Sunday, September 21, 2008

Should you search?


Adoptive Families Magazine has two articles on-line about birth parent searches in international adoption

In Searching Questions by Skila Brown, the new trend in openness in international adoption is examined:

It's the same old story. Told time and time again. Parents often choose to adopt internationally because of a desire for distance between the birth family and their own. And then the child comes home. And they find themselves desperately seeking the people of whom they were once afraid.

Having an open adoption is one thing. But trying to open one that was originally slosed is another. Add in differences in languages and customs across international
borders, and the situation becomes extraordinarily complex. And yet, growing numbers of U.S. families are making contact with their children's birth families.

In Searching for Birth Parents by Carrie Howard, she cautions:

The decision to search for birth family should not be made lightly. Often family
members, including spouses, question an adoptive parent’s desire to search. A
search may be difficult or unsuccessful, and a successful search may uncover
painful information. . . .

Initiating contact with the birthparents of a minor is also somewhat controversial. Many adult adoptees feel that initiating contact with birthparents is the child’s prerogative, not their parents’ decision. They note that the decision to search, and the searching itself, can be important to a child’s quest for identity. . . . “Not every
adoptee wants to search.”

At the same time, parents must consider that the window for a search may be open for only a short while. “The risk in not searching is that the trail will be cold when the child has a need to know one or two decades later,” says [an adoptive mom who searched]. “Dire poverty leads to transience. Both of my daughters’ birthmothers have moved several times in the last decade.”
So what do you think? Would you search if circumstances suggested some likelihood of success? What should be considered before making the decision? Would you hold off until your child is an adult and can make the decision himself or herself? What would you do if you thought it possible to find information for one sibling but not for another?

9 comments:

Wendy said...

I would and am trying. I did not come to the decision lightly and have read all I can find about adult adoptees in their searches. Yes, many say it is for the child to search, but many more wish they had more to go on. This is the reason I am not sure if I would reveal what I know to M. I may change her story if I knew truths and I may reveal some of what I have found for her own self-worth and identity, but I absolutely feel it is her decision to want to meet or see them, not mine. That does not mean she will not want the information in the future or that she would have to do anything with it if she had it. Again, her call. I want the info there though and the only way (imo) is to find them now, China is changing rapidly and once small towns/villages are becoming cities. Good luck when 10,000 becomes 100,000 or 100,000 becomes 1,000,000 people. Just my take.

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

Wendy - Is there anything in particular you are doing to try to search? I wasn't sure if the task is impossible without physically being in China. And even then, as Malinda pointed out, the records are limited....

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

PS I'll have to say that I have felt a bit hopeful when I think about it because my child was abandoned in a smaller town AND had a very large obvious birthmark. I thought if I "were" able to figure out how to get the word out, perhaps someone who saw her back then would come forward. Maybe just wishful thinking, but I'd be so thrilled just to have the info for her should she ask.

Wendy said...

So far I have done all I can from the States and I did get more info from the SWI; however, I am in the process of trying to get the original police report. Currently I am waiting/hoping that three people (first I only found one and now two more) in my daughter's finding city will help me with the search by putting out flyers, going to the hospital, and contacting a newpaper. My next step also has to be to go there and I just think if I can get there to search I may find something. Her area is not small, but not so massive that one could be anonymous. Also, M has limb difference on both hands and both feet so I am hoping that will help identify her too--it should and it is a rare genetic disorder so that should also help to narrow the search.

Each day goes by I feel like I just need to get there before too much time passes. We had a family trip planned for next year, but I am thinking I may postpone that and make a trip on my own (or please come Malinda) to get some answers--I am hoping.

malinda said...

Wendy, You make a really good point about the difference between "search" and "reunion." Having the additional information or contact info doesn't mean we establish personal contact before our kids reach the age where they can make the decision.

Anonymous said...

I've certainly thought about it. I know the date that my daughter was born and the day she was found, where she was found, with the added bonus that she has a cleft lip and palate. I've wondered if I put an ad in a local paper there with that information, what would come forward. I'm convinced that lots of people would come forward hoping to get some money from me. And I'm sure it would not be allowed to put an ad like that in the paper in the first place. But I certainly know that my daughter was the only child abandoned at her orphanage on that day, and her cleft makes her unique.

Wendy said...

You can put an ad in the paper; we looking into that route ourselves. I don't think you would get too many people looking for money as that does not seem to have been the case with other searchers. It is probably in what you are seeking and what you are offering if anything.

zoe'sfriendsyd said...

Anonymous...You prob already know this but if push came to shove and you had willing participants perhaps they'd do a DNA. A simple cheek swab, and nowadays you can mail it in!

Beverly said...

I would search if I could afford it and hold information until G was ready for it. I have to let G be the guide here.