I was only planning to do two parts to this Facebook question, but something interesting happened after I wrote my last post.
The birth mom from our second adoption came over to visit. She used to come over a lot, but one day told us that she needed to move on and that she wouldn’t be in contact for a while. We had developed a pretty close relationship– she visited our home often before the birth as well as after– so we missed seeing her and visiting with her. She needed the time and the space, though. She had a new job and a new boyfriend, and she needed to find a way to move on.
With our first adoption, we were friends with our birth mom on Facebook. There were a few times that she pulled away from us, just like our second birth mother was doing, but being friends on Facebook with her made that much more difficult. My wife and I were on Facebook a lot and our birth mom was on Facebook a lot, so unless we were to stop being Facebook friends, we couldn’t completely pull away from each other. She constantly saw our Facebook updates and we constantly saw hers, so the only thing that was really different was that we weren’t on the chat room as often. Both sides of the adoption, birth parent as well as adoptive parent, need to be able to separate themselves from the situation from time to time. Both sides need to heal. Both sides need to have some space to figure out their role.
As I’ve said in many other posts, our emotions mirrored those of our birth mother. We felt a sense of responsibility for her happiness since much of her pain was caused by the sacrifice she made to bring our child into our home. Being friends with her on Facebook made it even more difficult to separate ourselves from her emotional state. We could see on her page when she was having a hard day, or a hard week, and we felt responsible for it even if her pain was due to something unrelated to adoption. We had a hard time refraining from thinking about our adoption every minute of the day already, and being Facebook friends made that even tougher.
With our second adoption, though, we were both able to progress during the three or so months that we had no contact because we weren’t friends on Facebook. If she was having a hard day, we didn’t know about it, and we didn’t feel responsible. We knew that she was keeping some distance so that she could progress, so even though we missed seeing her, we felt good about our relationship because we knew she was out there progressing. That helped us progress as well.
Our second child’s birth mother contacted us a while ago, and she came back to visit us again. She seemed recharged. She was moving on. We feel even closer now than we were before, and she brought up Facebook. We discussed the reasons we had stayed away from it, and ultimately, we became Facebook friends. Our relationship isn’t nearly as volatile as it was during the first six months after the adoption took place, so we feel good about our decision. Still, it’s not for everyone.
To Facebook or not to Facebook? It’s an interesting question and you’ll have to find your own answer depending the relationship between birth parents, adoptive parents, and children.