One of my favorite ways to stay connected to the adoption process (especially when my own is uneventful at the moment) is to read other families’ blogs. I have learned a lot about the process and expectations by reading about the journeys of others. And I have a renewed spirit about the process when I see someone has just gotten a referral or has arrived home with their new family member.
I was thinking of starting my own personal blog, simply to keep friends and family updated, so I thought I would research requirements or recommended practices for personal adoption blogs. Here is what I learned:
- Foreign government officials often monitor adoption blogs. Really. Therefore, parents should be careful not to post negative or damaging information about their adoption process, particularly when it comes to a specific government office. These posts could damage an agency’s relationship with that country. It could even affect international adoption as a whole from a given country.
- You may not share identifying information about your adoptive child until the adoption is final. That means no pictures and no names until your child is in your home as part of your family.
- You should not share too much of your family’s information. Addresses, phone numbers, and the like are accessible to anyone online — not just the adoption community.
- Information that your agency shares with you is intended for you and other adoptive families, not the general public. If you want to post something that you don’t see on your agency’s website, ask your agency for permission first.
If you have an absolute urge to share photos with your family or vent frustrations, as we all do, consider having your blog accessible only through a password that your close friends and family know. More private communication methods, like email, are more appropriate for that information than blogs.
If you want to discuss information from your agency or share experiences about government processing with other adoptive families, consider starting a private email listserv. This way, your catharsis won’t affect the adoption process for you and other families.
Additionally, consider what you post on your blog. If you child ever sees your adoption blog, would you want them reading everything you wrote? For example, do you want them to know the cost of the adoption? Would you regret sharing their personal history with the world? One way to prevent future regret is to write your blog as if you’re writing a long letter to your future child. Share only things you want them to know. Or, consider deleting your blog entirely after your adoption is finalized.
When in doubt, ask your agency what you should and should not post. Imagine your agency or government officials from your child’s birth country are reading your blog. Country-specific blogrolls and simple Internet searches can make your personal blog rather easy to find. And remember, agencies and government officials are simply working on behalf of the child’s best interest.