Posted on August 3, 2016 by Kim Laube
Lutheran Family Service offers post adoption services to adult adoptees and biological relatives of adopted persons that includes the possibility of reuniting. There can be many considerations to take into account before pursuing a reunion.
For many adopted persons, having the opportunity to get to know their biological family is something they have thought about for many years. Some have an intense curiosity to learn more about their beginning stories, their biological parent’s decision to place them for adoption, and to simply learn if there if someone else in this world that looks like them. For many, they simply want a chance to thank their biological parent for giving them life and placing them with a loving family. Of course, learning updated information about their biological family’s medical histories is also an enormous benefit to an adopted person.
Adopted people sometimes feel guilty about having the desire to contact their biological family because they do not want to disappoint or hurt their adoptive parents. They grapple with the choice to search or to suppress their own curiosity. Though each individual will understand their own family dynamic best, in many cases, discussing and including adoptive parents in the process of determining if search and reunion are right for you, can be helpful. Ultimately, it is up to the adult adoptee to determine their own path, but including adoptive parents can be helpful so it does not come as a surprise to them later and it also reinforces the idea that the adoptive parents are a huge part of the adoptee’s lives and their advice is still desired and relevant. Many will learn that any hesitation on the part of the adoptive parent is simply about your emotional safety. They don’t know what to expect any more than you do, and the unknown is always what scares us most.
One risk that is taken in initiating a search is not knowing how their biological parent might react. What if they refuse to have any contact with me even as an adult? Can I accept that kind of rejection? This can be a huge obstacle for an adoptee who may already feel a sense of rejection from having been placed for adoption. In my experience this is the most common reason I see holding clients back from conducting a search.
One of the most common themes I hear from birth parents is that they had no idea they had the right to attempt to contact the child they relinquished for adoption. They either feel legally they had no process available to them, or they felt they gave up every “right” when they placed the baby for adoption and any attempt to contact them would be intrusive and could disrupt the life of their child.
Birth parents who initiate contact with their biological children are taking a risk as well. Will my child hate me for having placed them with adoptive parents? Does my child even know they are adopted? Will my child want to have a relationship with me?
Some birth parents have never shared with their husbands, other children, or extended families that they once had a child they relinquished for adoption. So, they feel somewhat lost and alone in their desire to learn more about the child.
Lutheran Family Service is dedicated to assisting our clients determine if it is right for them to search or potentially reunite with a biological family member. Calling to explore the idea does not commit you to following through. We are happy to discuss how we might help you!
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