Deciding to search for your birth parent(s) or birth child can be a big decision. If you are feeling overwhelmed at all of the “what ifs” of a search, you are not alone. It is important to take some time before jumping into this process to make sure you are prepared. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, and there is no right or wrong way to feel or react each step of the way.
Here are a few questions to think through before starting a search to help you be more prepared.
Who Is Supporting You During This Process?
We encourage anyone who is considering a search to talk about this with trusted family members or friends. It is important to have others who are aware and supportive of a search before, during, and after the process. You will likely have a variety of thoughts, feelings, and reactions at each stage of the search, and it is helpful to talk through these with someone you trust.
Our Post Adoption Department is here to help support you along the way, but we should not be your only support. Your family and friends know you well and can help provide support in ways that we can’t. We also highly recommend finding an adoption competent therapist to walk with you in this process.
You will likely have a variety of thoughts, feelings, and reactions at each stage of the search, and it is helpful to talk through these with someone you trust.
What Are Your Expectations?
What kind of information or relationship do you hope to get from a search? What are your expectations for the process (steps, length, outcome, etc.)? How will you react if a search does not have the result you hope for? Have you discussed your reasons for wanting to start a search with your family members or friends?
It is important to know what you expect the process to look like and make note of the possible areas that might not go as planned. Every search is different, so even if you know someone who has gone through this process before, your situation will likely be different. One of the most difficult parts of a search is when things don’t go the way you planned. Talking with others about what you expect from this process and your hopes for a possible relationship with your birth parent(s) or birth child can help you identify areas you may need to adjust your expectations. This will also keep those close to you in the loop so they can support you along the way.
How Will You Feel Throughout This Process?
For many people, a search can bring up a wide array of emotions and reactions. Most people experience emotions such as fear, worry, obsession, anger, guilt, or excitement during the process. These emotions can change quickly no matter how prepared you feel before starting a search. It is normal to have a mix of feelings along the way. No matter what your feelings are, share them with our Post Adoption Department throughout the search process. It is helpful for us to know how you feel in order to best support you.
Most people experience emotions such as fear, worry, obsession, anger, guilt, or excitement during the process. These emotions can change quickly no matter how prepared you feel before starting a search.
Are You Prepared for Any Outcome?
How might you feel if there is a response sooner than you expected? What happens if the other party is not open to contact? If there is no response from the search, what will your next steps be? How would you feel if you get to that point?
At the start of a search, no one knows how the process will go or what the result will be. While some searches are quick and end in a reunion between birth parent(s) and birth child, others may take many months or even years with no response. There is no guarantee that the party you are searching for will respond or be open to contact. You need to think through each of these options and be prepared for any outcome.
- You have the right to request contact from another party of the adoption, but they also have the right to refuse contact or choose not to respond. Be respectful of the other party’s decision in this process.
- While you may have been thinking about searching for another party for months, or even years, the other party may be surprised by this request. Allow them time to think through how they want to proceed. You may not be aware of their thoughts and feelings during this process, so being patient during a search is key.
- Be honest with yourself, your support system, and our Post Adoption Department throughout the search. It is ok to have mixed feelings about the process. We want to support you the best we can, so it is important for us to know what you are thinking and feeling along the way.
If you are thinking about starting a search, contact us to learn more about the process.