I was fortunate to experience two very positive adoption reunions.
Once I decided to search, I found my birth mother’s family in only a few months. Then 26 years later, with the help of DNA testing, I had another adoption reunion with my birth father’s family.
Having thought about this for decades, I have some opinions to share. You may or may not agree with me. But that’s OK.
Not Everyone Needs to Search
I know many adoptees who decided to search for their birth parents. I also know several who have absolutely no interest in searching.
Deciding to search—or not—is an intensely personal decision. No one should feel pressured into searching. I created this web site to help those who have already made the decision to search.
Adoptive Families are Real Families Too
When people ask me about my “real” parents, I set them straight. To me, the people who adopted me and raised me to adulthood are just as real as my biological parents. The aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who loved and accepted me along the way are also quite real.
I look at it this way: While most people have only two branches in their family tree, I am lucky enough to have four.
Adoption Search is for Adults
Nothing should interfere with a child’s bonding to his adoptive parents. In my opinion adoptees should not undertake a search until they are at least 18 years old. Likewise, birth parents who want to search for a child they gave up should wait until that child is an adult.
Adoptees Have Rights
In my opinion, all adult adoptees should be allowed to see the information in their adoption file. Some will argue that this conflicts with the birth mother’s right to privacy. But I think that 18 to 21 years of privacy is sufficient.
After that much time has passed, a birth parent should be mature enough to have a private adoption reunion with an adoptee seeking answers.
Records Can Be Wrong
There is little reason to doubt the stated identities of birth mother and child in adoption records. But any birth father named in the file is simply the accepted word of the birth mother. As I found out, birth mothers can be mistaken or may actually lie about the father.
To remove all doubt, read my Adoption Search story to see how I used DNA testing to arrive at the truth.
Discretion is Important
Whichever party is searching for the other should use extreme care when finally making contact. You have to recognize that your inquiry will be unexpected and possibly unwanted.
I used an experienced intermediary in my first adoption reunion and I recommend it. Also, if the person you’re contacting does not want others to know the purpose of your inquiry, you should honor that request.
Relationships Are Not Guaranteed
I was too late to meet either of my birth parents while they were still alive. But I was fortunate to find two families who welcomed me with open arms. In addition to my adoptive families, I now have two brothers, a sister, and many cousins in my biological families.
Many adoption reunions work out just as well as mine did. But it doesn’t always happen. If the person you find is not interested in an ongoing relationship, consider yourself lucky to get some important answers about your background.
Read About My Search and Reunion Experience
I have written a book that tells my whole story with all the highs and lows. In it, I describe each of my birth family reunions in considerable detail.
Whether you’re searching for your own roots or just craving a darn good read, this is a book you will likely devour in one sitting…and wholeheartedly recommend to others.
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA