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(38 Posts)
darkriver19886 Wed 10-Apr-19 13:15:48

Please don't think I am being difficult I am not I promise. I have been mulling this over for a while.

My DDs are quite young at the moment. So at the moment I am not to concerned about them trying contact me on Facebook and I will never actively seek out them out on SM. I plan to register my details with the services that allows BC to trace BPs when the girls are 18 and I will be writing letter box until they come of age.

I have become concerned about that some adopters secretly follow BPs and I am not okay with that happening to me.I have nothing to hide but don't want to be stalked. I have changed my surname, locked my profile down so only very basic information is provided.

I considered deleting FB but I would be pretty isolated without it.

OP’s posts: |
cheeseypizza Wed 10-Apr-19 13:38:26

Just keep it on lock down and they won't be able to see anything x

jellycatspyjamas Wed 10-Apr-19 16:19:23

I’ve been involved in do scussions with both adopters and (believe it or not) social workers who think it’s perfectly ok to stalk parents on social media. I understand your concern, regardless of whether folk think you have something to hide, you have a right to privacy.

Given this, I keep my social media locked down, I limit people who can see me, don’t allow posts to be shared and my profile pic doesn’t identify me. I think that’s really the only way to go with it.

sunnymam Wed 10-Apr-19 16:29:01

I have to admit I have been a bit shocked at the number of adopters I have met/heard think it is ok to stalk birth family on social media - while it may be with good intentions, everyone has a right to privacy and I hate the thought of birth families or anyone for that matter looking me up while trying to hide their identity, so why should it be any different for birth families....
So darkriver I feel for you and completely understand your concern. You should be ok if you keep your fb on lockdown - you shouldn't have to isolate yourself.

darkriver19886 Wed 10-Apr-19 17:09:54

@jellycat I have read about social services stalking BPs so not surprised. (There was an article on The Guardian.) The thing that bothers me if I was actively stalking the APs then I would be putting my girls at risk. It doesn't feel fair.

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donquixotedelamancha Wed 10-Apr-19 19:27:43

We had a look at our child's BPs social media when BM was not contactable (or at least not answering phone to SW) and there was a specific need. Haven't looked since, but I think it's not surprising that people do. It's neither healthy nor respectful to keep up a full on FB stalk but brief noseyness is understandable, for good and bad reasons.

I would not advise anyone to have an unlocked SM profile, it's daft. In practice we only have a right to privacy about those things we actually keep private.

SWs doing this is a different matter, because it is the Government (LA) being nosey and we rightly limit that. I read a legal opinion which could be summarised as:
- A look at a public profile as part of an assessment: absolutely reasonable.
- Repeated, regular checking up on a BP's public profile: probably requires a court order under the regulatory powers act (obviously very good reason needed).
- Setting up a fake profile and friending a BP (apparently this has happened): definitely requires a court order.

topcat2014 Thu 11-Apr-19 07:05:02

I hear what you are saying, OP, but it is worth remembering that everything on the internet is inherently public.

Keep the profile as closed as possible.

Things are a little one sided during the process, as the adopters read a whole file on the child and their background, whilst the birth parents will just get to know first names, and may have a meeting.

I have noticed (generally, not related to adoption) a lot of people changing their profile names to just first and second names, without surnames - so I think everyone is mindful of trying to be a little less visible.

If I get to that point, (ie matched) I will always remember who the birth parents are, and do letterbox, but would never countenance "stalking"

Good luck

Imeantunavailable Thu 11-Apr-19 16:16:20

* It's neither healthy nor respectful to keep up a full on FB stalk but brief noseyness is understandable, for good and bad reasons.*

Agree.
Simply lock down your profile or change your name slightly. Also use a generic profile picture that doesn't feature your face. It's easy to go incognito on social media if you understand your privacy settings.

OurChristmasMiracle Fri 12-Apr-19 22:32:27

I use a different surname and middle name on social media for this exact reason- so i can’t be traced unless you would know that- the middle name being my 1st MMCs name and the surname being something from outside the family but meaningful to me.

And whilst I agree *its neither healthy or respectful to keep up a full fb stalk but brief noseyness is understandable”.

Yes noseyness is understandable- but the reason my sons parents have access to my personal information isn’t to be NOSEY. In fact I don’t feel they need my surname now- the information shared is for the benefit of the child, my current choice of surname has no impact on our child as he is not at the age to be able to try to trace me and I see it has no benefit in being shared. Letterbox has been maintained- if they have a question they would like the answer to that’s fine- ask it in the letters, I have always been open and honest so long as it’s appropriate. If it is neither appropriate or useful to our son then it isn’t any of their business and they should respect my privacy.

I know some people would say I shouldn’t use a fake name on social media but I have to consider 2 things- my privacy and my safety.

Also flip it so a birth parent said “I checked my child Facebook just out of noseyness” even if the birth parent was no threat how would the child’s parents feel about This? So why is it ok the other way around?

