Fearing The Search For Birth Parents

As an adoptive parent, you may fear the time when your child decides to seek out his birth parents. At the same time, it's natural to feel a bit of guilt for feeling this way. Between your fear and your guilt, you're left in a state of confused turmoil. The best way to get your head straight is to make a frank examination of the issues involved.

The first thing to realize is that about half of all adopted children don't tell their adoptive parents about the search until it's in progress or completed—they don't want to hurt you. The fact is that adoptive parents are likely to feel some resentment or jealousy in relation to the birth parents. After all, you did the hard part of raising your child and now some stranger's coming into the picture to reap all the love that you rightly deserve.

Negative Consequences

But there's no right or wrong way to feel. You may find you have negative feelings about the process even as you support your child's need to find his beginnings. Some adoptive parents will go so far as to launch the search themselves early on so as to prepare their child for any negative consequences to a future search.

On the other hand, most children never feel the need to search for their birth parents and for that matter, don't. But let's say your child is asking about his birth parents' medical histories—this would lend credence to the idea that your child only wants information, and not contact. Then again, some adoptive parents may be concerned that their child shows no interest in searching for his birth parents, as if he is denying his feelings about the issue. As a result, you may be concerned about his emotional health. Rest assured that either tack is fine. To search or not to search—it's all okay.

More Attractive?

But back to you—you might be concerned that once your child finds his "real" parents, he will abandon you in favor of them. You may also be concerned about the effect of such a meeting on your child's psyche. You worry that your child will be hurt by a rejection, or you worry that the birth parents will seem somehow more attractive to your child than you. In addition to these issues, the whole subject may dredge up all the painful feelings connected to the reasons you adopted your child in the first place. If you went through the heartache of infertility, facing those old feelings of inadequacy and lack of a child can come back as if it were just yesterday you faced all that down.

Shut Out

If your child's birth parents receive him with warmth and affection, you may feel shut out and hurt, but rest assured that the excitement dies down and things can and will normalize. Balance will be restored and things will get back to normal. The bottom line is that your child just wants to know the person responsible for his creation. He still knows that you're the real thing, the one who fed, sheltered, and educated him with warmth, even if there were some rocky times along the way. Trust in that.


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