Whether you’ve worked with The Adoption Specialist, or have discovered your biological family with the use of DNA testing or other means, meeting and building a relationship with estranged family members can be an amazing and heartwarming experience, however it can also be an emotional and daunting prospect. Reservations are normal though and being nervous is nothing to worry about!
Being prepared is the key, and in this two-part blog we’ll talk about the common misconceptions around adoption and managing your expectations when it comes to a relationship moving forward.
Misconceptions About Adoption
With the rise in adoption related television programs we have been subject to an over simplified depiction by the media of the adoption process. Certain stereotypes and preconceptions about it have entered our culture.
When trying to connect with your biological family or child, it is prudent to be as open minded as you can and to maybe put your mind at ease by considering these misconceptions going forward:
Stereotypes about Birth Parents
- ‘Birth parents do not want to be contacted’
Regardless of the situation around an adoption, it’s more common that you may think for birth parents to carry a sense of guilt about the separated relationship with their child – hoping that one day they will be reunited. A large number of birth parents are actually actively searching themselves, and may well have been for a number of years.
There are also some birth parents who have their own concerns at the thought of a reunion, because of the impact it could have on their lives. Not everyone’s road to reunion is straightforward, but we encourage you to seek advice and help where you can, even if you are unsure of the birth parents perspective. It’s important to give your relatives time to come to terms with the idea and be ready when they do!
- ‘Birth parents are always anonymous to an adoptee’
This isn’t always the case. In some adoptions, the biological parents may well have stayed in contact with the adoptive parents and family – some receiving photographs and updates as the child grows up. Some adoptees may have even been told about their biological family when they came of age.
It is also possible as an adoptee that you have obtained copies of your adoption records, birth certificate and other documentation or you may have employed the services of a searcher or received information after a DNA test. You may however have a more limited selection of information, if any at all. Every search is different, not always easy and can take some time, but with expert help from The Adoption Specialist, it is possible to locate your biological family.
- ‘Birth parents do not love their adopted child’
Every situation and every person involved is different, but more often than not, this statement can be as hurtful as it is untrue.
The decision to carry and give birth to a child to then place them for adoption is one of the hardest decisions a parent can ever make. Sometimes, this decision was made at a time when the parent(s) situation was outside of their control. There are a number of reasons adoption can feel like the most appropriate decision; maybe they were very young, or felt that they could not provide a safe or financially stable environment to raise a child. Coming from a place of deep love and care for the child, adoption, at that time, may have felt like the best option for ensuring a better future for their child, this is not to say that those same feelings of love have been extinguished.
Stereotypes about Adoptees
- ‘Adoptees will always resent their biological parents’
Every adoption scenario is unique, and for many adoptees, the experience was a difficult one, which sometimes can inflict feelings of resentment towards their birth parents.
However this is definitely not always the case, it can in fact be that as an adult, the adoptee can better understand and appreciate the circumstances that their biological parent(s) were in at the time, and therefore have some level of sympathy with them. Some adoptees feel the need to gain answers to better understand the situation first, enabling them to make a decision about whether to later pursue a relationship.
Being open minded and willing to listen is always beneficial.
- ‘Adoption is always a traumatic experience for an adoptee’
By no means a simple process, adoption affects a wide range of social, psycho-emotional and developmental experiences for all involved, affecting each person differently over a number of years and in different ways, including trauma.
Feelings of abandonment, rejection and grief are very common for adoptees – as are contradictory feelings of gratefulness, contentment and loyalty to their adoptive families. A complex myriad of feelings and emotions are normal and must be understood in context to their own unique experience of adoption.
It’s all about doing what feels right and comfortable for you from the start to finish.
- ‘An adoptee is obligated to feel thankful to have been adopted’
In some cases an adoptee may well feel thankful – it depends on their individual circumstances around the adoption. But feeling thankful for their adoptive family and the life they have experienced but also being separated from their birth family in the first place, can cause a wide range of conflicting, powerful and confusing feelings. Be mindful of this during the reunion process!
Ultimately, searching for your biological family or child will be an emotional experience and should be one that you can take a level of comfort from – whether that is because you build new relationships, or simply obtain closure from and move on. It is also an experience that you do not have to embark on alone – The Adoption Specialist has many years of experience and success reuniting families with their lost loved ones. With our Intermediary Service we can also help you make the first steps to contacting and meeting your biological family or child. Contact us today on (562) 438 6589 or fill out our Search Form here to get started with your journey.
Read the second part of this blog – “Discovering your Biological Family – Managing Expectations” here, where we talk about points to consider when contacting, meeting and moving forward with your biological family.