Does My Birth Mother Want Me To Find Her?
If you’re the product of a closed adoption, you’ve thought about finding your birth mom. And you’ve wondered whether she’d welcome the attempt or rebuff you.
Every adult adoptee (from a closed adoption) ponders the question, imagining what the reunion will be like.
- Does my birth mother want me to find her?
- Will she be proud of me and like who I am as a person?
- Will my birth mom be overcome by guilt at giving me up for adoption?
- Will she be willing to talk about why she gave me up for adoption?
- Will things be awkward with my biological mom when we meet?
- Will my biological mother ask me to never contact her again, or will she want a relationship with me?
Every adoption scenario is different. Every birth mother is different. This article will hopefully provide some perspective on your own adoption journey, and allow you to frame your search for your biological mom in a way that empowers you.
Does My Birth Mother Want Me To Find Her Quicklinks
Jenny's Story: She Thought of Me Every Day
Every adult adoptee struggles with the fear of rejection, Jenny explains.
It’s not easy to be rejected by anyone, but especially not by a biological parent.
Fortunately, Jenny’s biological mom, Peggy, welcomed a reunion and the two shared a close relationship.
Making Contact Through a Third Party
After a long search for her birth mother, Jenny identified Peggy as the almost-certain candidate. To alleviate the anxiety of the initial call, as well as her fears of rejection, Jenny had a close friend call Peggy, with Jenny listening on the line.
“I at least wanted to hear her voice,” Jenny explains.
They placed the call in February, 1998. “My mom answered.”
The friend asked Peggy if she remembered a specific date, which was Jenny’s birthdate.
“My mom gasped,” Jenny recalls. She knew she had found her birth mom.
She Didn’t Want to Know the Gender
Peggy was so distraught over the adoption placement that she had requested the doctors to fully anesthetize her for the birth. She also instructed them that she was not to be informed of the baby’s gender.
Now, Peggy was learning for the first time that she had a daughter.
The Secret Adoption
Peggy told Jenny’s friend that Jenny was a secret; nobody in her life knew that she had placed a child for adoption 30 years previously.
In the 1960s, the stigma of unwed motherhood was enough to compel Peggy to move away from her hometown and start a new life.
Peggy was nervous on the call, because her husband was due home from work at any time, and she did not want him to discover her secret…at least in this way.
Anxious to end the call, Peggy took Jenny’s phone number and promised she would call her daughter.
Peggy and Jenny Finally Connect
It took four agonizing days for Jenny to hear from Peggy.
“We had about a two-and-a-half hour conversation,” Jenny recalls. Both women were in tears for much of it.
“It was a really touching phone call.”
Toward the end of the call, Peggy confided that she had thought of Jenny (rather, the child, gender unknown, that she had placed for adoption) every day.
Peggy and Jenny went on to have a close relationship until Peggy’s death in 2016.
Most Likely, Your Birth Mother Wants You to Find Her
Like Peggy, a majority of mothers think constantly about the child they gave up for adoption and would welcome the chance to connect with her or him.
“I have never stopped searching”
On a Quora thread (“What was it like when you were reunited with the child you put up for adoption?“), Jessica Giles shares the experience of many biological moms who dream of connecting with their long-lost children:
Jessica explains that, like many birth mothers, she was not in a position to raise a child and had little choice in the matter of whether to place for adoption or not. Being “completely broken down as a person” is no condition to parent another human.
I have not yet been able to see my 17 year old yet but excited to know she called my parents to learn about me. I have never stopped searching. I got pregnant and married when I was 18. Long story short, it was an abusive situation and family services took her. I didn’t have a family and was homeless, not to mention completely broken down as a person. As much as it hurt to admit this, at the time, she deserved a chance in life that I couldn’t give her.
“All I could do was hope”
In the same Quora thread, another respondent shared how his friend, Mary, never gave up hoping for a reunion with the baby she gave up for adoption.
Mary’s Catholic parents forced her to a local Catholic institution to finish out her pregnancy, give birth, and give the baby up for adoption.
In Mary’s words, recounted by Don,
Every time we moved, I made sure to call the Catholic home, to tell them my new address and phone number, in case my daughter might want to reach me. I didn’t know anything about her, all I could do was hope.
Eventually, Mary’s daughter, Linda, did seek her out, and the two formed a relationship.
“I began counting down the years”
An anonymous respondent on the same Quora thread shared about the baby she gave up for adoption: “I never stopped thinking about him, and also struggled with the heartbreak and depression of the loss.”
From the day I surrendered him, I began counting down the years until I could try to see him again…I was expected to get on with my life and forget about him and though I became very successful in my career, I never married and never had any other children.
“Anonymous” was 14 years old when she became pregnant. Like Mary and Jessica, she felt that adoption was her only viable option.
She describes the joy of first connecting with her son via a phone call when he was in his 20s.
He was overwhelmed and seemed very happy to hear from me. I fell to my knees on my floor just to speak to him. It was the most emotional experience of my life. We talked for a few hours…
…and the experience of meeting him in person.
Finally, a few weeks later I drove to the city where my son lived – the same city I surrendered him in. He and his mom met me for dinner. I was so nervous and so was he. She was funny and warm and made it a little easier. The three of us spent the evening together getting to know one another. At the end of the evening, when I got out of the car in front of the hotel I was staying in, my son jumped out and hugged me. It was magic. I felt I had waited my whole life to hold him in my arms again. He was just over 7 pounds when I said good bye, he was a grown man when I held him again. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced or could accurately describe.
Anonymous describes how her relationship with her biological son continued to unfold.
