We have gone from an era of yearly family newsletters to daily updates of the happenings of our life. We are able to share the most exciting to the most mundane details of our lives in an instant. It is hard not to overshare and hard not to share things prematurely. We want to share with our audience, but sometimes do not think about the consequences. When tackling social media during your adoption process, remember: Less is more. It is better to be silent than sorry.
Consider some of these common social media mistakes:
1. Not Knowing the Rules
When you receive your adoption education, you will receive a whole list of what and what not to do. However, some agencies fail to go over what your state’s guidelines are regarding social media. As social media is still a younger phenomenon, laws are being created to protect the identity and privacy of children, especially those in the foster care system. Make sure to ask your agency to provide clear guidelines for you before you post anything to social media regarding your adoption.
2. Forgetting Your Child Will Grow Up
Whether the child you adopt is a newborn or an older child, they all have a story that begins long before adoption. This story is their story alone to tell or not tell to the world. Social media may be inundated with new posts each day, but what you post will stay on the internet forever. This doesn’t mean you can’t announce your adoption or post pictures of your child, but make sure to respect the details your child may one day choose to keep private. Make the child the focus and not their story.
3. Not Respecting the Birth Family
Regardless of the reason a birth parent chose to place a child, they also retain the right to a certain amount of privacy. It is sweet to see the pictures shared of birth parents and adoptive parents together, but make sure you have permission to post pictures of any birth family before doing so. There may be security concerns for the birth family, but even if there aren’t, it is simply common courtesy to get permission. If your relationship with the birth parents is poor or nonexistent, it is still important to keep their story private as, again, this is the child’s story as well. It is not your place to air their birth family’s dirty laundry to the world or open up an avenue for others to berate or judge them.
4. Jumping the Gun
Unfortunately, adoption matches failing is an everyday occurrence. If you do not want to live out that tragedy on social media, it is best not to post about it before TPR or finalization has occurred. Many hopeful adoptive parents post wonderfully cute announcements when they have decided to adopt. The excitement is certainly justified, but it may be premature. Posting about your adoption also allows opens you and your family up to the world’s opinion. Imagine everyone on your friends list asking you daily if you have been matched yet. Make sure you are ready and where you want to be in the process before posting.
Adoption can be a long, often arduous process. It is can often follow years of infertility, IVF, or failed matches. Once you have the precious child home, it is only natural to want to shout it from the rooftop! When that rooftop includes social media, there are a mistakes you will want to avoid to ensure the security of your adoption, your personal protection from the opinions of others, and most importantly, the safety and well-being of your child. Think before you post and when in doubt, wait it out!
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