Pros and Cons of Meeting Birth Parents: Know Before You Search
So, you want to find your birth mom, dad, or siblings?
Our co-founder, Jenny Wallentine, knows a thing or two about the emotions that come with locating your biological family, having met both her mother and father as an adult adoptee. If you’re interested in doing the same but are scared to take the first step, we’re here to help you.
Pros and Cons of Finding Birth Parents Quicklinks
Read on to learn about the most common benefits of finding your birth parents, as well as why some adult adoptees–a minority, but worth mentioning–may regret it.
Reasons to Meet Your Birth Parents
Meeting your birth parents may seem frightening, but there are many benefits of taking this step. Learning about the details of your adoption can help you with any emotional issues that may be rooted in your adoptee status. You may even get to meet an amazing sibling you never know of.
1. You May Get a Great Relationship With Your Biological Parents
Putting your baby up for adoption is not an easy choice to make, and your birth parents likely live with that difficult decision to this day. One of the benefits of finding your birth family is the possibility of having an amazing relationship with them. You’ll get to see what kind of people they are and, who knows, maybe you’re more alike than you thought.
2. You May Meet Siblings or Half-Siblings You Didn’t Know You Had
If the thought of having a half-sibling excites you, you’re in luck. A sibling bond is a strong one, even if you’ve spent your childhoods apart, and many adult adoptees report that finding their sibling was the best part of looking for their birth family.
The likelihood of your birth parents staying together after the adoption process is slim to none. However, your birth mother and father probably did end up re-marry and having children of their own, so you probably have at least one sibling you have yet to meet.
3. You’ll Have a Better Understanding of Your Medical History
Adoption agencies may be able to share some information about your family medical history with you. However, if you want an in-depth understanding of your medical history, finding your birth parents is probably your best option. You can ask them about hereditary issues such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and whether certain cancers run in the family.
4. You May Learn About Your Family History and Heritage
Many adoption families don’t have any information about the family history of the adoptee. Not knowing where you come from can be difficult to deal with, especially if you are of a different race or from a different country than your adoptive parents. Meeting your birth father or mother may help adopted kids learn about your heritage and get to know themselves better in the process.
Reasons Not to Meet Your Birth Parents
Although meeting your birth parents may be all you’ve ever dreamed of, you have to be prepared for the possibility of that not being the case. Choosing adoption could’ve been a difficult decision for your birth family, and seeing you may bring up old emotions. While this shouldn’t discourage you, it’s best to prepare yourself by going to adoption counseling or talking to a psychologist.
1. They Might Reject You
No one can guarantee that the search and reunion with your birth parents will be all rainbows and sunshine. In reality, many people who put up their children for adoption do so without telling people around them that they had an unplanned pregnancy. Some may even want to hide that fact from their families, which may lead to them not wanting to meet you or introduce you to your siblings.
2. You Might Feel Disappointment
If you want to find your birth parents, you should be prepared for all the overwhelming emotions you may experience. If you get your hopes up too much, you may be disappointed upon finding out the details around your adoption. Therefore, it’s best to go through the process with an open mind.
3. It May be Difficult for You to Create a Bond with Your Adoptive Family
Those with an idealized image of bonding with their birth family may be disheartened upon meeting their birth mother or father and realizing they don’t share a strong bond.
In truth, sometimes blood relations don’t lead to an emotional connection, no matter how much one wishes they did. Still, even if the connection is not instant, you can work on it by staying in contact and being honest with your birth parents.
Are You Interested in Meeting Your Biological Parents?
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of meeting your birth parents and still wish to do so, we are here to help you. At Origins Genealogy, our goal is to help you unite with your birth family, just as our co-founder Jenny and the many people we’ve helped have. Contact us for more information, and let’s start this journey together.
Genetic Genealogy Resources
Finding Birth Parents FAQ
With the rise of technology, the number of adult adoptees successfully locating their birth parents has risen. Adoptions statistics show that around 65% of adoptees wanted to find their biological family and that an overwhelming majority of parents that were located wanted to meet their child.
However, successfully locating your birth parents as an adult adoptee depends on many factors. For example, those who were in a closed adoption or were internationally adopted will find it much harder to track their birth family. Alternatively, if the birth parents and adoptive parents stayed in touch, or in case of domestic adoption, finding birth parents will be much easier.
Every adoption story is different, and there is no right answer when it comes to whether adoptees should meet their birth parents. However, a 2014 adoption home study reported that adult adoptees that seek out their biological family have higher levels of satisfaction. Still, you should choose to find your birth parents only if you’re sure that’s the right choice for you.
What you want to do once you find your birth parents is entirely up to you. Some choose to contact the birth mother or birth father right away, while others wait until they’re sure of their choice. A lot of adoptees find it easier to contact a family member via social media or a message rather than meeting face to face right away.
It’s much easier to find your birth parents if you were adopted through an open adoption process. Luckily, almost all adoptions have at least some level of openness nowadays. The history of adoption shows us that, although closed adoptions used to be the norm, open adoptions are becoming much more common.
If your birth parents went with an open type of adoption, then you will likely have a name or a birth certificate that will help you in your search. With a closed adoption, trying to locate your biological family will be much harder.
Disrupting an adoption means that the adoption process is legally terminated at a certain point. This may occur in case of a miscarriage, a change of heart, or an unexpected problem with the adoptive family. If you want to learn more about adoption disruption and other adoption definitions, check out our handy adoption terms glossary.
Yes, birth parents can have a say in choosing an adoptive family. For one, they can choose a private adoption. In that case, the birth parents get to choose an adoptive family on their own, without the help of an adoption agency.
Alternatively, an agency may have birth parents look at the family profiles of waiting families. Birth parents can suggest an adoptive family profile they like, and the agency will take their wishes into consideration.
Teen pregnancy, money troubles, lack of proper living conditions — there are a lot of reasons one might consider adoption. Still, even if you know it’s the best option, choosing an adoption isn’t easy. Even once you come to an adoption decision, you may not know what to do next.
First of all, consider whether you want to maintain a relationship with the adoptive parents and the child in the future. If you do, open adoption may be the best choice for you. Get familiar with adoption paperwork and the basics of adoption law. If you can, talk to adoption attorneys, as they will be able to help you learn more about your choices.
Lastly, choose between a local and a national adoption agency. Local adoption is a great choice if you wish to stay close to your child as it grows up. However, if you live in an impoverished area and want a better future for your kid, a national agency is the way to go.
The term temporary adoption is technically a misnomer, as every adoption is final once the adoption papers are signed. However, the term is often used to describe the time a child spends with foster parents before they get adopted.
In foster care adoption, a foster parent is required to care for the child for some time before the adoption process begins. The period before the foster adoption becomes permanent could be considered a temporary adoption.