BarcelonaFreddie Sat 13-Apr-19 01:50:09

I experienced this in a slightly different way. We had no images of birth mum whatsoever. This was due to more than one agency, in different parts of country, being involved wut our child.
I found birth mum on Facebook - wide open profile and tons of photos of our child.
I told our social worker.
Day later - birth mum's profile on total lock down.

PicaK Sat 13-Apr-19 21:06:48

Gosh. I've always assumed that people understand how fb works - so if their profiles are wide open they're happy to be looked at and if securely locked down then they're not. I don't have any friends whose fb page is open. Everyone has high security.

OurChristmasMiracle Sat 13-Apr-19 23:13:48

picak considering a child has been placed for adoption I’m sure there’s cases where this is because of parents mental capacity due to SEN, so no maybe they don’t understand it.

I get why adopters use Facebook to get photos, but honestly for me, if I found that my sons parents had done this I would cease sending all photos of myself to them full stop as I would feel they had breached my right to privacy.

I have wondered with the advancement of social media and people tracing whether in years to come it will become a situation where only first names of birth parents are shared and the local authorities apply for the adoption order with both sets of parents names redacted?

darkriver19886 Sun 14-Apr-19 03:33:25

I agree with our miracle especially regarding photos. I understand both me and miracle are not like most birth parents but, I would be horrified if APs were taking pictures they could access. (They probably be pretty disappointed with mine)

OP’s posts: |
EightWellies Sun 14-Apr-19 10:58:41

Hmmmm...I understand what you are both saying darkriver and miracle , but I have done this. We didn't have any pics of either birth parent for DD2, so I went on FB and was able to find one of her BM to include in her life story book. It was for DD2's benefit, so I'm ok with that. I would have preferred it if her BM had provided a picture, but I think it's not hard to predict that DD2 will want to see what she looks like and I chose to prioritise that over any privacy issues.

I wonder if it helps to remember that adopters give up their privacy to a certain extent as part of the process? Social Workers combing over every aspect of their life and reports shared with strangers which contain our most intimate information. Adopters and birth parents have that in common.

I know it's different because we choose to be a part of the process, but perhaps it makes a shared empathy possible.

I'm not saying that birth parents have no right to privacy, but I do think that the best interests of the child trump the privacy of all the adults involved in most situations.

flapjackfairy Sun 14-Apr-19 11:04:29

I am a foster carer and adoptor so I just use a pseudonym. That way no one knows who I am and I can keep security really tight. I think most adoptors I know do the same so you could consider that dark.

jellycatspyjamas Sun 14-Apr-19 12:44:03

In fairness the processes are completely different @eightwellies, not just because adoptive parents have chosen to some level to accept social work involvement and the scrutiny it brings. Birth parents face significant levels of criticism and blame when their children go through CP processes, all of the professionals involved share huge amounts of information and the birth parents don’t have much influence over what’s shared or the narrative attached to it. The assumption amongst many professionals is that privacy is trumped by child protection so everything is up for debate and discussion.

Very different from the adoption process where you decide what to share and how. Yes it’s invasive but it’s not remotely as emotive or damning as child protection processes.

I don’t think it’s ok to take photos without permission from social media sites - if I wanted pictures I’d ask the social workers to get birth family permission. If I couldnt get that I add it to all the other losses that go with adoption. People don’t lose their right to privacy because they have children removed. Unless, of course, your ok with birth parents looking at your social media and downloading photos that they find...

EightWellies Sun 14-Apr-19 13:01:17

I agree jelly that the process for prospective adopters isn't as damning, though now experiencing the diagnostic process for DD1, I would say that there's a great deal of criticism and judgement in on-going engagement with 'professionals' and it is certainly emotive.

Would I be happy with birth parents downloading pics of me from SM? If it didn't increase risk to my kids then I wouldn't give a monkey's. The problem is that it would.

I guess that's the key test for me - does anything help or hinder my kids. I'm not massively worried about any other implications.

darkriver19886 Sun 14-Apr-19 14:07:46

I am not getting drawn into whats best for my children as I think I showed that when I agreed to the adoption. Plus I have done nothing to disrupt the process as I said I am happy to send pictures and engage in letterbox. I will also answer almost any question but, I just dont feel right having my social media stalked.

I have now sure that my social media cant be googled, my profile picture is just generic and my featured images are just stuff with one of my favourite fandom.

I get it I really do but, I think for me its violating boundaries. I had enough of that as a child, I don't need in my adulthood

OP’s posts: |
jellycatspyjamas Sun 14-Apr-19 15:13:53

If it didn't increase risk to my kids then I wouldn't give a monkey's. The problem is that it would.

I guess though for the most part, it wouldn’t increase risk - I know my kids birth parents have accepted the adoption and have moved on and in the vast majority of cases birth families don’t pose an ongoing risk to adopted children. I recognise there may well be a known risk in your case so I’m not challenging you in your circumstances but for the most part, there’s no risk.

