Social media has dramatically changed the way communication looks in an open adoption. There are many different platforms for messaging, sending pictures and posting updates in the palm of your hand, and the possibilities for sharing are constantly changing. People are sharing their lives through social media more frequently, so how do we navigate this within open adoption?
Because social media keeps changing, this conversation is not going to be done after one discussion. Likely, this will be an ongoing dialogue as social media changes, and as your open adoption relationship evolves over time. Communication through social media is like other forms of communication in openness; it is unique in each adoption situation. It needs to start with an honest conversation, which can be done with the help of your social worker(s). It is important to lay out what you are comfortable with, talk through the major platforms that you each use, and discuss how you may want to use them in your open adoption.
This will be an ongoing dialogue as social media changes, and as your open adoption relationship evolves over time.
Posting updates on social media can be tricky, but it can also be a positive, easy way to share with others. When talking about openness, be honest with what you are comfortable with, and try to understand where the others involved are coming from. It makes sense that birth parents and/or adoptive parents want to share updates on social media. It also makes sense if they are not comfortable with sharing these updates on a public platform. Does this mean that no pictures can ever be uploaded to Facebook or Instagram? No, not necessarily. There are ways to get creative with social media if one or both parties are not comfortable sharing updates in such a public way.
When talking about openness, be honest with what you are comfortable with, and try to understand where the others involved are coming from.
Ways to get creative
- Adjust your privacy settings to ensure you know who can see the information shared online. Once updates are posted, they are “out there,” in one way or another, and can never truly be “deleted”.
- Discuss ahead of time if you are going to be “friends” on Facebook or “follow” each other on Instagram.
- Create a private group on Facebook to upload photos and send updates. Invite the friends and family members you want to share these moments with.
- Perhaps you are okay with pictures being uploaded, but you do not want to be “tagged” in the photos with identifying information. Set these guidelines ahead of time.
- Create a private blog with a password. Share this information with those whom you want to have access to updates.
- There are private apps specifically created for sharing pictures such as private Snapchat groups, Cluster, 23Snaps, TinyBeans, Facebook messenger or Instagram messenger. AdoptMatch also has a service for sharing with others in the open adoption.
- Create a private texting group to send pictures and updates.
- Create a Shutterfly account with pictures and share the links.
The key to navigating social media in your open adoption is to continue this conversation as time goes on.
There will always be new apps or social media platforms, so these will need to be discussed as they come up. The key to navigating social media in your open adoption is to continue this conversation as time goes on. If you are not sure about sharing an update, ask the other party first. Remember, it is important not to share identifying information about the birth or adoptive family without their permission. If you are unsure how to have this conversation, or if you’ve run into a spot where you feel “stuck”, reach out to New Life Adoptions. We can help you have this conversation. The goal is to use social media in a way that everyone is comfortable with and helps each party share exciting moments and pictures, promoting healthy communication.