Should Adoptees Try to Find Their Birth Parents?
Before open adoptions became the standard in the U.S., there were many more closed adoptions in which the adoptee had no contact with their biological parents. It’s common for adopted children who grew up in closed adoptions to be curious about who their birth parents are, but there are some things to keep in mind before attempting to find them.
How to Get Ready for the Experience
It’s helpful to decide ahead of time what your goal is and what you want from the experience. This can help you determine the financial and emotional resources that you’re comfortable expending. Depending on your end goal, the level of disruption that finding your birth parents could cause might not end up being worth it.
Also, make sure you understand your state’s adoption laws. A New Jersey adoption lawyer can help with this and could give you some good tips about where to start.
For adoptees who already have some information about who their biological parents are, it may be possible to reach out to them over social media. But it’s important to carefully think it through and decide whether or not that’s the best way to contact them before you rush into it. Consider the possibility that you won’t get the response you want or any response at all, and make sure you’re ready for that. While social media has helped many adoptees reunite with their birth parents, not every outcome is positive.
Where to Begin
If you want to locate your birth parents, be prepared for a variety of challenges. Many of these are emotional, but it can also come down to how hard it is to track down the necessary information. You might see if you can find the adoption records. While these aren’t always available for you to access, they’re a good place to start your search. Other great places to look include:
- DNA testing sites
- Adoption registries
- Social media
There are adoption records for each adoption that has happened in the U.S. From these records, it’s possible to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate. You can also find out the location of your birth as well as crucial information to help identify your birth parents. This includes their names, phone numbers, and addresses. Bear in mind, though, that their address and number may have changed in the years since your birth.
For closed adoptions in most parts of the United States, these records are sealed once the adoption has been finalized. You have to follow the state law where the adoption took place to unseal the records, which tends to be a difficult part of the process.
In the majority of states, adult adoptees can obtain non-identifying information about their birth parents if they put in a written request. While you won’t be able to find out how to contact them this way, you can still learn about their race, medical history, and reason for adoption, among other things.
Benefits of Finding Your Birth Parents
Some people learn important information from their birth parents’ medical history. It may point you in the direction of genetic diseases and other health conditions that your family is predisposed to. If you know what to look out for, it may help you spot warning signs in yourself or your children and can help you safeguard against these health risks.
Some adoptees find it helpful to learn why they were adopted. Some people feel like they need to understand their birth parents’ decision before they can come to emotional terms with who they are. Contacting your birth parents can give them a chance to tell you what happened and why in their own words whether the birth parents had their rights terminated or they gave up the adoptee willingly.
On the flip side, the birth parents may take comfort in the knowledge that their birth children are doing well. It may also be interesting to know what traits you share with others in your birth family such as family physical traits or behaviors.
Call Cofsky & Zeidman at (856) 429-5005 for a New Jersey adoption lawyer that you can count on. We have offices in Haddonfield, Woodbury, and, for our many Pennsylvania clients, Philadelphia.