Adoptees Devote Themselves To Finding Birth Parents

fbpEver since she could remember, Sarah knew she was adopted. She loved her parents very much and never felt different from other children in any way. If anyone ever asked her about it, she would simply say that her parents adopted her when she was a baby because her real parents couldn’t take care of her and wanted the best for her.

But eventually, Sarah found herself wondering about her biological parents, mainly at the prompting of an Epilepsy Counselor. She didn’t know who they were, where they lived, or why they had given her up for adoption. She wondered what they looked like, how much she looked like them, whether one of them shared her fondness for strawberries of her interest in art. She had thought asking her mom about it but felt afraid. She thought that maybe her mother would be angry or that her feelings would be hurt. Sarah didn’t know what to do.

A Time of Self-Discovery

What Sarah was feeling is pretty normal. Most adopted children become curious about their “roots” at some point in their growing up, usually during adolescence. Like Sarah, they fantasize about their biological parents–their looks, their personalities. They ask themselves a lot of questions: How are they like the parents they never met? Why were they given up? If they are having a hard time with their adoptive parents, it’s easy to imagine going to live with biological parents.

It also makes sense that a lot of these questions come up during adolescence. Adolescence is a time of self-discovery, a time for finding out who you are, how are you different from others, how your fast shapes your future. It is a time to feel sensitive about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s normal for many adopted children, who had felt good about themselves, to begin to wonder sometimes if they were given up because there was something wrong with them that they don’t know about.

Of course he wasn’t. Parents who give up their child for adoption don’t do it easily–or do it because there is anything wrong with the child. They do it because they are having a difficult time in their life; they feel that they cannot care for their child the way they would like. Adoption becomes a way of caring, of trying to give their child the best life they can.

Divided Loyalty

Sarah’s concern about her adoption parents’ feelings was normal too. She felt pulled. She wanted to find out about her biological parents, but she loved her adopted ones and didn’t want them to feel as if she was rejecting them.

Most parents realize that these questions are normal; they understand. But it’s also easy for them to have mixed feelings. Just as the teenager has fantasies about the “other” parents, so do the adoptive parents. They can become afraid that their child will like the biological parents better, that their child will feel frustrated or disappointed searching, or that their child will find out something about the past that will hurt. They may feel criticized, especially if everyone has been having a hard time lately. They may fear that their child will leave. These are powerful feelings that can make everyone tense and worried.

Finding Out

After talking to her adoptive parents, Sarah contacted the agency that had handled her adoption and was able to get information from their records. This become the starting point for first writing to her biological mother, then calling her. They finally met when her mother was driving through Sarah’s state during the summer and stopped for a visit. They now feel as if they are friends.

Some teenagers have a more difficult time than Sarah. There may be too little information to begin a search. Some parents, afraid to stir up their own past, do not want to be found, or are rejecting when they are. Many, like Sarah, find that their fantasy parents are not as rich or as good-looking as they imagined, or are surprised to find themselves feeling angry or disappointed and needing the support and comfort of their adoptive parents. Everyone’s story is different, and, like any exploration, it is filled with normal fears of the unknown, the wonders of discovery.

There are many times in our lives that we take trips into our past, to rediscover our roots, to heal feelings, to answer questions, to gain a new view of the future.

Getting Started

If you are interested in searching for your roots, here’s where to start:

* Talk to your adoptive parents. Let them know what you have been thinking, how you have been feeling about your biological parents. Once they realize why and how this is important to you, they will feel less threatened and be able to help. They can tell you where and when you were adopted and may be able to get information for you.

* Check the laws in your state. States differ regarding ages the adopted children can get information about their biological parents. Some states will only release information to the adoptive parents; other states will actually try to search for your biological parents for you. You can call your state Department of Social Services to get more complete information.

* Contact a national registry. There are national organizations like Adoption Liberty Movement Association (ALMA-(212)581-1568) that help connect biological parents and adopted children. There are fees, however, and age limits if you do not have parental permission.



2 Responses to “Adoptees Devote Themselves To Finding Birth Parents”
  1. Janel Gillon says:

    This is what happens in real life. Adopted children of course would want to meet their real parents. Anyone who wish to adopt a child should anticipate that this will happen in the future.

  2. Euna Sollars says:

    This is exactly the reason why my husband and I already decided not to adopt a child. We actually wanted to have one but when we think about him looking for his real parents after we have given everything and loved him as if he is our offspring, we think we cannot handle him having to find his real parents. We just feel that will be unbearable.

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