should an Adopted child look for their Birth Parents

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  1. profile image53
    colpposted 13 years ago

    I was always aware from a very early age that I had been adopted at only 7 days old and it was arranged before I was born.  This may fly in the face of what everyone says but I always wished I NEVER knew, that I'd never been told... I grew up feeling different from everybody else and my adoptive parents may have over compensated for this....I wanted for nothing materially,educationally or emotionally, I do feel I would have been happier as a child and now an adult had I never known.
    However I have for a long time wondered about my birth parents...especially recently what with new mortgage, insurance questions re family health history etc,etc....The question I ask is it wise to look for birthparents...The Laws where I live would make it relatively easy for me to find out who they were or indeed are, at the time of the adoption it was closed I had no such right but the laws changed so now I can...the question is should I?
    Secondly should I tell my adoptive mother who spent everyday of my childhood telling me how much she loved me and that I was her special guy and all hers and no1 elses, that i'm considering looking for this woman?

    1. Lisa HW profile image63
      Lisa HWposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      colp, my eldest child (a grown son) is one I adopted from infancy.  The two younger ones are children I had myself.  I know what you mean about kind of wishing you never knew.  Boy, would I kind of have loved not having to tell my son and just letting him have that "birth story" and "extra issue" in his life, when his brother and sister didn't have that.  Of course, I knew not telling him would mean lying to him, and I've always loved him far too much to ever lie to him (not to mention the seriousness of that kind of lie).

      From my perspective, the only difference between him (and his relationship with me) and his siblings (and theirs) is the fact that there was "the matter of the birth story", but also that I always knew there was a good chance he's want to "look" once he grew up.

      I'm not pushing my writing about adoption, but I have Hubs and a blog on our own situation, and my own thoughts if you'd like to browse.    It's not awfully active or up-to-date, but there's a lot of the issues we ran into in writing on there.

      My thing, as his mother, has always been that I knew the adoption factor was a reality, and that I always wanted him to know that I'm a grown-up, and I'm secure in my role/relationship in his life.  What kind of mother wouldn't be prepared to "be there" if/when her child (even a grown one) has something s/he wants to do, or has questions, etc.

      Personally, but only from one person's opinion (of course), I think you should feel very comfortable to share any wish to look, or any information you find (etc.) with your mother.  If you feel like any meeting up you do with her is your own private thing, just explain that your mother.  If you don't, then share the experience with her.    My son didn't have a choice about being adopted, but I made the choice to adopt him.  When I signed on for that, I knew what I was signing on for.  When he was little (and even now) we don't make a big deal out of the fact that he's adopted.  It's kind of easy because he and his siblings just kind of take it for granted that they've always been 3 siblings and shared the same two parents.

      I won't go into his reunion story (it's somewhere in my writing; actually, there's a Hub about adoptees building a relationship with their birth mothers, and I guess there's something on the blog about it).   I didn't meet his birth mother, but I did meet a couple of the birth mother's other kids.  I was "there" with my son as he went through a couple of years of a process that involved him meeting the birth mother and family, hearing what people told him about his birth story, doing some socializing with any number of people; and eventually becoming disenchanted with them all (to say the least) and drifting away from them.

      I'm glad he was comfortable sharing the whole thing with me, because I really do think he needed me and the stability of our family when he was going through the process of having all these new people and a whole other world introduced into his life.

      My son didn't really want to search (or at least that's what he told me, and I'm not sure he wasn't "fibbing" just to spare my feelings); but he was kind of encouraged by someone working on behalf of his birth mother to "at least meet her".  From there, a whole can of worms got opened, but he got a whole lot information, and had names and faces that filled blanks he'd previously had regarding his beginnings.  At times he was happy to feel like a long-lost, absolutely welcomed, family member.   He was also, in ways, thrown for a loop for awhile.

      Threre's a line in Barry Manilow's song, "Somewhere Down the Road" in which he says something like, "Sometimes you have to go out on your own to find your way back home."  That line kind of applies to my son (although he never really went far from home or me, but you probably know what I mean when I say the line kind of applies.)

      As a mother (and I'm no different from most normal mothers who love their kids the way mothers do), I've always wanted my kids to know that whatever they're going through they can always count on me to try to be there in whatever way I can.

      Contrary to what a lot of adopted grown children think, and contrary to what a lot of people think, about adoptive mothers; there has never, ever, been a time since I brought my son home when I've been the least bit insecure about my relationship with him.  Like all mothers, I'm sure I've made my mistakes.  (To this day he still expresses his unhappiness over the fact that I gave him pull-over sweaters to wear to kindergarten.  roll)  One thing I've never doubted or been insecure about, though, is that relationship I have with him and my other two children.  It's exactly the same with all of them, and all three kids were so alike in so many ways because I aimed to "build the same kind of child" with each of those babies I brought home.

      Having had two babies myself (and lost one in the second trimester), I know first-hand that I didn't really know any of them unless/until I saw their faces.  That's when the bond began to really grow.  It was the same when I was handed my eldest son as an infant.  The bond grew.

