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About StephenH

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    Hive Mind Larvae
  1. I am glad to see that he learned his lesson. I am also glad he found a safe home to live at for now. I think this will be a positive chapter in his life for him if it goes well. Granted this is not the ideal ending you hoped for (as in back at home with you), I think it is a far better one than if he stayed with his birth mother. It sounds like the Niece will help him through this situation and accept him into her home. Basically, internet contact and reunions before the child is 18, cause the mask to fall off birth family and the child sees first hand who they really are and the adopted child has to accept reality. There is really no fantasy anymore. If the birth parents are not nice people, or are into drugs, or were physically or mental unable to raise a child, the adopted child ends up seeing first hand. Adopted children now have to know and be told the truth about who their birth family really are, including the difficult situations they may face at a much younger age than before. In the old days before social media, the social workers could tell a young child something like "I am sorry you cannot stay with your birth mother, but she was a very nice person", when in reality this is a way to delay the difficult truth to the child becomes an adult. Now, Facebook changes that because a child can search at a much younger age, and not being told the truth gives the child a false sense of security. Children today will have to know the truth starting from a much age, even if it is tragic due to Facebook. The other important lesson for other parents out there who have adopted children, is to not assume contact pre-18 is impossible and to prepare the child to handle it before it happens, especially in this age of technology. It may be safer if a child wants to visit a birth parent to do something like set up dinner in a resturant or meet in a coffee shop, where the adoptive parents supervise him/her during the meeting with a birth relative and make sure the child comes home after the visit. Try to get a sense of who the birth parent actually is, and what the situation they are in is before letting the adopted child travel away to their house. Adopted children also need to know what recourse methods they have if birth family contact online becomes unwanted or dangerous as well such as blocking it, changing phone numbers or e-mail addresses, moving, or restraining orders.
  2. I am not an expert on RAD actually. It's the first time I have heard of it. I'll have to read some more about it. I wanted to add one more thing. I also advise that once the original poster gets his/her adopted child back home, they should also make sure he knows his/her life story (the accurate version that is, not the toned down partially incorrect version given to little children when they are taken away), the reason why he/she was taken away, etc. Ideally, this should have been given and discussed before the visit took place. This will help them understand what is really going on with the birth famiy and the circumstances behind why he/she had to be taken away.
  3. I am not a parent but I am following the adoption and social media trend on my own time. I am not an attorney either but I have done some of my own research on this. I am also a disability rights advocate and a former technician and computer network administrator. I wanted to respond to Rose in BC and TaraTheLiberator. First of all, we have a case in which the adoption world has not caught up to modern technology. Facebook, Myspace, Xanga, Bebo, Google+, e-mail, YouTube, and other social media technologies are essentially unsealed sources of information, which are privately owned. The fact that these sites are privately owned (corporations) makes them not under the same privacy laws as adoption agencies, child protective services, etc. Many of them have a minimum age of 13 or 14 to create a profile. Combine this with The powerful search capabilities of these sites that allow you to easily find people all over the world. Combine this with the photos uploaded online on these sites, and other information on them, such as groups and friends lists. This makes keeping birth family contact a court sealed secret till the child is 18 nearly impossible. The more technicial saviness, reading comprension, memory capacity, rebelliousness, etc the child acquires, the amount of control social services has over restricting contact diminishes. Even if a child's name is changed at the time of adoption doesn't prevent the child from initating contact, nor does it prevent the birth parents from finding their child who has been given up for adoption. Something as simple as knowing one childhood friend who is not adopted and searching their friends list can be enough to find their new name. Send a friend request, then accept it, and then sending an address and then type it into, and the child would have enough information to make a reunion. Sometimes Googling their name can locate a contact e-mail or phone number. Internet contact does not go through the child protective services lettterbox system and is not censored or monitored. The thing to realize, as the adoptive parents still have CUSTODY until the child is 18 in most cases. For the birth mother to gain custody it would take a court to turn it over. So legally the adoptive mother can legally go get their child, and if the visit was over a certain length, you most likely have a kidnapping case here. As to proceed from this point, I would first recommend that you use whatever means you have to get your child back to your house. This may require a road trip or purchasing an airplane ticket. At least you know where he is. Then next would have a frank conversation WITH YOUR CHILD about how to proceed once he is back home. Essentially you now have an OPEN ADOPTION from this point forward (even if it was originally a closed adoption). The fact that your child obtained your birth parents contact information in an unauthorized manner does not change the fact that he/she has had face to face contact and knows their contact information now. The chance of hiding the child's birth family now, with a teenagers memory capacity and technical knowledge, vocabulary and the fact that he had face to face contact before 18 is slim from this point. Some options you have from this point: 1) If he never wants to see the birth parents again, and you think they are a kidnap risk, get the police to issue a restraining order. He may also want to block their contact on Facebook and you may want to change your phone number and consider moving if needed. 2) If he is really interested in having a relationship with the birth mother and sibling again, maybe set up some visitation through the proper channel, such as they visit for a week once a year or something or perhaps they only come to your house instead and visit when you are there. 3) It may be that he wants only telephone / online contact after this. If this is the case, keep in mind the contact will not be censored and you may want to monitor this or create a separate facebook or e-mail account for communicating with the birth family. You may also want to read the book "Bubble Wrapped Children" by Helen Oakwater, the book "Facing up to Facebook" by Eileen Fursland, and the Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute report "Untangling the web", as they also give insight into how Facebook is changing the adoption process.
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