Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Claire and Ed adopted their sons 13 years ago. When the brothers found their biological family on social media aged 15 and 16, it took just three months for them to cut off all contact with their adoptive parents.
Claire and Ed say their children were sent "intrusive" messages from their birth family and withdrew from their parents. Both children no longer attend school and there have been reports the older boy is involved in drug dealing.
"For us, it's just been devastating to have our family broken," Ed tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "But the big tragedy and the big, human cost is theirs. Because they've just been manipulated."
Adoption UK says such complete breakdowns of relationships are rare - but unsupervised contact is becoming more common.
The charity's research suggests nearly a quarter of adopted children make direct contact with their birth family - often via social media - before they gain the right to access information about their origins at the age of 18.
Former High Court family law judge Sir Mark Hedley says there are no legal means of preventing young people from using social media to get in touch with their biological family, and banning their relatives from responding could be counter-productive.
Read more here.