Adoption and the Internet-
Pandora’s box or mentally healthy?
“Information wants to be free,” said Stuart Brand, author of The Whole Earth Catalog. He added that the right information in the right place and at the right time can change one’s life. According to Adam Pertman, director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Internet has transformed adoption. In Pertman’s words, “The Internet obliterates laws and barriers that have prevented people from knowing each other, so…the era of closed adoptions is really coming to a close.”
Turn back the clock, if you will, to a time when people were not able to connect by using the Internet. At the end of WWII, my birth mother, overwhelmed by adversity, relinquished me. I was five years old, my brother and I went from foster care to very stable, loving adoptive parents, a professor and his wife. Despite the improved circumstances, however, I longed to know about my original mom and dad. The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption relates the pain of not being able to have a reunion with my birth parents until it was almost too late.
Recently I learned that my birth mother had wanted to contact me when I was ten years old, five years after I was established with my new family. At the time, I knew nothing about her thwarted wish. Had the Internet existed, I have no doubt that I would have found HER; probably we would have met then rather than 38 years after she gave me to my new parents.
What if I’d known that my birth mother wanted me back when I was ten? What if the Internet had allowed us to get together sooner rather than years and years later?
It is possible that I could not have handled a gradually opening adoption. But it’s certain that the secrecy surrounding the history of my birth mother was a negative influence.Today’s adoption scene is undergoing a revolution of openness and transparency. I’m profoundly grateful for the Internet, especially for the way it provides an adoption community of support.