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FACEBOOK: Adoption charities

06/01/2012 by Alan Cole in the UK

Facebook changing the face of adoption say charities

The phenomenon of social networking online is creating intense new challenges for many adopted children and their families say adoption charities.

The popularity and reach of Facebook and other social media networks means it is now easier for birth parents to track down their children who are now adopted and living with new families. However, such activity is in contravention of guidelines. Specialist charities working in the field of adoption say this can be very emotionally charged and often distressing for everyone involved, especially for youngsters.

Adoption agencies say they are also now receiving large numbers of calls from distressed adoptive parents following sudden contact with their children from birth family members.

The situation is highly complex and shows how social media continues to have a profound effect at different levels of society.

Adoption UK says unplanned and unsupported communication, both contact and reunions between adoptive and birth families via Facebook and other social networking sites is already having a dramatic effect on adoption and the trend is likely to increase.

The debate emerges as a major new book on the subject is published: Bubble Wrapped Children by Helen Oakwater. The author is an adoptive parent, trainer and former trustee of the charity Adoption UK.

The book looks at the numerous reasons causing adopted teenagers to reconnect with their birth family via social media, and the new challenges which are created which are previously uncharted.

Current legislation states adopted children can have access to birth certificates and court records for searching for the birth mother from the age of 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 16 in Scotland.

However, in contravention it appears youngsters are now being contacted by their birth families including mothers via social media like Facebook. The networks make it relatively easy to do this.

The sudden contact situation can obviously be emotive and complex for all parties, especially for children who are forced to confront the complexity of past and present situations and even disturbing revelations as to why their adoption took place.

It's a situation where clearly powerful emotional needs from all parties can erupt in an unsettling and even traumatic way.

As the debate emerges along with further insights it is hoped that fresh perspectives will appear which will help to create positive solutions in the best interests of all concerned.

As such charity professionals are suggesting a radical rethink of how adoptions are arranged and supported from a care perspective, factoring in the impact of the relatively new social media phenomenon.

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Written and edited in London and Geneva All Xperedon news articles are original and are written by the Xperedon news team. The team is headed in the UK by Alan Cole, an experienced award-winning journalist and copywriter. Alan has previously worked in-house for UK publishers, Pearson Media (Financial Times) and Northcliffe Newspapers, among others, and is an accredited member of the National Union of Journalists, UK.

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