Adoption experts say first-time meetings between adult adoptees and their birth parents are becoming more common among the more than five million American adults who were adopted as children. The popularity of online genetic services like Ancestry.com and 23andMe is a significant factor, along with social media and the trend toward open adoptions.
I hope the awareness of how important it is for adoptees to complete their story is becoming more popular around birth parents and adoptive parents. Adoptees should be given a chance to know where they came from, health history, and answers to their questions. Knowing your biologic path, negative or positive, is better than not knowing.
This past year, I have had three friends who have reached out to their birth families. I have watched a daughter encourage her father, who was adopted, to connect with a man that they believed to be his birth father. That encouragement took a year and ended with a reunion between father and son. I’ve witnessed a friend’s mother, who was adopted, find her biological family on Ancestry.com and was surprised to connect with four siblings who all act and look like her. I watched a video of a birth mother running to her daughter, in an airport, after thirty-eight years of waiting. This birth mother was never allowed to hold her baby after delivery. This adoptee was reunited with a large family and siblings.
It is essential to have guidelines to follow for a successful reunion. I loved reading Graham Shelby’s article When Adopted Children Want to Meet Their Birth Parents.
What stuck out to me the most were the call out to adoptive parents to support their adoptive children to find their biological families, not every reunion is what our heart desires, but adoptive parents must see this desire as a way to complete one’s story.
Mr. Pertman, the author of “Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families — and America,” said, “Be supportive. This is not a betrayal. This is a human being looking to complete the picture of his or her life.”
The reunions of joy and connection surround us on a daily basis, but many never become a reality, due to lack of support and permission. I encourage birth parents to keep an open mind. Reconsider the doubt you have to meet with your children that were placed for adoption. There is healing on both sides that is unmeasurable. Open your heart, let the secrets go, and open the lines of communication. Please reconsider, and allow a reunion that could complete your story and your child’s story.