This presentation reveals the central role of social media and technology in reunion between persons adopted to Ireland from other countries and their birth family members. Social media and other technologies have significantly transformed and are now a central feature of reunion in intercountry adoption. This presentation will explore how social media and technology have facilitated, ‘normalised’ and casualised aspects of contact with birth family; increased the pace of contact and can be challenging in relation to managing contact and boundaries for adoptees and birth family members. Although social media has facilitated participants’ contact with birth family, prepared them for initial in-person contact, and acts as a substitute for in-person contact between meetings, this study suggests it cannot and does not replace the need for ‘real-life’, in-person contact.
Anne Marie Shier (BSocSc, MSW, PG Diploma Teaching and Learning) is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Ireland to the Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Lecturer at Technological University Dublin and a Doctoral Candidate at University College Cork. Anne Marie previously worked as an Adoption Social Worker (Information and Trace).