Adoptive Parents & Birthfamily Search
Adoptive parents are often conflicted about their children's desire to search for birthparents and/or birthfamily members. Understanding possible insecurities that can lead you to feel threatened or angry is a first step, and understanding why adoptees search and the separateness of that quest from the adoptive family environment is another step. Even if you feel uncomfortable with your child, as an adoptive parent, searching for their biological family, it's still important to offer your support. After all, they are your child and you love them. You have every right to voice your opinion of the search, but depending on your child's age, they get to make the final decision. However, if your child is young, it may be best to wait until the child is older before beginning a search, which can be difficult for a young child to understand. Explain your decision with kindness and love.
If you're an adoptee, you may feel this drive to search for your biological parents. This doesn't necessarily mean that you want to replace your adoptive parents with your biological parents. It doesn't mean you don't love your family. It simply means that you're looking to understand your past. It means you can feel missing connections in your soul. This doesn't or shouldn't downplay the feelings you feel for your adoptive family. Instead, think of it as augmenting all your connections. You can have different families and still love all of them. Or, perhaps you're searching or wanting to search because of health concerns, and you're hoping to get a full medical history. These are all good reasons to search for your biological family and connections.
Be aware that searching for your biological family may cause some pain or confusion with your adoptive family. Do your best to explain your reasoning. Help them understand where you're coming from and then ask for their support. Remind them that you're not trying to replace them.
No matter if you're the parent or the adoptee, a birth family search is almost like a rite of passage. It's a part of the adoption experience and healing process.
Below are some great resources to review if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Advice to a Heartbroken Adoptive Parent
- Courageous Blessing, by Carol Demuth
written for adoptive parents
An adoptive mom feels abandoned after the reunion of her child and birthparents. Here's some sensitive advice from author Carol Bird.
Our Daughter's Russian Family
Parents of international adoptees are often able to locate and develop a relationship with their children's birth families. One parent describes her quest, the reasons behind it, and how she feels it will help her daughter.
Why Adoptees Search
Adoptees search for birth parents and other birth family members for a myriad of reasons at different times. These articles offer some insight into the reasons why.