Since then, we’ve just continued to grow our relationship…My son and I did some travelling together and spent more time getting to know each other and see how much alike we are – both ridiculously stubborn and opinionated, both loyal, both with a love of travel and cultures…A few years ago, he married a fantastic girl and we all welcomed their first baby into the world just after Christmas.
Jenny, Jessica, Mary, and Anonymous all had positive experiences connecting with their biological mothers. While their experiences are typical, not every closed adoption case has a happy ending.
Some Mothers Aren’t Open to Meeting The Child They Gave Up For Adoption
It’s possible that your birth parent won’t want a relationship with you. This happens in a minority of reunion cases, but it’s still an outcome to be prepared for in your search for your birth mom.
“I would bring back painful memories for her”
Rebecca Janssen, responding to the Quora thread “Has anyone been found by the child they gave up for adoption and wish the child did not find them?” responded from the perspective of the adopted child.
After making contact, Rebecca “received a letter from my birth mother,” who did not want contact with her.
She said she was happy that I had a good life but she had gone on to marry & have family. Her husband knew but her adult children didn’t. She didn’t want to explain it to them & would prefer not to have any contact. I replied that I understood & she had my details if she changed her mind. Almost 4 years on she has made no contact.
Though Rebecca’s biological mom did not want a relationship at the time of first contact, nor for the four succeeding years, there’s always a chance she could change her mind.
Rebecca notes that she did not regret reaching out to her birth mother, as she also “met an aunt & uncle plus cousin & her family. We are regularly in touch through letters, texts, and phone calls.”
About her birth mother, she concludes:
I’m not disappointed that I have no contact with my biological mother. I imagine that I would bring back painful memories for her. I am very glad that she did move on & have a family of her own.
Reasons Your Birth Mom May Not Welcome A Reunion
Here are some reasons your biological mother might not want to meet you or have you in her life:
- Your birth mom might be embarrassed about her circumstances and not want you to see her in a negative light
- Her unwanted pregnancy may have been the result of rape and she does not want to confront that experience—or anything that reminds her of it.
- A traumatic family history may have left your first mother feeling inadequate to deal with intense emotions, and avoiding meeting you may be easier on her than meeting you.
- She might be carrying terrible feelings of shame for giving you up, and may not be ready to face the feelings that a reunion might prompt.
- She may have had an unspeakably hard life and now she just wants to avoid anything from her past.
- Your biological mom might be one of the minority of mothers who have few or no maternal feelings. In short, she may have never given you a second thought and you might mean nothing to her.
- Your adoption may have been a secret your mom kept from her own parents or other biological family members. You appearing in her life would shatter her secret and disrupt her relationships.
- Like Rebecca’s birth mother, your biological mom may have adult children (your half-siblings) who are not aware you exist, and she may not want to tell them. Maybe she’s afraid of being judged by them. Maybe she’s afraid of losing their affection. Whatever her reasons, she sees you as a threat to her relationship with them and would prefer to keep you out of the picture.
- It’s possible your birth mother has done her own research and has found you online, and has formed negative opinions of you that cause her to not want to meet you.
- Your birth mom may be afraid of a confrontation with you. She may fear that you judge her for giving you up for adoption, and that you’re going to blame and shame her for her decision.
- Birth families may exert well-meaning pressure on a birth mother, telling her that she’s better off not opening Pandora’s Box, that she should not open old wounds, that she should let the past stay in the past, etc.
- If your biological father is in your first mom’s life, he may be applying pressure or influence on her to avoid meeting you; he could be doing this for selfish reasons, or because he genuinely feels it’s in her best interest to steer clear of a reunion.
A Trusted Third Party Can Sometimes Help
If you are on pins and needles about what your birth mom’s going to say or do, a trusted third party can contact her on your behalf to assess her willingness to meet you.
The third party could be a friend, a social worker, or a professional liason service.
A professional liaison service, such as Origins Genealogy, can provide the following benefits:
- Assess your birth mom’s willingness to meet you
- Show genetic proof of the parent-child relationship
- Reassure her of your good intentions.
Reaching Out to My Birth Mom: A Risk Worth Taking?
At this point, you’ve learned that more birth mothers welcome a reunion than reject it, but you still don’t know whether yours will accept or reject a meeting with you.
You don’t know if she’s going to want a relationship with you or not.
And guess what? You’ll never know until you reach out.
Is it worth the risk? If this is important to you, as it is to most adult adoptees from a closed adoption, then yes. It is absolutely worth the risk of rejection.
What You Stand to Gain
On the upside, you have a lot to gain from moving ahead and facing your fears of rejection.
You stand to gain—if things go well, as they did for Jenny and others—a relationship with the woman who gave you life.
You stand to gain answers to your many questions.
You stand to potentially gain relationships with undiscovered siblings and other family members.
What You Stand to Lose
Connecting to your biological mom has limited downside. The worst that can happen is that she rejects your overtures.
You’re exactly where you are now…only you have more knowledge. Instead of wondering whether she wants you in her life, you know for certain that she does not.
The rejection will sting, but it won’t kill you.
Just remind yourself that it’s more about her than it is about you.
Then move on with your life.
Origins Genealogy can help
If you’re searching for your biological mother, Origins can help. We use cutting-edge DNA matching alongside traditional sleuthing to reduce your search time.
Then, when you’ve found her, we can assist with the introduction.
Connecting With Other Biological Family
In addition to helping you reunite with your biological mom, Origins Genealogy can help you track down your birth father, make sense of your DNA test results, or find that half-sibling that you only recently learned you had.
If it involves hunting down your biological relatives and connecting you with them, Origins Genealogy can’t be beat!
To get started on your journey with Origins Genealogy, call 801-500-0900 today, or fill out the contact form on this page!