Social networking opens new doors for adopted children

Ginny Bates was born in Bucharest, Romania, and adopted at the age of two. She knew as a child that she was adopted and about her birth parents.

“I had the option of writing to them if I wanted to,” Bates said. “I felt like I had to.”

Bates has been writing to her biological mother since she was nine years old. She has to get the letters translated from Romanian to English in order to read them, but she says little or nothing gets lost in translation.

Recently, Oprah Winfrey surprised many people by breaking the news on her television show that she has a half-sister named Patricia. The popularity of social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, has played an important role in helping people find lost family members.

Bates believes that for people adopted from more developed nations, such as Canada and the United States, Facebook can be a great tool to help them find their biological parents.

“Ever since I got it (Facebook), I tried to search my brothers and sisters,” Bates said.

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), an agency that provides people with other related services, helps people adopt children within Canada.

Marcelo Gomez, a spokesperson for the CAS, says the agency plays a role for those who have been adopted and are looking for their biological parents.

“There are some adopted older children, who were adopted through the CAS and they would like to have information about their parents,” Gomez said.

While the CAS doesn’t keep statistics about the number of people who go through them to locate their biological parents, it does get a steady flow of people coming to them.

“I can tell you that it happens on a regular basis,” Gomez said.

Gomez acknowledged that the Internet may play a role in helping people find their biological parents.

Bates described the feeling of being adopted as if she were two different people; she has her Canadian background and she has her Romanian background.

“Sometimes I just wonder genetically who I am,” Bates said. “There are people out there who look like me and I have real brothers and sisters.”