      My son got a kick of seeing "the brothers and sisters" looking similar to him, and he got a kick out the fact that they wear glasses, as he does.   He expressed frustration, though, that the birth mother "expected more from him" than he said he could give. 

      Personally, I don't think very highly of my son's birth family; but because of my relationship with him, and the bond I have, I have a certain kind of "caring" about her, and compassion towards her, because a part of me has always taken it very seriously that I would "presume" to become the mother of a child another woman gave birth to. 

      I never wanted my son to think of me as "unpaid foster care" until he got old enough to find his "real" mother.  I'm confident that I am his "real" mother.  He's not the same person he would have been had he been raised in her family; but then again, he's different "genetically" from my other two kids.  I've always joked to all of them that having the two younger ones was a whole lot easier than adopting him.  It's also easier, as a mother, not to have to try to figure out how you'll present a child's birth story, when to share what information, and how to find ways to make him know he's "like all the other kids" even if he's missing some birth-story information.  My two younger kids don't have that "birth story" that involves a stranger.  There's nothing I need to explain about where they came from, and there's no family of strangers "out there somewhere" in their background.

      I would have so much loved just to spare my son all the questions and whatever else there may be that's associated with being adopted; but again, I love him to much to lie to him.  His birth story is the birth story of my child.  I wouldn't have wanted to be "knocked out" when I had the two younger childrens, and I wouldn't have wanted my son and me (or others in our family) to have that "blanked out" portion of his beginnings.

      His beginnings weren't pretty, but meeting the birth mother and seeing that she's challenged in a lot of ways made him see that she isn't a monster but also that she wasn't "some poor teenage girl forced to give up her child because she was young."  My son's birth mother is 3 years older than I am (and really - she's a piece of work; but it's not her fault).

      Different adoption:  My brother-in-law was also adopted.  He has never wanted to know or search, and he's resisted all pressure to get information about his medical history.  It isn't for everyone.    I think if you're not sure, maybe you're not quite ready.  Maybe when you're ready (whether that's next week or two years from now) you'll feel more certain.  Do what you need and want to do; and, if your mother is like most mothers who love their kids (adopted or otherwise), she wouldn't want you going through any searching or meeting without her support.  I think you should give your mother the chance to tell you how she feels, and trust that even if she's concerned about what you might discover (because she's concerned about you - not herself), most likely she wants you to do what you want and need to do.

      We mothers of adopted children don't always know we're doing the right thing.  The way I see it, there was this woman who had a baby and who is responsible for the fact that that baby was placed for adoption.  Once that adoption factor is in a child's life, there's no erasing it - and even lying about it wouldn't erase it.  It's reality.  How we find a way to be honest with a child but then find a way to try to "cushion" the fact that he knows we didn't give birth to him, the way other kids' mothers gave birth to them; is something I know I wasn't all that sure about.   It was easy for me to know I loved my son the same as  love I my other two kids, but what I was never all that positive about was that he'd take it for granted every bit as much as they did, how absolutely "the same" my relationship with them was.  I don't know whether my approach was right, and I suppose, even if  your mother "erred on the side of caution" a little too much, it was mostly out of her fear that you wouldn't be absolutely certain that she loved you the way every mother (at least every good one) loves her child.  Maybe it's ironic if her approach made you feel different; but I can tell you that to this day I'm still a big one for the "how special you are to me's" with all three of my grown kids.

      I don't know if all of this is any help to you at all.  As you can probably see, I not only worried about my own son's not being absolutely sure how he loved he is, but I worry that a lot of other adopted people don't know how much "the same" it feels (from a mother's standpoint) to love a child we had ourselves and to love one we didn't.  No matter how old my son is (now over 30) I will always be "the mother" and will always be there to do whatever mothers are supposed to do.  I was an adult when I signed on to adopt a child, and I knew what I may run into down the line.  I knew that was part of the deal. 

      My son was 21 when he met his birth family.  I don't think he was ready.  Even so, strangely enough, it was his meeting them that pushed that last "adoption front" out of the way and allowed us both to kind of forget about the fact that he's adopted.  It's no longer out there looming.  Now it's something he went through, processed, and put past him. 

      Good luck, whatever you choose to do.   smile

  2. b. Malin profile image68
    b. Malinposted 13 years ago

    We have a few adopted children in our extended family.  I think the fact that you are questioning what to do.  I'd say be honest with your adoptive mother, for she may feel threatened.  But I'm sure from a biological stand, it is important for you to know if there are any health issues that you need to be aware of and I'm she would agree.  I'll bet when you meet your "birth mother" you won't feel much, because giving birth doesn't automatically make her your mother.  But the mother in her made a wise right decision for "you" by giving you up.  She maybe married now with more children, it will open up lots of issues on both sides...some good...some not. In the end, maybe you need this to feel go for it...and good luck!

