Something deep inside of each us wants to explore our life story. We sit at the feet of our grandparents to hear stories about our family history. Many research through endless records to find out their ancestry. But what if you were adopted and didn’t know who your family was?
Not every adopted child has the opportunity to know much if anything about their biological family. They might have been adopted from an orphanage that has no information about their family. Or, their adoptive family might have decided to not pass on their biological family information.
In years past, the common school of thought was that it was best for everyone for the adopted child to cut ties with their biological family. State laws commonly close adoption records until a child is 18. If the adoptive family chooses to not stay in touch with the biological family, finding them years later can prove to be very difficult.
Here in the U.S. adoptees many times struggle getting access to information about their birth parents or family. If they are able to get information, they can spend years tracking down someone from their biological family.
Our son’s records are closed
As many of you know, we adopted our son from foster care. He was placed with us when he was eight-months-old. He turned two-years-old just a few weeks after we adopted him. By state law his adoption records are closed. His birth family can’t access them. In fact they didn’t know for sure that we adopted him. Our son can’t access them until he turns 18. If he will know anything about his birth parents and extended family before he is 18, he will have to learn that from us.
We got to know different members of his biological family during the first several months of his placement in our home. After we adopted our son, we were open to keeping in touch with his biological family. That was over two years ago, and even though I think they still live in our area, we have not remained in contact.
As we approach another holiday season, my thoughts turn back to the idea of reconnecting with his biological family. Danielle and I are open to sending our son’s biological family updates at least once a year that includes pictures and a letter with milestones reached, activities and interests.
What is the purpose?
First, our son probably will want to know his life history. Yes, we are a part of his story, but he will want to know where he came from. We want him to know his story. Staying in touch with his birth family can help us answer his questions when he asks.
Second, I expect that eventually one day our son will want to know who his biological family is. We want to save him the hassle of searching for them by keeping in touch with them.
Don’t want fear to drive our decisions.
Fear of hurting our son. Fear of him rejecting us. Fear of complicating life. I guess any or all those could happen and more, but I don’t want the fear of what might go wrong drive our decision to stay in touch with his biological family.
I pray for wisdom and insight as we move in that direction. Maybe this year we can set up a way to send his birth family pictures and an update. I imagine that they would like to know that he is loved, smart, good-looking, funny…the list goes on.
What we do today really can make the future potential reconciliation go so much smoother. Besides, he should know his own life story.