In this age of open adoption it’s rare to find advocates of closed adoptions. It’s equally difficult, among all the joyful stories shared about search and reunion, to convince anyone that it might be better to keep the door shut tight. And why would you? Consider the following situations:
- A Birth Mother’s Trauma. When it’s known that the birth mother became pregnant through rape, incest, or had other trauma associated with placing her child for adoption, it may be better for the birth mother (who hopefully has achieved some level of healing) to truly let it all be in the past. Reuniting, or even making contact with a birth mother in this situation could dredge up painful reminders and make raw all that was once healed. It’s not that she doesn’t love her child. It’s that the child is a reminder of pain. As sad as that is, many adult adoptees are able to live fulfilled, happy lives without feeling a huge gap from not knowing the birth families.
- Failed Reunion Attempts. After searching, finding, and trying to reunite with one of the birth parents, but either receiving no answer OR a negative reaction to the request, it may be best for the adoptee to let go of the hope of reunification. There may be some questions that are never answered, some hopes that are never fulfilled. But to keep pushing could lead to only more sadness and feelings of rejection. At a certain point, it may be best to release the desire of creating a relationship.
- Negative Feelings When Considering Search and Reunion. Sometimes there’s no clear reason to not search. Sometimes there’s just a gut feeling that either now isn’t the time, or it may never be the time. And that’s OK! Don’t let society tell you that searching is the right thing and an obligation. It’s not. One of the great gifts of life is agency. You get to choose what is right for you. So if it doesn’t feel good to begin a search, just don’t do it. It’s your life; it’s your choice.
There could be a plethora of reasons that would fit into the “Negative Feelings When Considering Search and Reunion” category. Your reason to not search does not have to be logical; it doesn’t have to make sense. Bending to social expectations isn’t required when it comes to personal decisions.