Children’s Rights to Privacy after Adoption

Why haven’t the courts helped protect a minor adoptee’s right to privacy?

By Lara Trace

I am an adoptee, well past the age of majority, and because of my closed adoption, I had to climb a mountain and claw my way up to discover any details about who my natural family was. Records were sealed in Wisconsin. Growing up, I had no medical history. I did not share my adoptive parents blood or ancestry. Mine, on paper, didn’t exist. Even recently I told a surgeon I am not sure about most of my birthmom’s medical history, though I do know she died from complications of diabetes.

I have not stopped thinking about the post I wrote that APs need to stop blogging about adoptees. This is a looming hot issue concerning “privacy” for minor adoptees. At the MIT adoption conference, I heard it loud and clear. I’m sure many adoptive parents had not considered the ramifications of blogging about their children’s lives, especially when adoptees are still minors. The dangers of sharing on social media and blogs are REAL yet being ignored. APs are, in my opinion, in essence creating an “unsafe environment” for their child.***  A toddler cannot consent to having his or her life experiences documented on public spaces. (I predict someday some clever lawyer will take this on and attempt to sue an adoptive parent for publicizing and publishing an adoptee’s early private experiences, albeit from the APs perspective.) (There might already be stalkings and kidnappings due to the increased use of social media. You can find anyone with the click of a mouse.) (There was already one lawyer in CA suing adoption agencies for damaged goods – when an adoptee is ungrateful or not what the APs expected. This is what lawyers do!)

If someone must blog, then private password-protected blogs, shared between family members, is the only way to protect any child. Parenting blogs are one thing; blogging about the children you adopt is another.

Many adoptees have told me and related on social media, much needs to be changed about “adoption” – ending the lack of access to our own adoption files, having a copy of our real birth certificate, knowing our ancestry, our medical history and so much more….including an understanding of birth trauma, anxiety and stress disorders in adoptees.

My goal as a writer/adoption author/adoptee is to advocate for adoptees too young to advocate for themselves. I will do whatever it takes to make this issue understood from the adoptee perspective. (Add to this I teach blogging and a course on social media.)

In my foster care training in Oregon back in the 1990s, there was no mention of protecting a minor child’s privacy but people were not blogging and tweeting and Facebooking back then!

Yet there was plenty to read about confidentiality for birthmoms – if they chose not to tell anyone and gave a baby up for adoption – adoption agencies like Catholic Charities assured them no one would ever have to find out. The child (like me) would have a new identity and the records were sealed permanently.

This created a fantasy I had to deal with and live with as an adult. Until I met my dad Earl, I had no medical history or ancestry.

So much needs to change about adoption. It’s a complicated mess. For 10+ years, I’ve done research on adoption as a topic. I am not a lawyer. More and more is coming to light that “adoption” is not at all what we thought. Much of what we read is/was created by the billion dollar adoption industry so it’s their sale pitch, aka propaganda for adoptive parents (APs) and potential APs.

I am old enough now to advocate for those adoptees who can’t.  And I will.

If I run into APs and lawyers who get upset with me (or my blog) for voicing my opinion, get in line.


Here is a very revealing post from Jason on his blog concerning failed adoptions and the practice of advertising adopted children you no longer want: REHOMING:

Children For Sale: Get ‘Em While They’re Hot

His post

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for taking the time to comment. You’ve raised an important issue: every child should have a safe and supportive home. Do you advocate that only adoptive children who are in homes with parents unable or unprepared to raise a child be taken away? Should parents of biological children who are unprepared, unwilling, or unable to raise their children be allowed to offer up their children to better homes?

As we consider posting pictures or information about the lives of children on the internet, we must also consider the impact on the children (you are considering only the needs of potential adoptive parents). Does the internet have a right or need to know any information about these children? How might the children be impacted in the future with their personal and private information being shared with any stranger that comes across it?

What baffles me–and endangers children–is when adults think of their needs and fail to reflect on what children need. In this case their is an enormous impact that you are failing to consider.

and:  Hi Anonymous, you’ve raised some important concerns about the foster care system, which is a different issue than what this post is about. I’m deeply concerned about what happens when the private and personal information about children is shared publicly. Children can have safe, secure, and supportive homes without their backgrounds being put up on the internet and shared with the world


*How to Help With Children’s Rights

By Bailey Richert, eHow Contributor

Children’s rights cover issues of health, education, labor, sexual exploitation and social justice.

The category of rights extended to children by such international laws including the United Nations’ “Convention on the Rights of the Child” treaties cover matters of health, social justice, sexual exploitation, education, disabilities and more. The rights of a child were virtually non-existant in the early 1900s, but they have grown significantly with the help of concerned advocates that have formed philanthropic organizations on the behalf of children the world over. Speaking for those who cannot defend themselves, these organizations strive to increase children’s rights through law, increase public knowledge of these rights and put the promised protection into action.



Educate yourself about what laws, both nationally and internationally, are currently in place to protect the varied rights of children. Read summaries of treaties ratified by various countries on child labor protection, anti-sex trafficking movements and heath care issues (see Resources). Give this information to friends, family and others who themselves are unaware of children’s rights issues.

Research organizations involved in children’s rights movements to gain an understanding of which ones cover which major issues (see Resources). Learn about their values and mission statements as an organization, and choose one or more which aligns with your own interest in children’s rights. Some of these organizations may include UNICEF (the United Nation’s Children’s Fund), Love146 (anti-sex trafficking) and ChildHopeUK (defending the rights of homeless children) among others (see Resources).

Donate to organizations you researched in step 2. Donations may be monetary. Children’s rights organizations need funds from members to perform administration operations, rescue operations, set up child relief programs to offer food and advertise their work to other potential volunteers. Donations may also be given in time. Volunteer with one of your chosen organizations to help work a promotional or educational event they are hosting in your area.

Volunteer to be an aid for a child with special needs. The right to services for special needs children is often overlooked, and there are opportunities both abroad and locally to help in this area. Find volunteer opportunities through Feed the Children, which focuses on education for children.

Volunteer your services as a working professional to children in need. Attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and other professionals all have skill sets that may benefit a child.

Organize a public event, such as a concert, games night or potluck dinner, that will help raise money and awareness for the children’s rights needs in your area. Ask businesses to get involved in your awareness efforts. They may choose to donate funds or support you with office materials. Donate the event funds to your chosen organization, or give that money directly to a child’s home in need.

Write to your local government representatives about the importance of children’s rights. Ask specific questions about what their office is doing to further protect children from exploitation, unfair wages, malnutrition and unsafe home situations.

Read more :

I will end with Von’s comment on Adoptive Parents blogging about adoptees: The full exposure some adopters give to adoptees is seriously wrong and abusive. Some of you might remember the ‘Potty Wars’ and the ‘Slant Eyes Fiasco’ when adoptive mothers were adamant that their right to write whatever they wanted trumped the rights of children. Many claim they are not racist or abusive and that adult adoptees are over-sensitive and need to get a life, be prayed for or learn to be grateful. They pretend to pity us for our sad lives and state that their adoptees do not suffer and will not as we have. They know so little of the trauma of adoption and do so little to protect those they have adopted from further trauma. Anything posted is forever available and will undoubtedly be used by someone somewhere to bully, castigate, abuse etc because that sadly is the down side of our social media. Anyone who overlooks this is either naïve, stupid or deliberately abusive.


  1. I’ve been blogging about our family in which two of my children were adopted. I read your post last week and I have really been thinking it over and considering what you said. Thanks for the reality check.


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