Ask AF: Sharing Details We Found Online

If your open or semi-open adoption starts to falter, you may be tempted to find birth family online.

Q: We first had non-identifying communication with my child’s birth family, but they stopped responding. My daughter is now eight. I did some searching online — but can I share information about the birth family that I obtained without their consent? What should I do?


A: First of all, anything we put on the Internet is, for better or for worse, in the public domain. So, unless you hacked into a secure site, the information you found may be shared. If the information you found is appropriate for an eight-year-old to know, explain to your daughter that you know that having information about your birth family is important for someone who was adopted. Since the birth family stopped communicating with you, you looked on the Internet to see if you could find information about them. This is what you found.

Your child may ask whether you can contact them, so you should explore this before you talk. Even though communication stopped years ago, the birth family may feel differently about it now. You can always communicate through special e-mail addresses or a post office box.