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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Birthparents...

When J-Man came to us, his parental rights terminated about 2 weeks later. Being new adoptive parents, we had no idea how the process works, what to expect, etc. Our social worker told us the mom had 60 days to appeal, but that she most likely wouldn't. And, she didn't. Thankfully.

We did discover, however, while perusing the documents detailing J-Man's life, the names of both birth parents. This got us thinking. Wouldn't it be great if we could have some photos of them? I mean, I'm not adopted, but I often long to know more about my dad's history since he passed away in 2000. I know he carried with him stories from abroad, where he grew up in India. I wished he had shared his language and his culture with us more. I can only imagine how those feelings would be magnified if I had never met my birth parents and didn't know who I looked like. I would imagine there would be a hole somewhere in me...longing to know who I came from, where I came from, whose nose I had, whose eyes I had.

So, with that, we decided to hire a private investigator to track down J-Man's birth parents and get some photos for us.

It took a few months, but in the end, we ended up with one photo of birth mom and a silent video of birth dad. Along with that came a good supply of info on both parents. We have those items locked up in a safe that's only for J-Man's eyes. No one else in our family has ever seen it, not even our other kids. When he's ready to share it with people, he is welcome to do it. Occasionally, we open up that safe, show J-Man who is birth parents were and remind him just how much we love him. We remind him that God put him in our lives, that we CHOSE him because he was the perfect boy for our family and that any time he has questions about where he came from, he can ask.

I'm so happy we made the decision to get those photos. We hope to update that file in a few years just so we can keep tabs on them; that way if J-Man decides when he's grown that he wants to find his birth parents, he won't have to trudge through 20 years of mystery to find them.

M-Dog, N and G were all such a different story--since we did visits with birth mom for awhile, I just asked (through the social worker) for her to bring photos and a letter to each of the kids at their last meeting. She obliged, so they each have something from her. We also set up an e-mail account so both the birth parents could send messages at any time to the kids.

I'm curious to see whether our kids will have a desire to find their birth parents later in life. As much as I want to hold on to them as "my own," I know that it's not my right to hold them back from something so important should they decide they need to discover their histories.

What are your feelings on this?


obladi oblada said...

You have the right attitude, Shanti. We were lucky enough to be given some photos of the bp's and even some baby pictures of our kids when they came home to us. We have the baby pictures framed on the wall, and the kids have seen the pics of thier bios. I think it is important to share this with them, because you are right someday they are going to want to know where they came from.

Rachael said...

I would like to get some information for my adopted daughter, but it would be really difficult. We have her (the birth mom's) name and date of birth, but that is all. (And she lives in Russia.) My husband doesn't agree though - he doesn't have any interest in finding out about her, and doesn't fully understand why I would. So, I haven't really pursued it. I think about it though. I'd hate to lose the opportunity in case Katya wanted the information later, and it will only get harder as time goes by to find her. Maybe some day we will hire a private investigator and then just tuck the info. away in case she ever asks.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I have Genea's b-mom basic info but nothing else. I email the original adopting parents and have a flickr site for them so they can see milestones and such. They are always really interested in school stuff for some reason. But they know where we live, and they still live here in town too. I would love to have info on b-mom, Rachel has a good point, it will get harder to find her as time goes one.
Its a tough issue, I guess the type the kids will have to decide for themselves later on.

Sally- That Girl! said...

As an adult adoptee, I would have loved to have a photo of my birth family growing up. I think it takes that question away of who do I look like and takes away the feeling that I don't look like my adoptive family. The mystery is gone.

As an adult adoptee and as an adoptive parent, I can't stress enough how much to support your children through adoption. It is a lifelong journey and not something that ends the day the courts tell you are legally parents. I did find my birth family when I was 21 and when it is all said and done, the family who raised you is your family.

Adoptive parents do not need to ever feel threatened by their children wanting to know about their birth families. It is a natural curiosity and a natural right!

Kacy said...

You are an AMAZING mom! A true gift to the kids in your life and to those who have been fortunate enough to know you!

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