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.

Adult Adoptions: A Growing Trend in Florida

Earlier in 2012, when the media learned that a 40-year-old South Florida polo tycoon adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend as his daughter, the awareness of adult adoption skyrocketed.  It was reported that the tycoon used the adoption process to protect his fortune from the family of a man he killed in a DUI crash.  Once his girlfriend became adopted, as the legal child of the tycoon, she was immediately entitled to at least a third of a multimillion dollar trust fund.  The tycoon’s attorney argued that “the adoption was meant to secure the assets of his children and family investments, nothing more.”  Nevertheless, ever since this case became public, Shorstein & Kelly has been inundated with requests for information about adult adoption.  As such, set forth below is a summary of the typical reasons, requirements and results for completing an adult adoption in Florida.*

Reasons for Adult Adoption:

Inheritance Purposes – In the past, adult adoptions served as a means of ensuring the passage of property rights or financial assets to the adopted individual more easily.  It was also used as a mechanism for protecting the family surname – later in life, a childless couple or a couple who bore only daughters could adopt an adult male to carry on the family name. Formalized Existing Relationship – Through adult adoption, parents can now adopt an adult foster child or stepchild without the consent of the child’s parents or custodian.  In such a case, adult adoption is finalizing or formalizing an already existing relationship.  So to, adult adoption may be used to reestablish a formerly existed relationship – such as for children who find their birth family after reaching maturity or fathers who find children they were previously unaware of. Providing Long-term Care – Utilizing the adult adoption process, an adult adoptor may become the responsible party and primary decision-maker for another adult’s care.  As such, the adopting adult can provide long-term care for someone who has diminished capacity, mental illness or disabilities.

Requirements for Adult Adoption:

The requirements for a Florida adult adoption are much simpler than those of a child adoption.  The only absolute requirement pertains to the consent of the adoptor and the adoptee – each of their consents is required.  If the adoptee is married, the spouse of the person to be adopted should consent to the adoption but such consent may be excused by the court for good cause or other reasons set forth in the statute.  The adoptee’s parents are not required to consent to the adoption – they are only required to receive notice of the final hearing.

Result of Adult Adoption:

Similar to a child adoption, with an adult adoption all existing legal relationships with the biological or custodial parents are severed.  Also, as part of the process, the adoptee will have an opportunity to change his or her name.  The new name (or the same name if the adoptee chooses not to change the name) will appear on the new birth certificate which will be issued subsequent to the completion of the adult adoption proceedings.  Just like a child adoption, the adoption records will be confidential and the file will be sealed.Adoption laws are enacted by each state and, therefore, the laws for states other than Florida may be vastly different.  Other states may have restrictions or requirements making adult adoption much more difficult. * Adoption laws are enacted by each state and, therefore, the laws for states other than Florida may be vastly different.  Other states may have restrictions or requirements making adult adoption much more difficult.