Monday, April 13, 2009


My daughter Anna had her feelings hurt in school the other day, and it has resulted in some very open talks again about her adoption. One of her friends innocently asked her why her ‘real’ parents couldn’t keep her. Anna is very knowledgeable about China and orphans, of course, since I work for LWB, and so she answered the question in a very good way (in this mom’s opinion). She explained that China has a one-child policy and so she said that perhaps her parents already had a child, or perhaps they didn’t have a registration certificate to have a child that year. One little girl then said in a mean way, “or perhaps your parents just didn’t like you.”


So this week Anna and I have again been discussing her birthparents, and I have tried to reassure her that if they could see her now, they would be so taken with the beautiful, confident, amazing young lady she has become. At the end of our last talk, I told Anna how much I wished I could find them for her. I told her I would do anything to give her that missing part of her heart. And after she left the room, I asked myself, “WOULD I do anything?”

Many of you might have seen the Swedish documentary that profiled a couple who had searched and found their child’s birthparents. I will never forget how hard the birthfather was crying when he saw his daughter by videotape and told the story of why they abandoned her. Obviously in some cases, it IS possible to locate them. We’ve all heard the occasional rare story.

Why do you think more people aren’t actively searching? Do you feel that it is a decision that the child should make on their own when they are older, or is it something that an adoptive parent should attempt even if the child isn’t old enough to fully understand the ramifications? Now that domestic adoption is increasing so rapidly in China, do you think that more and more children there will start asking these same questions? I have to wonder if we will see private investigation firms that specialize in finding birthparents begin opening as more and more adoptees reach an age where they want to know their history. What do you think?



  1. This is a topic where my views have changed since we have adopted. Initially, we did not want any connection to a biological family due to the risk of losing our child. Now, as a mom to two who have no known biological background, I would do a lot to help them find some.

    My children may have a different opinion, so I do think parents need to respect what a child desires on the topic and consider how much to stress it based on the parents' view vs the child's view. The child's need for this information may change over time. Some children may never need it.

    I think the role parents should play is to be a repository of any available information... gathering the bits and pieces as often as opportunity presents them since the opportunity may never present itself again. Another parental role is to be open to a discussion and search should the child wish to do so. The final parental role will be to help the child integrate the found information, both good and bad, in whatever way best supports the child.

    I will let my children decide if they want to pursue these connections through whatever means become available. The idea of siblings is somehow less threatening to both the adoptive child and the adoptive parents, so I suspect strides in DNA testing and search services will go in this direction first. As with any adoption situation, the need for the information is a blend of the individual child and the openess of the adoptive curcumstances. I think the children more likely to need the search are those whose questions about adoption are not answered openly.

  2. I have two adopted children. One from Russia and one from Poland. We did pay someone to find our Russian daughter's birth family. They were very happy to know that she is happy and well cared for. My daughter was only interested in the pictures, but if she wants to know more later we have that information for her. My son's family made it very clear before his adoption that they wanted nothing to do with him so we will not be contacting them.