Social Media’s Effect on Post Adoption Communication

Social-Media-Communicat-on-between-a-Birth-MotherBoth technology and communication after an adoption have changed quite a bit over the past 20 years. As birth mothers and adoptive parents become more “connected”, the way they communicate becomes less formal. They normally have plenty of time to get a comfort level with each other during the adoption process.

Methods of Communication: Introduce Facebook

Usually, during the adoption process, the birth mother and the adoptive parents will get to know each other with face-to-face meetings, letters, emails, phone calls or prenatal visits. Once the adoption is complete, contact with the birth mother can dwindle, and in many cases can be completely severed. Now with Facebook’s popularity (as well as other types of social media) and ease of use, it’s a way for both parties to have an open line of communication. Facebook is a convenient and timely way to communicate. Adoptive parents’ expressed delight over no longer needing to reproduce, print and mail pictures from their digital devices. And birth mothers were thrilled to be able to see spontaneous pictures with attached comments.

Communication Tips

When communicating through social media, especially Facebook, often times there can be miscommunication, misinterpretation, over-analysis and hypersensitivity. So it’s important to be both smart and practical when communicating.
  1. If using Facebook, create a separate account and set guidelines for whom you’ll share your content with.(Use Facebook’s “Group Option”)
  2. Outline the types of photos to post, what type of comments can or can’t be posted, etc.)
  3. Don’t get too close too fast; take your time to get to know each other. Build trust and create proper boundaries.
  4. Make sure the conversation is about the child and in the best interest of the child.
For many open adoptions, Facebook has become the main form of communication after an adoption. So it should be used carefully with respect to both the birth mother and the adoptive parents.

Questions to Think About Before Posting

  1. Will I offend anyone with my comment?
  2. Is it appropriate for Facebook, or should I communicate my response in another way?
  3. Can my comment be taken out of context?
  4. Is my comment reactive, or is it well thought out?
  5. Am I venting or is this something I really want to share?
While we look at social media as a convenience and a way to share our lives with each other, many experts warn that virtual contact should be used with caution. A difficult conversation, a side comment or photo can be taken out of context causing an already stressful situation to be more challenging. Everyone should make sure to stick to common sense rules and keep an open dialogue with all parties involved. Whether you’re a birth mother or adoptive parent, and you need assistance with the open adoption process, contact Shorstein & Kelly today (904) 348-6400.

What about a lawyer for the birth mother?

Young Woman Having Counselling SessionOne of the differences between hiring Shorstein & Kelly as a law firm and hiring an adoption agency is that Shorstein & Kelly only represents adoptive parents. Adoption agencies say that they represent everyone who participates in the adoption plan. As attorneys, it is not ethical for us to represent both the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents at the same time.

We help birth mothers

Shorstein & Kelly provides exclusive legal representation to the prospective adoptive parents, as required by Florida law. As such, some may ask: if the law firm is only representing the adoptive parents, who is looking after the birth mother and who is providing for her needs? Answer: Shorstein & Kelly!

Supporting birth mothers is not giving legal advice

Providing legal representation is not the same as helping birth mothers with medical care, financial assistance, counseling and other adoption related services. Our firm has been providing this type of support to birth mothers for over 20 years––in a kind, loving and respectful manner. As for legal representation, we let birth parents know of their right to have their own attorney and, if they chose to have one, the prospective adoptive parents will pay for the costs.

Birth mothers understand choices

As a practical matter, very few birth parents choose to have their own attorney. Some say it’s because they feel comfortable with our experience and dedication to ensuring that their needs will be met. Some say they prefer working directly with us because we provide support in a non-judgmental, pressure-free manner. Others reference a prior birth mother’s recommendation as the reason for working directly with us. No matter what the situation, each birth mother makes all of her own decisions as part of Shorstein & Kelly’s comprehensive adoption program.

Adoption Agency vs. Adoption Attorney – a birth mother perspective

When a birth mother first requests information about developing an adoption plan, she often asks about the differences between working with an adoption attorney or an adoption agency. After talking with hundreds of birth mothers who have experienced working with both an adoption attorney and an adoption agency, we have compiled a list of four areas mentioned most often.

Birth Mother Independence:baby swing

Adoption Attorney Freedom – An adoption attorney prefers to work with a more independent birth mother – in other words, a birth mother who wishes to maintain control and supervision of her own everyday activities. The adoption attorney will propose ideas and make recommendations to the birth mother while sharing the benefit of many years of experience. This practice eases the stress, worry and fear of the birth mother that may accompany her adoption plan. But, most importantly, the independent birth mother continues to manage and control her own life. Adoption Agency Control – Many adoption agencies require birth mothers to adhere to rigid rules, practices, and procedures which force the birth mother to become dependent upon the adoption agency. For example, several local adoption agencies require the birth mother to be accompanied by the agency caseworker for each OB/GYN appointment, including the examination room. Other adoption agencies require each birth mother to live in a certain place, maintain a certain diet, adhere to certain schedules and attend specific, regimented activities.

Access to Decision-makers:76800031(1)

The adoption attorney works directly with each birth mother. As such, the adoption attorney is immediately responsive to the needs of each birth mother, especially in times involving a desperate situation. To the contrary, many large adoption agencies assign less experienced caseworkers to several birth mothers. These adoption caseworkers have very limited decision-making authority on behalf of the adoption agency or the adoptive parents. This practice tends to extend the time needed to approve birth mother expenses on a timely basis.

Choice of Adoptive Parents:

Most adoption attorneys network through state and national organizations in order to provide each birth mother with the great access to the largest pool of prospective adoptive parents. On the other hand, an adoption agency first limits a birth mother’s selection to that adoption agency’s list of waiting families. The adoption agency prefers the birth mother to select one of its families because of the substantial upfront fees the adoption agency charges the prospective adoptive parents.

Confidential Professional Assistance:

While both an adoption agency and an adoption attorney are ethically responsible for providing confidential assistance to each birth mother, in most cases, only an adoption attorney can provide complete, consistent, and comprehensive legal guidance on an as-needed basis. When working with an adoption agency, if a birth mother has a legal question, the adoption agency, most often, will not have an attorney readily available to respond to the birth mother.