Adoptions Together was founded in 1990, and therefore the infants we placed 20 years ago are becoming adults and thinking about searching for birth parents. Search and reunion are complicated, myth-ful, and can be fraught for everyone involved. At the Rudd Adoption Conference at UMASS in April, we heard a 75 year old birth father tell his story. While in college, he and his girlfriend became pregnant. They placed the baby for adoption and went their separate ways. When his birth son turned 50, he searched for and met his son. He had never told anyone in his current family about the adoption. Today, his family relationship includes his birth son, his son’s adoptive parents and his wife and son. He has been an engineer, professional, musician, community member and husband and father for many years of his adult life. When he was confronted with this long ago dilemma, he said: “All the feelings, emotions, fears and sadness of my 20 year old self came back as if I were being faced with the decision today. I was a confused kid again. And this story I had hidden for a long time caused a lot of disruption in my current family”.
As adoption professionals, we are usually focused on the wellbeing of the adoptee and the complexities of integrating the birth identity with the adoptive identity.
What are some of the ongoing challenges for biological parents as they meet the children they placed years ago? How can we support them as they face their long ago decision and their now-grown child?