It seems as though everything is on social media today. We see pictures of what our friends are eating for dinner, their favorite political candidate, and play by play updates on potty training their children. I urge hopeful adoptive parents to keep the details of the potential adoption match off of social media. In a world of oversharing, it is important that the privacy and emotions of an expectant parent considering adoption and their child are kept safe and sacred.
1 - It's coercive. This is the biggest reason not to post about a pre-birth match on your social media accounts. Until the papers are signed and everything is final, that child belongs to his/her mother. Society is currently FULL of coercive tactics to get women to place, don't add any more pressure. If the expectant mother knows that you have told all of your friends and family, she is less likely to choose to parent. She won't want to hurt you or your family. By posting ultrasound pictures of "your" baby on social media, you've already turned her into a birth mother. It is even worse if she can see the comments from your friends and family about how excited they are as well. You've put her in a position that is very hard to get out of.
2 - She may still decide to parent, and she has every right to. When you post about your pre-birth match online, and then post that the mother decided to parent, you are making her a villain in the eyes of your social media friends. All of the sudden she has taken this child from you, instead of making the decision to parent her child. I've seen Facebook friends post about matches that didn't happen, and the comments are always the same.
"I'm so sorry."
"I'm devastated for you!"
"Your time will come!"
"My heart is breaking for you."
"You guys would be such amazing parents."
(A bunch of broken heart emojis )
3 - This part isn't your story, it's theirs. A friend of mine in a private group said it best, "Personal birth story. This time in utero is part of a special story that belongs to the adoptee and first parent. It's a sacred time. It does not belong to the adoptive parents. Rethink your perspective on this time before you are parents, before this child belongs to anyone but his/her expectant mama." This resonates with me so much. I often wish I had taken more time to really cherish my pregnancy. That was the only time that I was his only mama and he was my baby. He was all mine. I knew his favorite sleeping positions and he was comforted by the sound of my voice. If I had known then how much it meant to me now, I would have tried to enjoy pregnancy more. I would have read him books every night and sang to him, things that I don't get to do now. Don't take this time away from her and make it about you.
4 - Privacy. This isn't your child yet. As much as you may feel like it is, nothing is finalized. If you post ultrasound pictures on your social media, you are posting pictures of a child that may or may not be yours one day. Would you want pictures of yourself on someone else's Instagram? (Especially any ultrasound pictures that show genitals, don't post those anywhere at anytime.) Did the expectant parent send you a picture of the ultrasound so that you could "show off", or did she send it to you so you could feel like you are part of the process with her?
5 - Adoption is a loss. It doesn't matter if you adopt a child at birth, they've still gone through a major loss. Their mother and father have just gone through a loss. It's disturbing to see hopeful adoptive parents celebrating this loss before a child is even born. No matter how you say it, that's what you're doing. If I had seen my son's parents and their family celebrating before he was born, I would have been upset. I've seen this happen over and over again on Facebook and each time it makes me feel ill. People are celebrating while the expectant mother is grieving. She's expected to celebrate with them, because "a new baby is always a reason to celebrate!"
Keep your pre-birth adoption match out of social media for the privacy and feelings of everyone involved. If you REALLY have to share details with people, create a small secret group for those you are closest to and only share in there. Do not add the expectant parents. Remember, this may be the start of a life long relationship.