Tip Sheet Tuesday: To Search or Not to Search

Tip Sheet Tuesday: To Search or Not to SearchAdoption is often viewed as a triad that exists between the adoptee, adoptive family, and the birth family. But for many Wisconsin adoptees, this triad may not feel whole because of a lack of information about their birth family. To complete the picture, many adoptees choose to search for the missing information.

People can sometimes make an unfair assumption that the reason behind an
adoptee’s wish to search for information about her birth family stems from dissatisfaction with or a conflict within the adoptive family. However, for adoptees, there are several reasons why you might choose to search for information about your birth parents and other birth family members. Before beginning your search, it’s important to have a good understanding of your reasons for searching, realistic expectations, and a personal support system in place to help you through what can be an emotional journey.

“My parents told me early on that I was adopted and that someday I could search for my birth parents if I was interested . . . Finding my birth parents really helped me complete the picture of who I am. It was very useful to gather their medical history, but it was also very helpful to talk about [the reason my birth parents made an adoption plan].”
John Bauman, Wisconsin Adoptee

Reasons for Searching
Curiosity about your past. It’s quite common for all of us to feel curious about our own personal histories. For those who were adopted, there may be many unanswered questions about the past, and you may find that you feel driven to find those answers. Depending on the type of adoption (domestic, international, or adoption from the foster care system) these questions could include:

  • Why did my parents choose to make an adoption plan for me?
  • Why was I placed in foster care?
  • Did my parents fight to keep me?
  • Why were their parental rights terminated?
  • What was it like to live in my country of origin?
  • Do I have any birth siblings?
  • What about extended birth family?
  • Continue reading

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