Adoption Search: Is the Internet the Way to Go?
Finding birth parents online can be risky.
Thousands of adopted children are turning to the Internet for the most important event of their lives – the search for their birth parents. The Internet has many groups and sites dedicated to reuniting adoptees and their birth parents and there are just as many success stories.

Why use the Internet?

Obviously, the many users - Facebook has more than 800 million active users, Twitter has 200 million. Social networking sites have shown us exactly how small the world has become. There are also many other resources and helpful sites on the Internet. The internet also speeds up the process of finding birth parents – in the past it could take months before you got a response to your query, as everything was done via snail mail.

Should the Internet be used to locate birth parents?

This is the more important question and the answer seems to be a resounding no. Monica Marias of the CMR in Bellville says that there is only one safe and effective way to search for birth parents: through an official adoption agency. The main reason is protection – for both sides.

The biggest problem for an adoptee on the Internet is the lack of emotional support.  Some adoptees have expectations the birth parents cannot meet. Agencies have trained counsellors to help with whatever the outcome of the search may be. The agency stays with you every step of the way – they can sometimes find a lead to a dead end. They constantly monitor you during the search, so that you never feel abandoned and alone.

But maybe the most important reason is that it may be downright dangerous. There are many feelings associated with the search for birth parents – some adoptees are impulsive, unrealistic, irrational and over-confident. These feelings make them susceptible to predators lurking on the Internet – waiting for someone innocent to prey on. A big problem with the Internet is misrepresentation – people do not need to say who they really are, and when people are lying, you are not safe. Agencies have experts dealing with every search – they will make very sure that the persons involved really are your birth parents and not just people with hidden agendas.

Birth parents also need protection. Most of them go on with their lives after the adoption. The sudden shock of a child claiming to be theirs can have a profound effect on birth parents and life as they know it. Some of them might have spouses or children who are not aware of a child in their history, and they need time to tell them. An adoption agency will contact the birth parents discreetly and give them time to prepare themselves and their families for your search.

How can the Internet help?

Though social networking might not be the most effective way to search and locate birth parents, it is an excellent tool for the most important part: Getting to know each other. This is especially helpful if you are not quite ready to meet in person. You can use Facebook to chat, look at photos and keep in touch until you are ready to meet.   In past years this whole “knowing process” took forever because it involved letter writing and postal services. When used like this, the Internet does bring people closer together.

Here are a few articles relating to adoption:

The process of adoption in South Africa

Have you considered adoption?

Would you adopt?

Here are a few websites to help you through the adoption process:

Adoption Reconnect

Adoption South Africa


Adoption Reunions South Africa

Adoption Registry Connect

If you have any questions regarding adoption, take a look below for some useful contacts on adoption:

Monica Marais

Magdalena House, Bellville
Tel: 021 948-3637

Registrar of Adoptions

Contact Person: Marietjie Botha
Private Bag X901
Fax: 012 323 3733

Leonie Erasmus

Tel: 028-271 5500 (office hours)

Have you ever found your adopted child's birth parents?

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