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To Conduct a Birth Family Search, or Not…That Is the Question
Posted: 28 May 2010 05:31 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47

In this week’s blog, Stacy Clark ponders whether To Find the Birth Parents or Not, and comes to a tentative conclusion. We welcome you to share your thoughts about doing or not doing a search. And if anyone (birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent) has conducted, or been contacted through, a search, hearing your experiences would be invaluable to those considering doing a search now or in the future.

Posted: 03 June 2010 02:31 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  26

I’ve thought a lot about what we’ll do when our son gets curious about his birth family, and like you I’m hoping it will be sometime far down the road. Our orphanage gave us a “confidential report” with information that was not included on any other documents or legal forms; basically it was anything they knew about his birth parents and their situation. I’m glad to have it, but don’t relish the idea of conveying it to him any time soon. I will help him should he ever decide to pursue that avenue, but hopefully that will be a ways down the road. Great post!

Posted: 08 June 2010 06:32 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47

I searched and found my parents back in the mid 80’s.  Admittedly, it’s been a few years ago.  I never considered not searching.  In fact, having to wait until I was an adult to search made my childhood less than enjoyable.  I wanted to search.  It was very, very important to me.  I hated being a child.  Being a child meant being forbidden my own information, and I wanted that information more than anything in the world.  I would have traded anything for the opportunity to meet my family just once. 

Of course, by the time I became an adult, I had already discovered that, in fact, I had no legal right to know even as an adult.  By then, I had gathered some fairly good information.  I was resourceful, and the search was not long or difficult.  The most difficult aspect was listening to the admonitions of others.  ‘Oh, you don’t know what you’ll find.  What if she’s a low life?  You may think of yourself differently.’  Or ‘She didn’t want you then.  What makes you think she’ll want you now?’  I still don’t know if people who say things such as those are naive or evil spirited.  In either case, I paid them absolutely no heed.  I didn’t care if my mother was living on dirt floors drinking whiskey from sun up to sundown.  She was my mother, and I wanted to know who she was.  Period. 

I’m glad I searched.  It was a very positive experience.  Not everything about it was positive.  Nothing in life is ever completely positive.  As with anything, there have been ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for God, love, nor money.  I’m glad that when I run into a relative, I know they’re a relative.  I’m glad that I have a sense of where I belong in the sea of humanity.  I’m glad I have a family history to pass to my children and grandchildren.  I’m glad they are able to know their ethnicity and familiarize themselves with the struggles of their ancestors.  I’m glad that when they were growing up, I was able to say, “You’re acting just like your uncle xyz,” and actually mean it.  I’m glad they have that connection that I didn’t have.  No matter what, no one or nothing can ever take that away from me again.

Searching and finding was probably the very most important thing that I have done in my life, and not just for me, but for the generations after me as well.  I’m very glad I did it.

Posted: 08 June 2010 10:44 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  28

Speaking as an adoptive mother, I would say finding the birth parents is better sooner rather than later. I didn’t always feel this way, but now I do.

My husband and I originally planned to do an International Adoption. Mostly because we thought it was a less risky way to have a child at the end of the route, but also because we were uncomfortable with the concept of an Open Adoption. It was unfamiliar territory and the unfamiliar is always scary. But as we are US citizens living in Switzerland, it was virtually impossible because the laws between three different countries had too many conflicts to work. However, a US domestic adoption was a possibility.

After adopting our two children (who are biological half siblings), we quickly had our fears eased about the complexity of an open adoption. Is it complicated. Yes, it is. But that is far outweighed by the benefits. Our children will grow up always knowing who they are and where they came from. They are in contact with their extended birth family, including other half siblings. Because we live so far away, face to face contact is limited. But we are in contact through telephone calls, letters and Facebook. And when we are in the US, we always make an effort to visit their birth family. In the next few years we do plan to move back to the US and the contact will increase. It is not anywhere near as scary as we thought it would be.

Your child will grow up with questions. Questions you are simply unable to answer. If your child knows who their birth parents are, it will help to ease the anxiety they feel as they grow into adults. If your child does not know who their birth parents are, they may create a fantasy view. If you are concerned that they may become too bonded with their birth mother, consider this: can you compete with a fantasy?

And all teenagers experience an identity crisis. Every single one of them. It is just part of becoming an adult and separating from your parents so you can live independently. Being adopted can make that identity crisis more difficult to handle. Why wait? Ask yourself if your reason for waiting is for your comfort level instead of your child’s.

Posted: 08 June 2010 08:52 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  40

It’s great to hear your perspectives from three such different places. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Since this post, I have taken the first step toward a birthparent search by doing a Birth Parent Search Analysis. Still, there is some thinking to do about doing, or not doing, an actual search. While it’s easy to say my only concern is for what would best serve my daughter, it may be colored by my concerns, too. I’ll keep listening.