Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Q&A: Should I Search For My Birth Parents?

(image: Jeffrey Beall)

Q: I read the article about the 100-year-old woman birth mother who reunited with her birth daughter. I am a 42-year-old male adoptee who has never had any desire to meet my birth mother. My friends are pushing me to search for her. What should I do? 

A: This is a decision only you can make. Here are some things every adult adoptee should consider: 

“WHAT” is the reason, or “WHY” are you considering a search? Is it to meet your birthmother or other birth relative? Is it to obtain medical information and/or other information? Is it both? 

There is a misconception that search and contact are one and the same. You may want information but not want to have contact with your birth family, and you are hesitant to seek this information because you may be afraid to open that door. We recommend you contact the agency that handled your adoption plan and request your non-identifying information background summary. This information not only provides your medical and family history, but also will help you understand the circumstances of your adoption. After obtaining this report, you will have information. Then you can better decide whether to pursue a search for your birth mother for the purpose of contact.

Other tips when considering a search:
  • What are your expectations for the reunion? Unmet and unrealistic expectations are frequently at the root of reunion problems. It is important to set boundaries and be aware of your expectations before jumping into a reunion.
  • Consider using a mediator to make the initial contact.
  • Consider your support system. Do you have family and friends who are supportive of your search?
  • Prepare for the possibility that your birth parent may be deceased. 
Searching, or deciding to search for birth family can be a very emotional process. Therefore, it is recommended an adult adoptee seek Post Adoption counseling and/or join a support group if available. 

For more information about Children’s Aid Society’s counseling services and/or Birth Parent/Adult Adoptee Support Group, please contact: Audrey Derevenko at (205)943-5343 or adereven@childrensaid.org.  


Anonymous said...

I have 2 daughters adopted thru foster care 2 years ago after their parents parental rights were terminated. They came to live w/ me 5 years ago at the ages of 10 and 12. They are now 15 and 17. They know who their birth parents and family are and where they are located. I have tried to be understanding and have allowed limited, supervised contact w/ their family when conditions are appropriate, which is not very often. Our family is suffering because of their need to still be with their biological family. Somehow I always end up being the bad guy. Help!

Becky searching for her birth mother said...

I understand how you are feeling. Best of luck with your experiences!

Unknown said...

I searched for (& was successful in finding) my birth father back in '07. I had been looking online for a few years but nothing had turned up. I finally caught a break when I accidentally misspelled his name in a google search and, low and behold, there he was! I was 34 at the time. Anyways, I created http://www.findfamilyafar.com to help others who are in the same or similar circumstances. Please feel free to take a look. FFA is unique in that it creates a great "exposure" piece that is very useful for those persons (ie parents) that may be searching for you right now. Use of the site is totally free and there is no obligation. Hope this helps and perhaps will see you on http://www.findfamilyafar.com. Good luck!

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