Adopted and curious: should you connect with biological parents?

Abandonment refers to parents’ decision of interrupting the physical and emotional connection with their minor child, which obviously involves the withdrawal of financial support as well. They practically give up on any parental obligations and responsibilities by willingly choosing not to raise their infant. The question on everyone’s lips when hearing about such a depressing situation is: how can a parent, especially a mother feeling the baby growing in her womb for nine months pretend that he never existed? The main reason for which parents choose to alienate from their child refers to the lack of emotional stability and financial security, which shortly means that they do not have the necessary means to help the child grow into a healthy and happy person so they prefer to find other people who can. Of course, there are many other reasons leading to such a negative outcome including postpartum depression, accidental or teenage pregnancies, substance abuse, denial, mental illness, abusive father, insecurity about the ability to be a good mother or no desire to be a mother in the near future.

The negative impact of parental abandonment on children

Regardless of the reason, some children eventually end up in a loving family willing to give them all the love in the world. In fact, they struggle to make every day a happy one by organizing impressive birthday parties, engage in entertaining outdoor activities and meet all the child’s needs. However, despite their best efforts, sometimes the child still feels the psychological effects of parental abandonment by feeling emotions and developing behaviors similar to those being neglected or abused. More specifically, some kids experience academic difficulties, interpersonal problems, anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation. On the other hand, those who grow up happily in a positive environment face the curiosity of seeing their biological parents and finding out the reasons behind the abandonment. The majority of people encourage this action because they believe that the child should not be left wondering and that his birth parents would want to reconnect as well. Other people express their concern for the safety of the child, especially if he was born under unfortunate conditions. Generally, adoptive parents let the child decide what to do.

Adoptive parents should support their child’s decision

The biggest challenge that adoptive parents face is explaining abandonment without hurting the feelings of the child and experiencing helplessness caused by his individual choice of contacting biological parents. They fear that their child might see or hear something that he would not like or that he would feel confused with two mothers and two fathers. However, all they can do in such a situation is provide their child with the needed support and encouragement during the searching process. In order to increase the chances of finding his birth parents, the child must have access to his adoption records that he can obtain from the adoption agency his parents used to bring him into their life. He will need to provide certain details including the location and date of his birth, his full name, ID number and current address, the full names and ID numbers of adoptive parents and anything else that might facilitate the search. If the adoptive parents know the full names of biological parents and decide to disclose them, the child can use a people search online tool to find their whereabouts, namely contact information, address history and social media records, among others.  

The moment of truth: children should not expect too much

The sad reality is that some birth parents do not want to reunite with their child, which can have a powerful impact on his emotional wellbeing. For this reason, adoptive parents should encourage the child to discuss with a specialist, most likely a psychologist who is capable of providing counseling and support throughout this bumpy journey. Dealing with rejection is very difficult so the person needs family and professional assistance in order to move on. Those who do have the opportunity to go to the next level, which refers to making the transition from staying in touch through long-distance means of communication to meeting face-to-face, preparing emotionally for that moment is vital in order to remain strong.

In this case, children tend to fantasize about their ideal version of biological parents, which represents a mistake because having certain expectations might result in disappointment if those people look, speak and act completely different than imagined. Furthermore, sometimes the child wants to share too much about his life and hear everything about theirs, especially taking into account the amount of time being separated that practically fueled the curiosity even more. Although such an attitude is more than understandable, it can also be overwhelming for both sides. Another mistake that should be avoided is making plans for the future. Just because the child reconnects with his birth parents, it does not mean that they intend to stay for too long.

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