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The world of adoption is dynamic, as is every adoption relationship. Things are constantly changing, and the same can be said for your child's desire to search for her biological family. Perhaps this is a new desire, and as a parent, that can be painful, especially if it was unexpected. But it's important that you learn to cope with the negative emotions that may come with your child's search.
If your child is an adult already, remember that she told you of her desire to search out of respect and love for you. She doesn't need your permission to begin her search, but if she wants you aware and involved, she's probably looking for your support. At first, you may be hesitant to give your support. After all, it can hurt and you may feel that she should be content with her current family situation, as you're the one who raised and cared for her. But remember that this is not about you. It's actually all about your child's progression, discovery, and journey for a stable identity. And the origins of her adoption may be a part of that identity.
However, if your child is still a minor, you'll have to help her along the way. Just because your child is interested in searching, it doesn't mean you'll be replaced. Think of it as adding to your child's support system of those who love her. Everyone could use one more person on their side, right?
Once the search begins, the negative emotions might escalate and expand. You can always speak with your child about your feelings. Being open is best for everyone. Once your child knows how you feel, they'll be better able to understand your actions and reactions in this situation. If you still need to speak with someone about how you feel, don't hesitate to join a support group or visit with a counselor. Both options can help you better understand your own feelings and your child's motivations.
The search process may seem overwhelming, but instead of keeping the end goal in mind, try establishing small steps to reach that end goal. You and your child can work together to reach each step, which gets you one step closer to a possible reunion. Working together with your child can bring you closer together, with a deeper appreciation for the other person. It may be a foreign process to go through, but if you can go through it together, it can benefit both of you.
If the negative emotions come back during the search and reunion process, don't be afraid to take a break from the search. If your child wants to continue searching on her own, allow her to. She can scour the internet and social accounts trying to find the right person. Your break could be a few days to a few months. Get back to it when you're ready. It's not an easy process to have your child express interest in an adoption search, but it's essentially a right of passage for adoptees of all ages.
The best way to cope with your child's search is to get involved, remain positive, and be honest. Focus on the love you have for her and let that inspire what you say and how you act. Depending on your child's age, this can be a large developmental time for her. Make it a happy, positive, and healthy one.
Reuniting with your family members can be a difficult and arduous journey. For some, the search is simple, quick, and easy. For others, it is a process-a long process, at that... more
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If there isn't a support group that already meets in your area, create your own!
"Last Christmas, I began the search for my niece who was placed for adoption at birth. She was born in 1975. Although 36 years have passed, it took me only 90 minutes to locate her. I was at the hospital when she was born and my research showed me only one baby girl from that hospital was placed for adoption. To my delight, she started a search in 2001 on this site. I got her name, called a family member, and found her on Facebook. There she was, bigger than life. I was truly blessed. We have texted each other back and forth, and I am looking forword to meeting her in the near future." - Virginia
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.