I was discussing the topic of search, reunion and technology with another birth parent who also happens to be an adoptee. We discussed the likes of the show Find My Family and the implications of how difficult it is for the average, everyday, non-private-investigator to search for family members. As we talked, the discussion came up that one of her family members simply didn’t “exist” online.
That boggles my mind.
I know it happens. I’ve tried to locate a few people from my yesteryears only to find that they simply do not have any available Internet footprint. Perhaps they’re using pseudonyms. Perhaps they live in the areas of our country that still don’t have easy access to the Internet. Maybe they can’t afford it (though your local library should provide ease of access). Perhaps they simply don’t realize the benefits it can provide to individuals, families and communities. I don’t know why but some people aren’t online.
And if you’re planning to search, reunite and carry out a post-reunion relationship, it can be a huge obstacle.
As an example, if your relinquished child was able to learn your maiden name (or your current name if you haven’t changed it since the time of your child’s birth), are you easily Googleable? (Yes, Googleable is a word in today’s tech age!) Do you have a website that shares your name? Are you listed on available adoption search registries? Do you have a Facebook? A twitter account? Or any of the many available options to get your name out there?
If so, why not?
It’s true, of course, that some family members don’t want to be found. In fact, in the case of adoptees who were never told that they were adopted, some don’t even know that they “need” to be found or that they could be actively searching for someone. But for birth parents who are patiently waiting for the day that their relinquished child makes contact, utilizing the amazing ease of the Internet to make yourself easily found is the best thing you can do to make the process easier for your child.
In my next post I’m going to share some do’s and don’ts regarding how you share your information online, where you share it and how to control what is or is not shared by others. Be sure to check it out tomorrow if you’re still patiently waiting for your first contact.