldwide sphere that you have NO control over...it's not the big bad birthparents ruining the internet for everyone else, KWIM?
 

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I've been on the surprise being found side of this - and it's not trivial or good for anyone in the long run, even if there isn't anything really sinister at play. Birth parents don't have to "big" or "bad", but still do a lot of harm to a child or young person not prepared or supported.<br><br>
I have to think that most parents who now have adopted kids of pre-adult age probably are aware of the basic safety issues and special risk to their families of boundaries being breached. I hope no one today really believes that anonymity from birth to 18 is achievable - having to set and enforce boundaries for your kids is likely to happen, even if you think an adoption is closed.<br><br>
Which in my mind, just underlines the real need for openess and communication upfront (even discounting all other issues).
 

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The tone of that article also pissed me off tremendously.<br><br>
But I am reminded, once again, that a closed adoption is what's right for our family and that I need to do everything I can to make sure that our name and location is not inadvertently revealed. Also, I'm very glad we have plans to move in the next few years. Honestly, while I'd agree to send letters to grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. through the agency, I hope that they are not requested. And photos? WTH? The adoptive parents of a child removed from an abusive environment actually send updated photos back to the family? I had no idea that was even ALLOWED.<br><br>
And ALSO, I hate Facebook's policies. Hopefully we'll be living in a place where Facebook isn't such a big deal (lol, yeah right, I can dream!).
 

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Why is an open foster care adoption so offensive to you? Just because a person isn't able to parent a child safely doesnt' mean that they are horrible people for the rest of their lives. This is absolutely the case for my son's birth mother and grandmother. I think that I am perfectly able to judge whether a given situation is safe and/or healthy for my child.<br><br>
And for the record, I love Facebook. Thinking more about it, I probably wouldn't friend my kids birth families with my regular account but I wouldn't have a problem setting up a proxy account to use.
 

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Smithie, I'm concerned that you're going to be disappointed, or even worse, hurt badly, by *hoping* for zero contact, for complete closure. I totally (seriously, I do) understand wanting to distance yourself, and your child, from his/her birth family. But, no matter how hard you try, or to what extent you believe yourself to be separated, I believe that's a falsehood and an impossibility. Your child will never be completely separated. And, neither will you. You could move to Antarctica, with no internet services, but the reality of adoption will exist in your lives. And, if you're trying to deny that, or in some way sublimate it, it will likely, as most things do, become even more central to your, and your child's identity.<br><br>
I <i>don't</i> have a good relationship with my daughter's birth mother. It's not all wine and roses by any stretch of the imagination. And I DO severely restrict, to the extent that I'm able without becoming a totally emotionally obsessed woman, photographs in particular on Facebook. But, at the same time, that stuff is out there, and I'm a somewhat public person because I write about my daughter, and am published doing so. I've come to the conclusion that I want my daughter, and her birth mother for that matter, to have the record of me working out my own identity, <i>part</i> of which is that of an adoptive mom (who dealt with years of infertility), because that will model how I hope she can learn to work out her own, flawed and bruised and scarred and lovely and amazing, identity, <i>part</i> of which is/will be an adopted child.<br><br>
Are there boogiemen/women out there? Of course. Are there dangerous birth parents out there? Of course. But, it seems to me, that "protecting" my child (though in reality this seems like a more personal protection, rather than the child's protection) is best done by showing her how to navigate the dangerous world, not run from it.
 

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I'm concerned that my last post was a bit heavy-handed. I should not make any assumptions about how/why one might come to the decision to have a closed adoption. I can only imagine it. It wasn't an option for us, and, frankly, there are times that I wish that it had been. But, then, after talking to several adoptees, I'm reminded that it's so important that birth parents NOT pretend that there's nothing unusual about their relationship, that we NOT sweep the fact of adoption under the rug, or into a closet, or whatever metaphor you want to use. I don't want to take too lightly my power to erase my daughter's access to her past, to a part of her. Whether I use that power or not, it remains, and is heavy, and she will, eventually, ask me to reckon with my choices.
 

