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Advice Please - Birth Family Information Too Easily Accessible Online

jeepers April 15, 2019 22:40
Over the last few years, an unnamed local rag has inadvertently managed to print a wealth of information - all available at the click of a button - about DS' birth family. The information they have printed includes the names of the streets several of them currently live in and whatever unfortunate situation they have found themselves in - not to mention several salacious offerings about their personal background history and lifestyle choices. From the information available online DS (who will be 15 years old next month) could very easily locate his birth family (if he felt so inclined) without us knowing. It makes me really angry when I think of the damage situations like this must cause. I feel like phoning up the newspaper and demanding they remove the main articles from their archive!!! When DS does finally read this so-called journalism, it will cause him a world of pain. Obviously we talk regularly with DS about Internet safety, monitor his browser history and check his phone to see what's he's been up to on it, but we can't protect him from everything. I wondered if anyone out there has encountered similar issues and how they dealt with it. It's a tricky one - if we talk to him about anything too specific and unintentionally put the wrong idea in his head, we could potentially open Pandora's Box. DS hasn't expressed any interest about contacting his birth family prior to him turning 18 but if this changes at any time, we will need to be ready. Any advice would be very gratefully received! Thank you
Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella April 15, 2019 22:49
It’s not something you can avoid unfortunately. It’s out there, if you can find it, he can find it. Have you thought about some therapeutic lifestory work? Probably best that he hears this from you and/or a responsible therapist than to find it online and without support?
Edited 17/02/2021
chestnuttree April 16, 2019 13:36
Like Donatella, I would focus more on what is being said about your child's birth family. We are in a similar situation to your's and read the articles with our children a while back. I think it is very important your child reads the articles with you and not alone or at some friend's house, so that you can explain what they mean and why they were written in the way they are. If you don't read them with him, he might think that either you don't know about them, can't face reading them with him or want to keep them a secret from him. None of these are good options.
Edited 17/02/2021
Pear Tree April 17, 2019 02:09
Hello My son Partridge’s birth father was very much part of a large northern city gang. His birth surname comes up a lot in the local and national news. I think truth well handled could work to everyone’s advantage. You do, in my opinion, need some skilled life story work. I know catchpoint do an excellent approach with older kids. But I understand Family Futures and PAC do similar programmes. So with your young person, be aware that they have an internal ‘roadmap to leaving home’ based on his understanding experiences etc. Kids who arrive in a hurry tend to leave in a hurry so start laying down long term connections talk, how you move but stay connected. (when Dad left home he shared a flat with his best friends Bob and Jim. He brought his washing home at weekend to his mum and had Sunday lunch together. I went to university and never really moved back but I rang my mum and dad every day. They helped decorated the kitchen with me. Uncle Tom took a gap year before uni. He kept in touch by sending postcards and keeping up his blog. He rents a flat and we all chose a house plant for him to put in the lounge.) this challenges the internal thinking that once you aren’t living with that person that relationship is over... anyway. I would tell your son about his family. But I would do it in the context of life story work. The late great Greg neck suggested never holding back information and presenting it an age appropriate way. This takes away any mystique or even idolising the Elements of birth family that are dark. It also paints you in a supportive light rather than running the risk of him thinking you are lying/ hiding things and making you the ‘enemy’ and the birth family into ‘saints To be defended’ One more thing. Your child is busy working out identity. They are irresponsible, want loads of sex, impulsive. They are looking to see where they fit. Who they are going to be. Consider that maybe you appear responsible (obvs never have sex!) and are generally considered in your behaviours. Consider maybe the birth family may seem like irresponsible impulsive people with a large number of kids in care (so must have lots of sex) Who are they going to be naturally drawn to? Hm. Sobering thought eh? So by doing life story work you get to put flesh on the bones of birth family, who they are and the flip side of the coin. It really is important. I did life story work with our adopted son Partridge aged 15. He’s 24 now and yes has ongoing trauma related issues but is well connected to his adopted family and has made a decision about birth family.
Edited 17/02/2021
Ford Prefect April 17, 2019 12:23
....Tell me about it. Our two had a double page full colour spread in many of the Sunday papers when they were returned to BM ,covering her “heroic” fight to get her kids back, including the line (and I paraphrase)- I knew they were going to take my unborn baby away so I thought I’d just keep taking the drugs and drinking because it didn’t matter or words to that effect. This is just one of the legacies my son has to look forward to when he is able to do a simple google of his birth names. That and the full names and literally life size head shots of my children along with full addresses. Of course it didn’t last very long, otherwise they wouldn’t be our children now. This behaviour by the BM helped form our very open policy with the children about all of the things that were visited on them. They were old enough at the time of adoption to remember exactly what happened and we talk about it openly whenever they bring it up. We will never let them forget what happened to them because if we do the internet will remind them in graphic detail at some point in the future.
Edited 17/02/2021
Flosskirk April 17, 2019 20:38
Hi. Only feasible option is for you to be open with him about birth family and support him through it, maybe with life story work. read 'bubble wrapped children by Helen oakwater which deals with this issue. We have similar so sympathise but no matter how uncomfortable it is for them or you, you are best to he upfront xx
Edited 17/02/2021


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