Social media has dramatically changed the landscape facing families brought together through adoption. Just as adoptive families thirty years ago could not have predicted the impact of DNA technology on postadoption family life, adoptive families are only now beginning to grasp the impact of social media connectivity on the lives of their growing children. This change is related both to social media’s impact on family life and to fundamental shifts in our understanding of privacy more generally. Understanding the legal rights of parents and children in these circumstances is a novel and underexplored area of family law, constitutional law, and privacy law.
Adoptions have traditionally been cloaked in confidentiality. Hearings that previously only took place in private courtrooms are now often broadcast on social media, giving a very public face to a traditionally private experience. This Article explores these changes and examines social media’s impact on family life in the context of nontraditional families, including in that definition separated parents, foster parents, and families where parents live apart. These issues relate to how parents share about their children online and how such sharing impacts the children now and years into the future. Prospective adoptive parents and birth parents are uniquely situated to use social media to connect with each other and with their shared children. This Article offers a cogent path forward and provides model contractual language for attorneys and parents seeking to address these complex issues proactively. It also offers a potential legal remedy for children in the context of the right to be forgotten. Lastly, it encourages all adults engaged in non-traditional and adoptive families’ lives to seek child-centered solutions that allow all family members the opportunity to thrive in our connected world.
Stacey B. Steinberg, Et al., Adopting Social Media in Family and Adoption Law, 2023 ULR 447 (2023). DOI: https://doi.org/10.26054/0d-sbpb-mnxm