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Sorry, I didn't mean to yank this thread off-course. I should probably make it clear that we're pursuing an older-child adoption, and have been given to understand that we're not likely to be dealing with simple neglect or abandonment, but rather with a history of physical abuse.<br><br>
Our son will remember his first family. There's no question about that. I'm not going to pretend that his hard start in life never happened. But I think any encounters or confrontations can wait until he's a grown man with years of therapy under his belt. I fully expect him to look for his biofamily.<br><br>
Open adoptions don't offend me at all, unless they are a means of continued access for abusive ex-parents. I might not blame the biograndmother for not being able to stop the abuse, but that doesn't mean she gets a picture or an address or ANYTHING that the abusers could use to further traumatize my son. He deserves a safe space to grow up in.<br><br>
If, by chance, our placement happens as a result of parental death or something like that, and our son has an extended biofamily with whom he can feel (and be) safe, then I imagine my perspective will shift. But that is a pretty unlikely scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Polliwog</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15447167"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just because a person isn't able to parent a child safely doesnt' mean that they are horrible people for the rest of their lives.</div>
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well said!<br><br>
And even if the parents aren't involved, there are other family members to think about.<br><br>
My foster child has siblings. We aren't required to allow sibling visits, but we do. My husband and I feel like its important to maintain some connection.<br><br>
Birthmom's relative may take some but she can't take them all. If she adopts some and we adopt some, I would like to have regular visits. They will be family to me just like my biological cousins or my in-laws.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Smithie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15448499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Sorry, I didn't mean to yank this thread off-course. I should probably make it clear that we're pursuing an older-child adoption, and have been given to understand that we're not likely to be dealing with simple neglect or abandonment, but rather with a history of physical abuse.<br></div>
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Maybe or maybe not. I've been fostering for four years and know people who've been fostering for much longer than that. There are many children who come into care from simple neglect and for reasons like mental illness that prevents successful parenting but don't require being cutoff from their child forever. Both of my children fit that category and I know many others. No matter what your agency is telling you, your area can't be that different.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Polliwog</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15449623"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe or maybe not. I've been fostering for four years and know people who've been fostering for much longer than that. There are many children who come into care from simple neglect and for reasons like mental illness that prevents successful parenting but don't require being cutoff from their child forever. Both of my children fit that category and I know many others. No matter what your agency is telling you, your area can't be that different.</div>
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Yes, and as a foster parent who intentionally decided to parent one of my older, therapeutic foster kids on a "permanent" basis, I was struck by the intensity of need he had for his mother of birth, despite all she had done to him and despite the legal termination that seperated them. The child loves even the parent who hurts him, and many parents can't parent without hurting but may be able to be in relationship with hurting (though it is *extremely* tricky, granted).
 

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I'm pretty sure that both of you adopted children younger than the child we plan to adopt. We are thinking the 6-7 range.<br><br>
It may be that we wind up with a very different situation than what the workers are positing as typical to the prospective families. But in any case, the sharing of identities and locations is completely off the table. Extended family may be completely free of guilt in the matter of the abuse. But that doesn't mean they aren't going to share indentifying details with people who shouldn't have them.<br><br>
It's just a very different question, when you adopt an older kid. There's no question of pretending the adoption never happened. That's not even in my mind. But I wouldn't expose my bilogical kids to adults who had hurt them, and I can't imagine having a different standard for an adopted child. Eh. We'll see what life sends us and take it from there.
 

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Smithie, that's true, but before we ever adopted, we parented only older children. We weren't working with an agency that did adoptions, but we did accept the role of "permanent" parents to a fifteen year old.
 

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Well heck, if I were signing up to parent a child who was going to able to DRIVE to their biomom's house within the next year, I suspect I'd honor any request they (the child) made for contact in the meantime. That's a whole other ball game.
 

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Smithie, he wasn't going to be able to drive. He had developmental delays, and averaged a developmental age of 7 or 8.<br><br>
At that time, we were licensed for kids 8-18, if memory serves, so we saw the gamut.
 

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I hope this is never an issue for us. We have an open adoption and at this point Evie's birth parents are both healthy influences in her life. I hope that continues and they can just friend her on FB when she's old enough to have one and it won't be a big deal. But you never know I guess...things happen and people change.
 

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My son's older sister was adopted when she was six (last year) and was the most neglected (and challenging) of the three children. I also know many people who've adopted children who are older. I've also been a teacher in an inner city school and have taught many children who've been adopted from foster care.<br><br>
I just can't see deciding before you even meet the child that their adoption will be closed. There are so many variables. I would never say that anyone should put a child in harm's way but there are many instances when staying in contact with their birth families can be safe and healthy.
 

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Why is it so important that no one is parenting the "kind" of kid that you are? Do we not have real, very real and valid, experience that can at least contribute to your experience? It's for damn sure that no one is living the same experience as my daughter. That's a scientific fact. But does that mean I can't listen to others who are walking on the same general path? No.<br><br>
One of the things that I'm learning as both an adoptive mom, and the mom of a child with a heretofore unrecorded genetic disability, a child whose birth mother refused to get her the help she needed -- to the point of near-death, is that, even though my situation feels unique, and in many ways IS unique, that it's very dangerous and isolating to declare that no one has any access to what I'm going through, that no one can speak to my situation because they're not going through <i><b>exactly the same thing</b></i>. There is something in me that wants to hold my hand up to people and say, "You don't understand." This isn't unique to the adoptive community, unfortunately. This "game" gets played out all over these boards. I don't really know why. Because, isn't that why we're here?<br><br>
Fact of the matter is that there actually <i><b>are</b></i> some universals. And that's a function of the reality that there are universals within our human-ness. People need connection, even to those who've hurt them. But even beyond that, the connection exists whether we choose to acknowledge and/or facilitate it or not. What I hope I'm teaching my daughter is how to relate/interact with people who are not kind, not good, even, at times, very bad. That's the real world. Can I force her to forgive her birth mother/family? No, and I wouldn't want to. Can I show her how to live a life of acceptance and positive change? Yes. I can try. I would think this would be even more important for older kids. Addresses? Nah, not what I'm suggesting. I don't think anyone is. Not even visitation necessarily. Just, really, more of a posture of openness to the fullness of the kiddo's identity, which includes his/her family of origin.
 
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