Facebook and Adoption
The Guardian has a long and thoughtful article about the effect of social networking sites on adoption and the questions which the new media communication facilities are asking of adopters, of biological parents, of professionals and most of all of adopted children and young people. I have posted about this previously here and here.
My own view is that the greater openness which social networking is forcing upon adoption is on the whole a good thing. The old secrecy, a relic of the days when it was mostly illegitimate babies who were adopted which had to be kept a guilty secret because of the shame associated with having conceived outside wedlock, is finally being swept away.
A long time ago I used to do a few court reports in adoption cases – this is long before the modern regime and I am afraid that in writing this I reveal my age to the cognisante. However, after having visited the adopters checked the paperwork and been assured they would, at an appropriate age, ‘tell the child’, I would put in my report and the court would make the order. Soon afterwards as I tooled round my patch, I would pass the adopters home and notice a For Sale board outside. This happened so regularly that I realised that what was happening was that the adopters, with their baby, were moving to another area where they could let the neighbours, the school, other parents etc think that their adopted child was their own biological child. Indeed, in those days there was quite a lot of emphasis among placing agencies in matching babies and adopters by appearance so as to help them avoid ‘awkward questions’. I very much doubt the adopters in that era ever ‘told the child’ leaving the child to discover the truth – usually in adolescence and with the predictable trauma and disillusionment with his/her adoptive parents.
If anybody involved with adoption has not yet viewed Mike Leigh’s great movie Secrets and Lies then get it now.