Confidentiality, Privacy, Discretion. These are all important words to adoptive families.
Those of you that read my blog regularly will recall the incident at school a few months ago whereby someone decided to inform the school of my blog. I don’t have any issues with anyone at school reading my blog, its anonymous and truthful. However, this concerned me because it meant that someone I knew was willing to reveal our blog identity to others. Someone put their own agenda before the privacy and security of my girls.
We adopted our girls from outside our local county, in fact we adopted them from quite some distance away. A lot of adopters have children placed with them from within their local authority meaning birth relatives can also be quite local. The idea of adopting within a local authority fills me with panic. What if we bumped in to members of their birth family, what if they turned up on our door step, what if they turned up at their school. Many adopters deal with these worries every day, they some how manage to find the strength to push those fears to one side and get on with life. I take my hat off to them.
Up until recently I never had these worries. I lived safe in the knowledge that the girls birth families were some 400 miles away. Not any more. Not long after we moved the girls to their new school I made a discovery on Facebook, gotta love Facebook eh, its great for finding people isn’t it (its also dangerous for the same reasons however)! I discovered that there are some relatives that live within our county, in fact, some live within 5 minutes drive from our house and probably visit some of the same places we do. In fact it stands to reason that these people, or people they know, could have children that attend the same school as the girls. Yes they’re THAT close.
So this recent ‘outing’ of my blog by ‘someone’ has actually caused me much more worry than I initially realised. I’m aware that there are now many people who ‘secretly’ read my blog. Social workers, teachers, school staff. I’m also aware that some of these read my blog because they were told about it by friends/colleagues, meaning its being discussed between these people. I worry that these people may not truly understand the importance of confidentiality or the catastrophic effect that idol chatter could have on our family.
For example someone in passing mentions to a friend:
Friend: I’m thinking of writing a blog about my travels.
School staff: There are these 3 adopted girls at our school/that used to go to our school, and her mom writes a blog as well, she uses wordpress I think.
Friend has a light bulb moment and wonders if these 3 girls are the same ones their friend mentioned they were trying to find.
Before you know it there are birth relatives outside school looking for 3 familiar faces and car registration numbers being noted. Relatives turn up on our doorstep. Police are called, child protection measures put in place, school changed, house sold.
Such an innocent conversation with such devastating effects for my girls.
When we moved to this school I made the decision to not befriend any of the other parents. Its a small school and gossip could travel fast and besides, playground conversations always get tricky and at some point I’ll end up having to lie about something, usually ‘birth’ or ‘pregnancy’ related questions, and that’s really not a good basis for friendship. Past experiences have also shown me that I’m actually not a great judge of character when it comes to friends, some people from the last school that I thought were friends and confided in, turned out very quickly not to be. So its best I leave the other parents to just think I’m miserable and unsociable, its so much easier. Since finding out about these nearby relatives, Im now relieved I made this decision.
What I hadn’t thought about though, was school staff, past and present, and how they could also pose a risk to us. Its very obvious to me that our family and my blog have been discussed unofficially between various staff members. Whats to say that its not also being discussed when they’re at home.
I don’t for a single minute think that anyone would intentionally put our family at risk, but I’m also not sure that the seriousness and importance of Confidentiality, Privacy and Discretion is fully understood. So I wrote this blog specifically for those ‘secret readers’ in the hope that it will help raise their awareness. I have a twitter account, a Facebook page and of course you can subscribe to me here, some of you recently have and that’s wonderful. But please don’t lurk in the shadows, there really is no point, I know your there. Sign up, read what I write, talk to me about it, comment/like on my posts, but please remember the importance of Confidentiality, Privacy, Discretion.
Also, just as an after thought, for those of you that know my name, please stop using it to search for my blog. Bookmark me instead or search ‘Mrs Familyof5’ or ‘The family of 5 blog’. I recently tried to remove ALL identifying features my name being one of them, but the good old reliable search engines of the internet will retain that information for as long as you keep searching for it 🙂
So remember everyone, shhhhh ‘who we are’ is a secret, and its a secret for a very good reason 🙂