While it makes sense to have the family’s current address and you should certainly verify with searchers that you will receive this information as part of the search fee, there are several reasons why the address isn't as important as you may think in being able to maintain contact with your family. Here are some that come to mind:
After adopting my daughter in 2003, I had this vague fantasy that in a couple of years I’d get a call from the orphanage telling me that her birth mom, M., had placed a second child for adoption and asking me if I was interested. In my fantasy, of course I said yes and my daughter grew up with a sibling who not only looked like her, but shared her genes and Guatemalan family.
Have you received pictures of your child’s birth family where everyone looks like they are scowling, angry or terribly unhappy? Do you then think maybe your contact is unwelcome or you are bothering them in some way?
After a successful search, many adoptive parents turn their thoughts to an in-person meeting with the birth family. But along with excitement these thoughts can be accompanied by stress and anxiety. Planning an international trip alone can be stressful. Throw in the realization of what this meeting could mean in your child’s life and it can become overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be with the right planning and support.
s part of the mission of Familias de Corazon, we provide adoptive families the opportunity to provide gift baskets to birth families three times per year. Two visits during the year based on birth family location and one at Christmas. During a recent visit to Guatemala, I chatted with Fide about the deliveries of this year’s Christmas baskets. I found her observations on the reactions of birth families to the gift baskets fascinating and wanted to share what she told me here.
One of the most common concerns I hear from adoptive families, both before and after searching, is how to maintain a relationship with the birth family and how to navigate the power imbalances inherent in that relationship. I’ve always believed that there is no right answer here and we are all just muddling through as best we can, that each family needs to take things as they come, look at all sides of issues that arise and then do what feels right for them and their family.