As an adopted child grows and learns about their personal identity, it can be an unsettling time for the family and another confusing aspect of parenting. The child will learn of their birth mom and want to seek out answers about their birth and their origins. This can be nerve wracking for the parents and other siblings, wondering if the adoptee will want to go live with the birth mom once they’re reunited, but that is rarely the case.
This process is important for the adoptee in areas of self-discovery and growing into a confident adult. Learning about their family, the circumstances of their adoption, and their lineage can be a positive experience for all parties.
A Healthy Path to Self-Discovery and Identity
It is important for all children to develop a sense of identity and self-esteem. Many times, when a child learns they are adopted, they wonder why they weren’t kept with the birth mom and what their birth family is like. This sense of wonder can cause behavior issues and a sense of grief.
Adoptee can often deal with emotions like:
- Low self-esteem
- Emotional highs and lows
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty forming attachments with friends or family
- Grief over the loss of their birth family or birth mom
Part of parenting is knowing when to let your child make their own decisions and discoveries. This helps with their development of learning who they are, where they came from, and where they belong. These realizations can sound like they’ll take your adopted child farther away from you, but it can actually have the opposite effect by helping your child understand why they were placed for adoption.
There are many reasons why it can be healthy to connect your adopted child to their birth mom when your child is ready. This depends on whether your process was a closed or open adoption. If your adoption was open, your child can often discover important aspects of their lives and identity:
- Social and economic reasons for being placed for adoption
- Medical history, including genetic backgrounds
- Personality traits and hobbies
- Geographic location of other biological family members
While these questions can be answered with open adoptions, it can be very unsettling for the adopted parents as their child is learning about themselves. However, the majority of the time, answering these questions leads to a more healthy and self-confident child. This will allow ongoing conversations about the birth family and circumstances leading to the adoption. You will know if this is right for you and your child.
Discovery Can Lead to Healing
For each person, knowing who you are and where you came from can provide a deep sense of belonging, history, and pride. By using your parenting skills to help find these answers, you can help your child put together all the pieces that make up who they are, including identifying their birth mom and their background so they can see the whole picture, which includes you!