(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.