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As I write this blog post, I’m mad…really mad. I got a phone call from an adoptee. This isn’t an adoptee that I know, it’s a complete stranger who reached out to me, knowing that I had been running an online reunion registry for many years. Her issue? Her adoptive parents refuse to tell her one single thing about her birth family!

This young woman was very upset. It was clear that finding her birth family was important to her. It was something that she wanted very badly. Her voice was filled with emotion, and it was obvious that she was crying. If the importance of this was so very clear to me, an absolute stranger, how could the parents that raised her turn their backs on her and refuse to help or support her?

I’m sorry, people, but I don’t and never will understand this mindset. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine refusing to help one of my kids with something as important to them as finding her birthfamily was to this adoptee.

It’s bad enough that government conspires against adoptees in most states, and refuses to let them find out who they are and where they come from. Even something as basic and critical as family medical history is denied adoptees. I have personally known several adoptees who died because they were unaware of a medical history that put them at risk. This is unacceptable!

In my mind, the final insult is the refusal of some parents to support their sons and daughters in their desire to find their families of origin. Not every adoptee wants to search, but many adoptees feel that this is of importance in their lives, and when this is the case, it is vital for adoptive parents to support their sons and daughters through this process.

This is NOT a post including a lovely tapping script, because the main person who needs to tap right now is ME!

“Even though it infuriates me that this young woman’s parents refuse to support her in her search…”

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Adoption search is a complex topic. There are so many things that can happen during or at the end of a search that it boggles the mind.

Adoptees in search of birth families seem to have the best track record. Since they have access to non-identifying information, they have an advantage over birth family members. Their adoptive parents may also have information, even identifying information, concerning their family of origin. All of this can be extremely helpful in a search.

At the end of an adoptee’s search, the situation can go in different ways. They can find a birthmother or other birthfamily member that welcomes them with open arms. This is the happy ending that most adoptees hope for. Unfortunately, adoptees can find that their birth family (usually their birthmother) wants nothing to do with them. This is most often due to the fact that the birthmom has never confided to anyone about the child that she gave up, and years down the road, after keeping the secret for decades, they are afraid to tell the truth. This is a sad situation, but is not uncommon. Adoptees can also find at the end of their search that their birthmother is deceased. There may still be siblings who welcome them, but not all birthmoms go on to have other children, or tell the children they have about “their secret”.

A birthmother searching is more complicated. Since they are usually not entitled to non-identifying information, they often have a lot less information to use when searching. Some states have birth indexes which help in searches, but access to a birth index depends on the state in which the child was born. Birthmoms often have to bite the bullet, and pay a professional searcher to find their child. The end of a birthmom search is more up in the air than an adoptee search. Birthmothers are rejected by adoptees far more often than adoptees are rejected by birthmoms. A complicating factor for birthmoms is that once they’ve found their child, the adoptive parents may feel threatened by them, and when this happens, it usually prevents any kind of a relationship from happening, sadly.

More and more often over the last few years, I’ve seen adoptive parents helping their kids to search. These kinds of searches have the best chance of a happy ending, since the searcher has the support of their parents in their search. I’ve seen a number of wonderful reunions that came about when adoptive parents helped their children to search. When everyone is involved, and adoptive family, birthfamily and adoptee all come together as an extended family, wonderful things happen.

The most important thing for any searcher to remember is that you never know what you’ll find at the end of your search, and you need to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality.

If you are currently searching, and are feeling stressed, why not try a little EFT to rid yourself of the stress?

Setup Statement:
Even though I am really scared about what I may find at the end of my search, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Reminder Phrases:
This fear, what will I find?, this fear, searching is scary, I choose to transform this fear, into an energy of healing, I choose to release negative feelings, and embrace positive feelings.

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Anger — we all feel it, but not many people find it acceptable. When we were children, most of us were encouraged not to show our anger, and we carried that habit over into adulthood. We get angry about all kinds of things, but we’ve learned over time how to “stuff those feelings down”. Maybe we smoke a cigarette, maybe we have a drink, or maybe we go around the block until we’ve walked it off, but we seldom let others see or know that we’re angry.

There is lots of anger in the adoption triad. We’ve got angry adoptees, angry birthmothers and angry adoptive parents. To each of us, our anger feel justified, and it may be.

Adoptees are often angry because they feel that they’ve been abandoned. In their minds, their birthmother saw them as an inconvenience, and it was far easier to let somebody else raise their child than to raise it themselves. Very seldom is this actually true, but lots of adoptees feel this way.

