Facebook is more than a means to let your friends know what you did last night. The social networking site with millions of subscribers worldwide has increasingly become a tool for tracing -- and occasionally reconnecting -- severed biological ties.
Sixteen-year-old Alexander Dorf had the shock of his life when a random message appeared on his Facebook "wall" from a Florida woman named Terri Barber: "Hi, I was just wondering if your parents’ names are Jamie & Jeff?”
The name jumped out at Alexander immediately. It was the woman he'd been trawling the Internet for with no luck; his birth mother. His adoptive parents weren't quite as surprised as he was at by contact.
It was only a matter of time. And the Internet is changing nearly every facet of adoption. It brings new meaning to the term DIY. There are couples openly searching for birth mothers, mothers looking to reunite with long lost children they gave up for adoption. The Web has circumvented a process that used to involve lots of red tape.
“It used to be a slow process,” admits New Jersey adoption facilitator and psychologist, Anya Luchow. “And when the children were minors, it was one that their adoptive parents could control.”
Now kids aren't waiting for adulthood to search for the missing pieces -- or members -- of their past. They are online and savvy enough to track down their birth parents. Or they make themselves highly visible on sites like Facebook and Myspace, so it is easy for their birth parents to find them.
While children under 13 are not allowed to open Facebook accounts, many children do so anyway, opening a Pandora's Box where they can be "friended" by virtual strangers. There are stories of children being approached by birth parents online, sometimes before the children have even been told they're adopted.
In some cases, the reunions stay friendly and largely virtual. In others, such as the case of Aimee L. Sword, who was convicted of having sex with her 14-year-old biological son, after finding him on Facebook, the risks are very real.
“It’s uncharted territory,” says Dr. Luchow. As with everything on the Internet, there are no hard and fast rules, no etiquette. It is up to parents to lay them down for adoptees to stick by.
A study by ForbesWoman and the pregnancy website TheBump.com found that 92 percent of working moms and 89 percent of stay-at-home mothers felt "overwhelmed" by their responsibilities inside and outside the home.
Almost 30 percent of working moms claimed they do the lion's share of the chores, and 31 percent said they are accountable for "all of the parenting". A further 70 percent of working moms and 68 percent of stay-at-home moms admit to feeling "resentful toward their partner” for not helping out more with parenting duties.
While those stats may not surprise you, what if we said you bring all that incumbent stress on yourself?
“It’s not just that women can’t ask for help," said Meghan Casserly, a reporter for ForbesWoman, "They don’t want to. [She] feels it’s damaging her sense of motherhood to ask for help. And it’s causing resentment.”
According to Carley Roney, editor of TheBump.com, it's more a case of a woman possessing "a secret desire to be superwoman.” Roney claims the seeds of this burning desire to be Super Mom are planted early on in childhood, often with the example of our own do-it-all-without-grumbling mothers.
First comes guilt and a reluctance to ask for help, which Roney calls the Martyr Syndrome. Then, when help isn't immediately forthcoming (ie. our partners don't have built-in crystal balls), resentment kicks in.
“There’s ego in motherhood,” Roney admits. “And an ego in being a wife. It’s the nature of being a mother—that you’ll just do it. That you’ll take it ‘like a mom.’” But if mothers are to survive, she says, we must overcome that first hurdle -- admit that we need help, then ask for it. “At some point, you’ve got to say: I can do a lot of it, but I don’t want to do it all.”
It seems two-year-olds aren't the only ones who benefit from time-outs. So the next time you feel your blood boiling and your temper starting to flare, clearly ask for help, then disappear into a quiet room for a few minutes to recharge.
Health Canada recalled the following Maclaren models after reports of fingertip lacerations and amputations caused by a defective hinge mechanism on the following models:
Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller
The manufacturer insists that the strollers are safe and meet Canadian stroller regulations, provided they are used in compliance with the instructions. Extra care should be taken when opening or closing the stroller, ensuring that children are kept at a safe distance.
There have been no further incidents in Canada since 2009 recall and only one reported incident of a Canadian child receiving a laceration from the folding mechanism of a Maclaren stroller. 37 additional injuries have been reported in the United States though with a total of 149 reported incidents.
Consumers are urged to call American Baby Products, Inc. (formerly Maclaren USA) for a free repair kit at 1-877-688-2326.
In Canada, between 2004 to November 2009, approximately 22,000 of the recalled strollers were sold at The Bay, Toys R Us (Babies R Us), and other retailers."