South Carolina Siblings Meet for First After Facebook Search

South Carolina Siblings Meet for First After Facebook Search

Nicole Belkin, a 29-year-old living in Las Vegas, NV, never gave up on finding her biological sibling. She and her brother, Jason Burnette, were both born in Lexington, South Carolina and put up for adoption as infants. After tracking down and meeting her biological parents, Belkin set out to find her brother. She spent years exploring every avenue available to her but had no luck. Because Burnette was born two years before Belkin, he had no siblings listed on his original birth and adoption documents.

In late June, Belkin wrote about the search for her brother on Facebook. The post quickly went viral, with nearly 30,000 shares. Soon after, Burnette’s friend saw the post and tagged 31-year-old Jason, who reached out to Belkin through his adoptive sister. Belkin learned that Jason Burnette was, in fact, her brother—and he lived in Charleston, South Carolina.

Through a GoFundMe campaign, Belkin raised enough funds to travel to Charleston for some much-needed family time with her long-lost brother. She is currently raising money for travel expenses for Burnette and his wife to meet other members of their biological family.

South Carolina Adoption Confidentiality Laws

In her viral Facebook post, Belkin describes how South Carolina’s strict adoption laws made it difficult for her to identify and locate her biological brother. However, these laws are in place to protect the privacy of all parties involved in an adoption. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all records, files, and documents pertaining to an adoption are sealed to preserve the confidentiality of the biological parents, adoptive parents, and the child. No one will be able to access adoption files unless a judge in the court that oversees the adoption determines the petitioner has good cause.

At age 21, an adoptee can issue a written request to learn the identity of his birth parents or siblings. This request will only be granted if the biological parent or sibling files an affidavit saying they are willing to have their identity revealed to the adoptee.

Social Media Brings Changes To The Way Adoptive Families Communicate

For Nicole Belkin and Jason Burnette, their sibling reunion was a happy one that would likely not have been possible without Facebook. Internet, email, and social media have changed communication in a way adoptive families could not have predicted 20 or 30 years ago.

Open adoptions are more common now than ever before, but it can be tricky to navigate these relationships without crossing boundaries. Traditionally, families with an open adoption agreement would communicate through mailed letters and photographs, typically only once or twice a year. Now, it is tempting for adopted children and birth parents to seek out the other on Facebook and other social media platforms, often without the consent of the adoptive parents. Even for those negotiating a completely open adoption, it is important to set expectations for the frequency and medium of communication between adoptive and natural family members.

Mt. Pleasant, SC Adoption Attorneys

If you are an expecting birth mother or a prospective family considering adoption, it is best to contact a family law attorney right away. The experienced adoption lawyers at Klok Law Firm LLC can help to protect your rights and interests while working to ensure the entire adoption process runs smoothly.