As a family though I would want to preserve our privacy and don’t want folk outside of my circle having access to my kids pictures, birth parents don’t lose their right to privacy and if I would be unhappy with them seeking me out, it would represent a double standard for me to seek them out.

Ted27 Sun 14-Apr-19 15:50:19

I think this is a very difficult area. At the most simple and basic level, Facebook is a public flatform, if you put it out there I don't see how you can complain about your privacy being invaded - this goes for whoever you are, your personal circumstances or what job you do. Stalking is a very strong word.

I have looked at birth mum's FB page. And I will do so again. I'm not stalking her. We have no letterbox, my son had had no contact since he was 4, she moved out of the area. We have nothing. I think I first looked for her when my son was about 10, we were just about to start life story work and he was asking a lot of questions. To be honest, all I wanted to know was if she was still alive. I have no interest in seeing where she's been on holiday, what she had for dinner, who her friends are. Once I knew she was alive, thats all I needed at that time. My son wants to see her, the LA wont facilitate, so yes I have looked since then to get some idea of where she is at, so I can help my son with contacting her himself in the next year or so. I have also looked recently because my son s younger brother is in residential care and I have an ongoing serious safeguarding complaint centred around the use of social media lodged with the LA.

I have also looked at FB pages of members of my staff at work because of some allegations being made. Same principle, if you dont want it seen, dont put it put out there.

Darkriver and Ourmiracle, of course you arent being unreasonable to want privacy, but thats what the privacy settings are for. I know adopters who look, and adopters who dont, I dont know anyone I would think of as stalking, being nosy, or just out if idle curiosity, there has always been a reason.

MrsMatty Sun 14-Apr-19 17:42:18

I agree with Ted, if people don't want photos or information shared, don't post on social media. It's very straightforward really. I only use Facebook and have the security locked down as far as possible, but I still never post photos or info about my adopted grandchild. I never mention the child's name or anything about them - all our family and friends do the same. Once you've posted, the info is in the public domain, so you can't complain about people looking. Either lock the security or don't post.

TigerQuoll Mon 15-Apr-19 05:54:54

Just wanted to add that if you want to share news about your child and Facebook is the most convenient way - set up a secret group and invite your family/friends to it that you want to share news and photos with, and only post there. Then there's no risk of anything going public if you make a mistake about privacy settings on your profile and someone shares a photo you post to their friends (the only way someone would be able to share a photo in a closed group is to save it to their device and then repost it - that's hard to do accidentally)

darkriver19886 Mon 15-Apr-19 07:48:27

I had to sign an agreement about letterbox and social media. I also only get view only photos. So not able to do anything like that .

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EightWellies Mon 15-Apr-19 13:11:40

Ironically, this thread has made me consider whether I should make my own Facebook less identifiable. I don't post pics of my kids on social media anyway though.

I'm interested in what you say about risk Jelly. You're right, there's a very active risk with DD2. The risk with DD1 though is much more generic - generally it's that we don't want anyone from her birth family contacting her, we'd like it to come from her when/if she wants that.

I'm surprised that you feel that there isn't a level of risk from most birth families. That hasn't been my experience of most adopters I know, though I've never discussed their circumstances in detail of course, as we've never discussed ours.

I don't think it is a double standard to seek a photo of a birth parent for the benefit of DD2, but not want birth parents to be able to trace her online. I don't see it as an equivalent. What I do though is try to make sure that can't happen, by being very careful about what I post online.

OurChristmasMiracle Mon 15-Apr-19 16:46:20

eightwellies the level of risk is reduced to the family as birth parents aren’t told their full names- only their first names, so it would be almost impossible to find someone by that alone. There is so little information shared with the birth family about the parents that it does really minimise the risk. Where as for the birth family things such as where they lived when child was taken into care, birth certificate- with mother’s maiden name included is handed over. Often medical and mental health history of birth parent.

Also for the vast majority photos are either not sent or are view only.

Just as much as a birth parent could use social media to trace a child, the reverse could also be done- and a child could attempt to trace a birth parent via social media possibly putting that birth parent at risk (my ex husband was VERY violent and doesn’t know my whereabouts for good reason, it only takes it to be shared and him to see a comment that says- she works x or lives y)

Surely if a birth parent has said they don’t feel it’s safe to share photos of themselves that should be respected? At the end of the day a birth parent is trusting that multiple strangers (think of how many hands that photo could go Through because it’s also kept on file by local authority) will ensure that it is kept securely and not used inappropriately. Strangers that in my case shared my address and phone number with my violent ex despite a court order requiring my personal information being redacted and despite knowing he had been violent and previously stabbed me!

If has made me think- maybe as our son is getting older now and they don’t feel comfortable sending photos anymore maybe it is also time that I stopped sending photos too because it won’t be many years before he’s able to access social media and I don’t know where or how these photos are kept.

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