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Social Media and Adoption – The Good and the Bad

Social media is everywhere. It’s even a part of our political discourse. It’s so prevalent that sometimes it seems hard to avoid social media. It’s no wonder then that social media has affected the world of adoption. Social media has pervaded all aspects of adoptions, with good and bad results. Here’s a brief rundown on how social media has positively and negatively affected the adoption universe.

The Positive of Social Media on Adoption 

There are a lot of positive ways that social media has impacted adoptions. For one, adoptions have become much more open. With social media, it is possible for adoptive parents and birth parents to easily maintain contact with each other, should they choose to do so. In fact, approximately 1 in 4 adoptive parents have used the internet to search for and make contact with birth family members. Social media has also made it easy for adoptees to reach out to birth parents with questions about their adoption. This is a far cry from the days of past, when closed adoptions were prevalent.

Social media also makes it easier for people to learn about adoptions and get support as they navigate their own adoption journeys. From forums to Facebook, members of the adoption triad are opening up about their adoption journeys, with benefits for all involved. For example, an adoptive parent with questions about sibling adoption can easily find the answers she needs with a quick google search. A birth parent can also find out all about adoption agencies available in her area with the click of a button. Extra support is crucial during the often stressful adoption process.

Support also includes financial support. Specifically, social media tools make it possible to solicit donations to fund an adoption from a wide audience. For example, adoptive parents funding their adoption through a GoFundMe page can share their page via Facebook and Twitter. They can even post pictures and communicate with donors in a personal manner without having to expend too many resources. Having an easy way to reach a wide audience to fund an adoption is important because adoptions can be very expensive.

The Negative of Social Media on Adoption 

Social media has also had a negative impact on adoptions. This mainly stems from the ever-present nature of social media. Simply put, once it goes on social media, it stays on social media. As you probably already know, it is virtually impossible to delete something once it finds its way to the internet. This means that any communications or other material concerning an adoption, even sensitive or otherwise confidential material, can be easily available to members of the public.

This is why it is important to follow some safety tips when using social media in an adoption related context. First, adjust your privacy settings. This way only individuals you trust have access to the information you put online. Second, think before you post. Even with strict privacy settings, it is sometimes hard to control the spread of information on social media. Third, be respectful. Everything you post on social media relates not only to you, but to your child and the birth parents. So avoid posting sensitive or emotionally charged information on social media. Finally, consider alternatives. Sometimes social media simply isn’t the best way to communicate. For example, it might be better for a child to connect with his birth mother for the first time in person versus on twitter.

Social media is a huge part of our society. The adoption universe is no exception. This has resulted in more open and fruitful relationships for all members of the adoption triad. However, what happens on social media stays on social media. So its best to always be careful when posting adoption related material to social media. For more information, visit Adoption Choices of Missouri.

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