The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Should I post about the daughter I placed for adoption? Carolyn Hax readers give advice.

((Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post))
Placeholder while article actions load

We asked readers to channel their inner Carolyn Hax and answer this question. Some of the best responses are below.

Dear Carolyn: Hi Carolyn, I am 45 and recently found the daughter whom I gave up for adoption when I was 16. My childhood was very traumatic and dysfunctional, therefore I knew that I couldn’t raise her properly or provide the best for her.

Since reconnecting we have established a great friendship and she fully understands and even appreciates that I gave her up for adoption. I am recently married and have a 2-year-old baby and step kids whom I adore. All have met her and are very supportive.

The problem is social media. I am very active and post often about my life and our family's adventures. I would like to start including my bio-daughter (with her permission) in these posts. But before I do I feel that I should at least offer up an explanation or part of the story so people I am connected to understand. I am not seeking validation but I feel it would be awkward or strange to just pop up with a new family member who looks like me that no one has ever seen or heard of.

My husband and friends think otherwise. They say it's no one’s business and that I don’t need to say a thing. But I think it would be weird not to, so I am torn.

— Wondering

Wondering: Talk about it with your bio daughter, and see what kind of social media “introduction” she’d be comfortable with. Then, go with that. As an infant, she had no part in any of the decisions that were made regarding her placement. She’s an adult now, and she’s the one who should have control over how she is presented to other people. If you have friends or family who find the sudden presence of this person to be odd, then perhaps they will reach out to you, and you can explain it to them privately. However, to post your explanation on social media for all to see? I think that would be insensitive. Plus, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. Talk with your bio daughter, and follow her lead.

— Jo

Wondering: I agree with your husband and friends. You don’t have to make a big announcement, unless you want to. Just bring her into the Facebook fold, and as questions arise you can choose how and whether to answer them.

My mom was adopted and found her bio-mom when she was in her 60s and bio-mom was in her 80s. No big announcement, no nosy questions, just some sweet photos of them showing up to a restaurant in near-identical pants or getting together for a picnic. Good luck!

— Anonymous 1

Wondering: Oh, please do. My family was in this exact situation. I was adopted out, reconnected with my birthparents (who had subsequently married and had more kids). They never posted online the full explanation of how I came to be, but their close friends and family knew, and I eventually met those people in person.

This is your story to decide how you want to tell it (with your birth daughter’s input to the extent it overlaps with her story). You can subtly begin including her as your daughter and the people who need to know more will hear from you directly, or you can provide a quick backstory that you’re happy you’ve been able to reconnect with a daughter you had in your teen years. It will feel a bit weird because it is new for all of you as you reconnect, but eventually the family story becomes part of the background as you move forward. Congratulations and good luck as you establish your connection. This can be a fraught process even when all parties want to reconnect as trauma you thought you were over may bubble up, but loving openness can help heal.

— Swoozy

Wondering: My first reaction is that it’s your social media, not your husband’s and friends'. If you want to explain in a way that your daughter is comfortable with, there’s absolutely no reason you cannot or should not share this news with your social circle.

This feels so obvious to me that I’m struggling to understand the dilemma here. You definitely don’t owe anyone the deeply personal details of your teenage struggles, but acknowledging the facts of your first sentence, perhaps with some flourishes about how happy you are, seems perfectly natural.

All subject to the comfort level of your daughter, of course. Her feelings are vital to this discussion, and to a lesser extent, your immediate families. Otherwise, it’s your Instagram feed or Facebook wall to share as you will.

— Anonymous 2

Every week, we ask readers to answer a question submitted to Carolyn Hax’s live chat or email. Read last week’s installment here. New questions are typically posted on Fridays, with a Monday deadline for submissions. Responses are anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself and are edited for length and clarity.