Other adoptees are angry that they have been, as they see it, victimized by the adoption community. The decision about where and how they would live their lives was made by others, and even as adults they’re not allowed to know about their families of origin. This is an anger that I feel is well justified, and I’d like to think that at some point the system will be reformed so that adult adoptees can always find out where they came from. Everyone deserves that right.

Birthmothers have their share of anger. Many are angry at their families and “the system” for forcing them to relinquish children that they didn’t want to give up. That anger is intensified by the fact that birthmoms are not expected to or encouraged to express grief over the loss of their child, but are instead told to “forget it and move on”.

Birthmothers have virtually no rights when it comes to getting non-identifying information so that they can find their children. That makes it mighty hard for a birthmom to search and find. This is still another reason (again, justified) for anger on the part of birthmoms.

Adoptive parents feel that they have plenty to be angry about, too. Many get angry at their children if they decide to search for their birthfamily. They feel betrayed, theatened, or just plain jealous, and therefore they are angry. Some are also angry at birth family members who have found their children. These parents harbor the feeling that once relinquishment papers are signed, a birth parent has given up any right to ever know the child.

So much anger, for so many reasons… Anger is usually an uncomfortable thing to deal with, and we end up with guilt on top of that anger. EFT is the most effective method that I’ve ever found for dealing with anger. Once you zero in on an incident that made you angry, and tap through 2 or 3 rounds, the anger is often totally gone, and you are left with a feeling of peace and calmness that is far more pleasant than anger.

Why not give EFT a try for your anger? Five minutes of tapping might just give you the relief that you’ve been hoping for.

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At some point in time for every adoptee or birthmother who chooses to search, this becomes the big question. Am I good enough? Do I have a good enough job, make enough money, have a successful enough career, and on and on. Whether you want to go to this place or not, you can’t help it — you’ll end up there sooner or later.

Adoptees think about their birthmoms and worry. If she went on to have other children, will she favor them? Will I be good enough? Will I be too fat, too thin, too tall, too short? What does she expect of me?

The fact is that for most birthmoms, they have no particular expectations. They just want to get to know YOU, no matter how you look, no matter what level your education, no matter what kind of job you have. It’s pretty hard to disappoint a birthmom when it comes to a found son or daughter.

Adoptees also think about birth siblings they may have. Will they accept me? Will they like me? Will I be able to be a real sister or brother? Birth siblings are a bit harder to predict. Many are thrilled to connect with a long lost sibling, but the reality is that there are some who are jealous, or who want nothing to do with you. This is a part f searching that you have to be ready for. Acceptance is wonderful, but not everyone has a happy ending.

Birthmoms worry in the same way that adoptees do. The truth is that they have more to worry about. I know far more birthmoms who were rejected by their found kids than I do adoptees who were rejected by their birthmoms. If, however, you are fortunate enough to be accepted by the child you find, they probably won’t have a lot of expectations to live up to. They’ll probably be glad just to get to know you, and maybe to have you in their life. Chances are they won’t give a darn about what kind of job you have, where you live, or what kind of clothes you wear.

Adoption search is always a crap shoot. I’m being honest here, because you never know what you’ll find at the end of the road. If, however, you don’t have the courage to take that road, you’ll never know whether or not you can have a happy ending.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

Being a birthmom myself, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I spent many years feeling that I did not have the right to search for my son.

When the social worker at the adoption agency told me that by signing the relinquishment papers I was giving up my right to ever have my son in my life again, I believed her. Emotionally, I tucked my son away in a corner of my mind, and only acknowledged him when he snuck out for birthdays, holidays or other special occasions. For me, and for many other birthmoms, searching was a non-issue.

What turned the tide for me was attending a conference of the American Adoption Congress. It was amazing. For the first time ever, I spoke with other birthmoms about my experience. I spoke with adoptees. I interacted in mixed groups, and came away from the conference a changed person.

Most of the other birthmoms encouraged me to search. They assured me that I DID have the right, now that my son was an adult.

The biggest difference for me, though, was what the adult adoptees had to say. To a person, their message was the same. SEARCH!!! You have the right! You have important information for your son. Your son may be hoping that you search. If I were your son, I’d want you to be searching for me.

The message was loud and clear. The past is the past. Today your son is an adult. You have much to share with him, and he has much to share with you. Don’t waste another day worrying about whether you have the right — get out there NOW and search!

My message to you is the same. You may have been told that you didn’t have the right either. If your son or daughter is grown, and your heart tells you to search, follow your heart, and you may find a happy ending one of these days.

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