Many parents dread the words, “I want to find my birth parents.” However, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know about your biological roots. We all want to know who we are, but for adopted children, unless they find birth parents, gaps often remain. This does not mean parents have done anything wrong, but adoptees must also realize that this concept may be difficult for adoptive parents. The best way for parents and adoptees alike to deal with this is through open and honest communication.
In some cases, explaining to your parents why you feel the need to find your birth family may help.
I feel different: “Part of being adopted is that I have a piece missing. I want to know why my hair is curly, why I am left handed, or who I look like. Birth parents are part of my past. I simply want answers to my questions.”
I have constant reunions: “I am constantly looking in the crowd for someone who looks like me, a cousin, a sibling, an aunt or an actual parent. Wanting to concretize the imaginary reunions is just the next step in my journey to self-identification.”
I want to know about my past: “We are forever a family bonded in a love that no one can ever break. I know why you adopted me, but knowing the other part of me, when I was born, why I was adopted, is important to me.”
There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn more about your birthmother. However, it must be said that long searches can give you time to build up romanticized expectations of a reunion, and those expectations may not be met. Remember, your birthmother is a real person with her own life and, possibly, her own family. She may not be expecting this reunion and it’s hard to know how she may respond to it.
The worst case scenario is your birthmother may not want to meet at all. This is another reason it is important to have been communicating with your family throughout the process; your parents can help provide the support structure you need if you end up having to grieve what could have been.
On the flip side, it could go incredibly well! You could meet your birthmother and she could be open to introducing you to other members of your birth family. In that case, you may wish to consider including your family with the reunion; they may actually be as interested in meeting them as you are. After all, they played a big role in building their family.
Move Forward as a Family
As you move forward in your journey of finding your birth family, consider your motivations and think about how the choice to find them may affect your life. While for some this may be a very personal journey, others need the support of their family, and in fact speaking with your parents about this can help you along in your journey to find your birth parents.
Even if your adoption was closed, it’s possible that your parents have already taken steps to find your birthmother. At the very least, they can point you toward the adoption agency or family law attorney who facilitated the adoption, which can be helpful in navigating the often circuitous state laws regarding closed adoptions. If those laws make traditional venues closed to you, you can always consider harnessing technology to find your birthfamily, with the power of social media.