    1. profile image53
      colpposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the reply... I really don't know what to do, it's like there's always been this box in the corner of the room that I always knew was just there, I'd sometimes wonder what was in the box but wasn't inclined or able to open.  This box is now sitting on my desk every day and I now able to open it, but should I ?
      Everything is almost fine, is the missing piece of my jigsaw in this box or will opening it blow everything apart, what if I really don't like what or who I find there?   I'd still have to then acknowledge I came from that and I'm part of them, genetically the same! What if she turns out good and wants me to stay in her life? My mom would be devastated, she devoted her whole life to staying at home raising me and my natural born younger brother.
      Would she (my birth mother) want me to come into their lives, when she gave me up her anonymity was required/assured by law all records were sealed,but not now.
      Man this is so heavy, so many potential implications..I really, really wish I'd never known. Almost every part of me is screaming 'leave the box alone, put it in the basement, forget it... Just see what happens' and yet this little voice is whispering 'have a peek'.
      I got some serious thinking to do over the next few days/weeks as it all seems to be coming to a head

  3. Living Tranquil profile image55
    Living Tranquilposted 13 years ago

    I was adopted when I was 5 by two wonderful people and they are my parents. They raised me to become the women I am today. They were there when I was hurt, when I was broken hearted, and when I was happy. It's not who gave birth to you but the one who was there for you when you needed them and passed their values onto you to pass to you children. My parents were always very open and would answer whatever questions I asked about my past. They knew there was a chance as I got older that I might want to reunite with my birth parents but they also knew it would never change the fact that they are my parents.

    I can relate to the feelings you have.I remember watching people as they walked by me and I would sometimes ask myself "is that them and if it is would they would recognize me if they looked back at me?" I always felt this void and knew that the only way to fill it was to find closure one day on my terms and when I was ready.

    About six years ago I received a call from my birth mother. My heart dropped and every question I have ever wanted to ask for all those years started flying through my head and so did that resentment and anger and abandonment that I was feeling. I was very cautious and followed my senses.

    This was it, this was going to either be the beginning of a new chapter in my life or the last paragraph of the beginning chapter of my life. After a few months of brief converstations I was finally able to find my self and feel comfortable with who I was. I have been able to write the final paragraph in the beginning chapter of my life.

    You need to do what your heart tells you. Your mother loves you and no matter what you do she will always love you. She is your mother you can do no wrong in her eyes. She will understand if you need closure and in the end will be there to support you just like she always has been.

    Follow your instinct.

    1. profile image55
      krishna77posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      In some situation, it is better is you don't know the reality.  Now you are curious to know about your real parents.  But once you know that, there would be new problems in your life.  Your adoptive parents would also be concerned about this.  You may not be welcome in the life of your real parent.  So I feel that it would be better to remain as you are now. 

      Of course, there would be a curiosity to know about them.  But there will be no harm if you do not trace them.  After all, if they cared a little bit for you, they would have searched for you.

  4. LindaJM profile image82
    LindaJMposted 13 years ago

    Most birth parents regret agreeing to an adoption. The mother may have been pressured to agree by other family members. She may have been grieving all these years.

    I don't think it would hurt to make that contact. If you're not living with your adoptive mother you don't even need to tell her at this point. Why upset her? You're not going to feel differently about her anyhow... she's the one who raised you, the one you know and the one you love.

    If your birth mother or father doesn't want you in their lives, you'll know soon enough, but you may find she not only wants to know you, but you may have siblings you don't yet know about too.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck... and hope someday I get to read the rest of the story.

  5. A la carte profile image60
    A la carteposted 13 years ago

    I think that they should have the right to look. It might be inconvenient for the birth parents but tough...they conceived the child then left it so have little pity on them (there always exceoptions to this I know).

  6. Ivorwen profile image67
    Ivorwenposted 13 years ago

    My dad got the information needed to begin looking for his birth parents.  We located some half siblings pretty readily, from his dad's side.  His birth father, however, is dead.  We are still searching for information concerning his birth mother.

    I know, that to him, it meant a lot to find out where some of his skills and abilities came from, as he has much in common with his birth father.

  7. Mighty Mom profile image78
    Mighty Momposted 13 years ago

    I, too, was adopted. In those days the records were sealed and my adoptive parents were so grateful to get a baby they didn't ask any questions.
    There is no question who my REAL parents are (or were -- they're both deceased now). The beautiful couple who adopted me.

    Over the years people have asked why I didn't try to locate my birth parents. The answer was, I knew that doing so would be disruptive and painful to them.
    In the ensuing years, as obviously genetic health problems have arisen, I wished I had a family health history.

    I guess the best advice I can offer is to examine your motives. WHY do you want to connect with your birth mother? Are you prepared for rejection (a possible reaction)?
    Since your adoption was arranged, is it possible that your birth mother and your adoptive parents are aware of each other? Or no.

    Anyway. Sorry for rambling.
    BTW, not sure if it will actually help your decision, but I recently saw the movie "The Box" with Cameron Diaz....

  8. matherese profile image61
    mathereseposted 13 years ago

    Of course evryone needs to where their roots are!

  9. kazemaru2 profile image61
    kazemaru2posted 13 years ago

    They need to know about their culture but that doesn't give them the right to abandon their adoptive parents.


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