Adoption Search and Reunion in the Facebook Generation

The desire of adoptees to locate and connect with their birth parents and other relatives (especially siblings) from their family of origin is not a new phenomenon. As the practice of open adoption has steadily increased across the US, more and more adoptees have frequent or occasional contact with their birth family. This contact may be in person, via video chat, email, or through handwritten letters and exchanged photos. However, there are still many adoptees that have little to no access to their birth family, including accurate information as to their address, current name (in the case of marriage or divorce) and whether they are still living or deceased. The rules about whether an adoptee is granted the right to his or her original birth certificate is still varied from state to state, with many adoptees denied the right to their information even after they reach legal adulthood.

More and more adoptees and birth parents (and families) are connecting for the first time over the Internet, and more specifically through Facebook, MySpace and other types of social networking tools. Some reunions are exciting, joyful, and close the gap that the adoptee and the birth family member has felt in their life. However, reunions can be difficult, as Brian Stanton learned when he reconnected with his birth mother and learned the real story why she was not able to parent him. Others, like Alexander Dorf, had a wonderful reunion with his birth mother after she located him through Facebook.
Search and reunion is not something to take lightly, and often adoptees, adoptive parents and birth family members will need some guidance as to how to navigate this process.

While it may be easier to locate family members through Facebook, it does not mean the process of reuniting with those family members will be equally smooth and simplistic. At Kinship Center, we have resources for members of the adoption constellation who are planning to start a search, are in the process of reuniting with family members, and for others who are experiencing challenges during the search and reunion process in the digital age. We encourage you to contact us if you are looking for assistance or consultation for a search process or a reunion.

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