Loyalty, Guilt and the desire to know. I cannot tell you how many people have said the following words to me “I cannot search until my adoptive parents pass away”. The mindset is that Adoptees feel that if they show a desire to know their birth family, it sends a message to their adoptive parents that they aren’t enough. We need more than they gave us. . So many adoptees stay “Loyal” and wait to search. I am an adoptee and I do understand this mindset. Both of my parents have passed (I miss them every single day) but I admit that I searched on the sly for many years. I literally showed up on the steps of my adoption agency at the age of 17. I went to my adoption agency with my best friend Tina, and we were on a covert mission. However, my agency politely told me to come back when I was 18. Tina bought me a teddy bear from Lord and Taylor that day to mark the occasion. I cherished it and still do! I just couldn’t not help myself to refrain from searching. I needed to know my answers. I needed to find my birth mother. I felt a connection to her that would not leave my soul. I hid my feelings well.
So, does my need to search make me an ungrateful adoptee? Greedy? Uncaring to the family that loved and raised me?
I say NO it does not!!! And I will add that so many Adoptees start their search by saying ” OHHH, I had the best family ever”! It’s a knee jerk reaction to wanting to make sure that they are in fact grateful.
I will confess, I never let my adoptive parents know that I searched nonstop for many years. My Mom did NOT support my search but oddly, she absolutely loved that I helped to reunite others. My Mom feared that I would be hurt. She was right but I’d search all over again!
Adoptees search to find their origins. Their health backgrounds. They want to know who they look like and their story. Mostly, I think we have a burning desire to say “thank you” ” I am ok” to the women who gave us life.
We are all capable of loving many people. Can we not love our birth families and adoptive families, too? To love one is not to love another less. Although, I can imagine from the perspective of the adoptive parents how threatening and scary it must be to have another “parental” figure enter the life of their son/daughter?
In the end, I think we all deserve this gift of a lifetime. No guilt. You can find your birth family and then share the outcome with your Adoptive Family afterwards. And when you do, remind your Adoptive Parents that they will ALWAYS be your parents, and nothing will ever change that. Sometimes the unknown is a far greater threat and scarier than the actual outcome.
And for those of you who have found, and you feel it will crush your adoptive parents to know that you searched and found, it really is ok to keep this information to yourself. Again, this is your personal journey.
Lastly, if your parents helped and supported you through the search, you are very lucky. They have allowed you to be free of the guilt and the secrecy of searching. What a blessing.
Wishing you all a wonderful search, reunion, and longevity of newly formed relationships.