Personal Notes on Adoption, Searching and Finding

I started searching for my birth mother before my 21st birthday. As I write this in 2017, it’s fifty years later. Two weeks ago I had a three-and-a-quarter-hour lunch with 15 new-to-me people, each a member of my genetic family, or one of their spouses. Three more have connected with me on Facebook, and I recognize last names of others commenting on my FB posts. There are more of them out there, too.

There’s no cookie-cutter formula for being an adopted child, for being an adult who was adopted. That’s also true for being a surrendering parent/family, or for being an adopting parent/family.

There’s also no cookie-cutter formula for searching. One of my “new” cousins was given up for adoption and found our shared family 24 years before I did. Those were the days before DNA when all she had to go on was grit, creative thinking, a contact script and a firm, if sweaty, grip on a telephone receiver. Later, she also found the son she’d surrendered for adoption. She and he, and his mother all maintain close ties.

There will be surprises for anyone whose quest is fulfilled. Don’t search unless you’re willing to discover anything, and everything. I was born the second of 11 children, which wasn’t anywhere on my “what do I expect to find?” list. I was once “found,” then dropped, by a woman who hoped I might be her husband’s sister who’d been given up for adoption at birth. Several friends found birth family from whom they had, sooner or later, to withdraw. Each of us has our own right way of navigating our lives.

Support and help along the way are vital tools if you’re searching. Along with DNA testing, a search angel can be priceless. You can find links to explore, including this one, on line.

MKJ, July 25, 2017, 7:45 PM