ADOPTION REUNION !
Ancestry.com; 23and me; AND ME !!!
Genealogical websites like ancestry.com and 23andme.com have transformed the Adoption world. Years ago, an adopted person wanting to access his or her original birth records and social history information, had to jump through many hoops, and even after doing so, there will still lots of barriers. Adoption Reunion was not even a possibility that adoptive or birth parents could conceive of in earlier times.
From the 1940’s through the 1980’s in North America [and in other parts of the world, too], typically governments formed even more layers of government institutions and administrivia to ‘help’ adult adoptees and named birth parents [this left out an awful lot of birth fathers who had never been named on birth certificates] access both non-identifying and sometimes identifying information. In many instances, the parties were able to put vetoes on their information being released and some governments instituted stiff fines and even jail time for contravening a veto. Talk about punitive!
Many self-help organizations were born to help adult adoptees and their birth families find each other, but the parties usually still had to go through the governments’ gates [often locked ones at that].
Ancestry.com and 23andme.com and other genealogical websites have dramatically changed the playing field and Adoption Reunion has become an important part of many adoption stories.
One of the most important ‘findings’ from these websites are the discovery of relatives one may never even have known existed. And Adoption Reunion or Finding My Birth Parents or Finding the Child I placed for Adoption years ago suddenly became accessible and relatively easy.
But [and it’s a big ‘but’], this new and unexpected information has shaken many to their core. There a men clearly identified by their DNA as fathers who never even knew they fathered a child! Women who kept their pregnancy a secret from everyone [even their parents and sibling] who have suddenly been ‘found’ by the child they placed for adoption. This new information is almost always overwhelming! It can be exciting; it can ‘suddenly’ answer so many questions a person may have felt about him or herself and perhaps not fitting in to the family who raised him or her. It can provide a sense of peace to birth parents who always wondered what happened to their child. It can also strike fear into the hearts of those who were promised absolute confidentiality. Remember, Open Adoption [fully identified adoption] is a relatively new phenomenon [since the late 1980’s] and many birth parents were told they would forget about the child. [P.S. they never did forget].
So…..YOU have suddenly received all this genealogical, DNA information about yourself. What to do? For many, it makes sense to consult with an Adoption Reunion specialist to: examine and work through the information; consider it and think about who and when you might contact ‘new’ relatives and perhaps even ask the Adoption Reunion counselor to make the initial, sensitive, discreet contact with your birth relative. And…..what about your parents? Your adoptive parents? When might you involve them? Your birth parents? An Adoption Reunion specialist can help you consider various scenarios. Perhaps your birth parent will be grateful to hear from you. Perhaps she or he never told her or his spouse and other children that you were born. How might you feel when you find out that an aunt is actually your birth mother? You may feel you have been lied to all your life by the people you thought were there to love and provide for you.
Adoption Reunion is fraught with so many things; so many considerations. At Milestones & Transitions, we would suggest that all persons have the right to know about their origins. We are here to work with you [and your families], walk the journey with you, offering support, wisdom from our experience and will act on your behalf to reach out to those you have found.
It really is a new world. We are experts in Adoption and Adoption Homestudies and we are here to support you if you wish. Contact us at: [email protected] or 416 486 1056 for a complimentary telephone or video consult. Through the advances in telecommunications, we can work with you no matter where you are!