Friday, 13 April 2012

Checking up and 'fessing up


Mini came home from his grandparents the other day saying that Grandad had got a special computer for him (an old laptop of theirs that he can’t do much damage on!) with some special games on just for him. He can’t, and wouldn’t know how to use the internet yet.

But this got me thinking about the future. Mini is only 5 and up until now, has shown little interest in computers let alone Facebook, but I’m sure he will. How might I react?

Well, I’m going to make a big admission here…I have used Facebook to look up Mini’s birth family. There I’ve said it out loud. How many of you reading this have done the same?
Over the years many of the birth family members have changed their security settings, but I’ve been able to keep up with name changes, events like marriages and divorces, and most recently the announcement and scan photos of an imminent arrival. I’ve gleaned little bits of information that Mini might want in the future – birthdates, favourite football teams, and saved a few photos of siblings. This is all so I can answer future questions from Mini, in the event that he’s interested.

So how will I feel if Mini wants to set up Facebook to be like his friends….OK I think, as long as I can help him set up the security settings, as long as the photos are carefully obscured. (We are careful about disclosing Mini’s identity as his birth family aren’t aware of his new name – we changed it on the advice of social services).
How will I feel if he looks up his birth family…much less OK. Although looking up is one thing, attempting to make contact is quite another! But I couldn’t ask him not to look, when I’ve done it myself…

Does this mean it’s time to stop checking on them do you think? Especially as Mini isn’t even interested in their photos anymore…

How many of you check up on your child's birth family?

15 comments:

  1. It's hard but I think it best if you do not look at their facebook lives. I honestly think no good can be gained. Your curious that is normal but I think you will have to rise above it. Things you will find out may upset and drain you eventually.Some of the children who have left us to be adopted I have actually felt relieved that the forever family did not meet the birth family. It sure isn't all like the Long Lost Family endings. Just my thoughts X

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    1. Thanks for commenting Anne. I think you're right. I need to stop looking. And it has upset me to see that Mini's birth father is having another child - I wish I didn't know!
      At the moment, Mini's family aren't at all interested in him, and for the moment he's not interested in them. We have enough information now to respond to any questions he might ask. Incidentally, we have met birth mum, the day after we first met Mini, and SS were very keen on us doing so. I'm glad I did, as she's now a real person and not just a photo, or an 'on paper' description. Can I ask why you felt it was best that forever families and birth families didn't meet for some of your children? x

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    2. I have had 2 children who were both very special and a great joy to us. Their birth mothers both had special needs and God it was so difficult as they were so childlike in many ways themselves. The children had their heartbreaking final contacts several months before they were adopted and so their new families did not meet. I felt that both children had to be loved and accepted by by their new parents without a glimpse into the what might have been their future. Both their mothers were young and had no chances themselves. The children had global delay due to their start in life but were and are catching up. We found it painful to meet their mothers and the memory is still there. I can only speak that if we were adopters I would want the history of course but not meet the people. The children still come to visit and they are what we call "Our Disney Film Ending".

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  2. You are not alone. I looked up K's birth mum (which is how I knew she was using a pic of K as her profile pic and complained to SS). I no longer check as I don't feel it's fair to invade her privacy anymore. I think it was a fascination to find out information to start with tho. I do think that SS should check up their birth parents FB accounts though because I know of many breaches with photos being put up there of adopted children. I'm hoping to offset some of the issues in the future with K by ensuring she knows that she can meet her BM when the time is right and that I will support her in that. I hope that this will prevent anything going on behind my back. If and when K has a FB (or similar) account I will ensure I am her friend on there and also that I know her password so she has to log on only at home until she is old enough to look after herself. Funnily enough I was just about to write a blog myself on this very same topic!! We are in synch!

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  3. Thanks for commenting hon. That must have been a shock to find your daughters face on FB?? I'm lucky that I haven't found any pics of Mini online...but did see lots of his younger sibling who has since been adopted. It's a worry.
    I think you have good plans in place, and hope that I'll do the same with Mini (sharing passwords, friending each other etc) to ensure that he is as safe as he can be online. It's not just about FB, I think it's about generally having a good understanding in online safety - not arranging meet ups, being careful in forums, sharing too much information.
    I will be stopping, I am finding it upsetting, and I'm not gaining anything. Mini's not really gaining anything either. There is a very good reason for me to continue doing checking - one which I can't divulge here, but better reasons for me to stop.

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  4. Hi, I just stopped by from the Blog Hop and thought I'd tell you that I admire your Blog. Always good to see a new face around here!!

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    1. Thanks for popping by and for your kind comment. :-)

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  5. Interesting, interesting. I looked the day after Social Services phoned to confess they had given her my contact details, and then looked frequently to check she wasn't on her way over to get him! I then discovered that Buster had his own account, which I asked Facebook to remove. The first time I saw a photo of Buster up on her site was like a kick in the stomach. Facebook will no longer take photos down anonymously, so now I just leave them. It is though, why I don't allow BM to keep photos with contact letters. She can go to SS to look, but they have to remain in the office. Unfortunately I don't think we will have any control on any accounts our children have. I know several children who have setup accounts behind their parents backs and every 11 year old knows how to block a parent - friended or not!!
    As you say, I think the way forward is teaching, helping and guiding about internet safety. And hoping that these Social Websites have burned out in the next 10 years!!!!

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    1. I don't think there's much chance of social networking sites dying out for quite a while yet!
      I can't imagine finding photos of your child on FB...we're lucky that Mini's birth parents don't have any of him (or if they do, they would be baby photos and he's changed a lot since then).
      Great idea to leave photos with SS. Bonzo's BM is lucky, we don't let Mini's BM see any....

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    2. Glad you know who is Bonzo and who is Buster!!!!!!!

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  6. I admit to looking up my kids birth family as well. In some ways I wish I hadn't. I felt I was intruding.
    Found an old pic of one of the kids on one of their pages, but decided not to complain; it was a baby pic, he wasn't named, and they are / were the kids family; they are entitled to own the pic and do what they like with it.

    As to my kids going on Facebook when they're 13 and finding their birth family; I am willing to bet mine will do so, and I am also willing to bet they they will be tech savvy enought to get around all the safeguards I try to put on them. It is a worry. We will just have to be as open with the kids as we can about it, and hope thay are open with us.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Megs. I'm pretty sure most kids will venture onto Facebook at some point, I'm not sure about how tech savvy mine will be (especially versus their dad), but I think you're right, we just have to be open with our kids and hope they are too.

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    2. My 8 year old can find his way around the internet. (they do a lot of IT stuff at school)
      My 5 year old can find the Cbeebies site (and no it isn't bookmarked!)

      So I'm warning you... it starts early!!!!!!

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  7. I'm sure it's fine to look them up on FB... only human.... and I certainly don't feel any qualms about invading anyone's privacy. My adopted son's 'alleged' birth father is on FB and there is a family likeness. So it has added to my knowledge and can help me inform my son as and when he's interested. He's 13, been on FB for a long time, is aware of the risks, and is showing no interest in searching so far. But.... if and when he does, I know that whatever support I offer, he might just decide to go it alone. We just have to be there for them if they do and be ready for it to go wrong I'm afraid.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Izzwizz. That's my main reason for looking - adding to my knowledge so I can share with Mini.
      It's great that you can offer support to you son, I hope we can do the same for Mini - let's hope it doesn't go wrong!

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