7 Reasons Why it’s Important for a Child who was Adopted to Know Where He or She Comes From

Adoptees sometimes have a hard time getting information about their history. Here are reasons why it shouldn't be so hard.

Tom Andriola July 08, 2015

Context is a great explainer. What would the world be like if everyone chose to view the actions of their fellow human beings with a wider lens? One that took into account where they come from and what their experiences have been, rather than one that renders judgment based on a narrow set of circumstances.

Unfortunately, children who were adopted have no access to their own personal context in many instances because the truth is hidden from them. Here are seven reasons why it’s important for a child who was adopted to know where he or she comes from.

It is their foundation.
1. It is their foundation.

When a child is adopted and the truth is hidden from them, the very foundation of understanding and beliefs about life immediately becomes one of instability. Once the truth is discovered, and it ultimately most often is, that foundation collapses and turns the child’s world upside down. The very element of trust is built upon a foundation that is based on truth and honesty, and when that is missing, trust can quickly dissolve.

It is in their best interest.
2. It is in their best interest.

It amazes me to watch adults argue over what they perceive to be in the best interest of a child. In many cases, their arguments are a façade for an attempt to preserve their own self-interests. While there are certainly age appropriate ways to disclose information, making up stories or withholding information indefinitely is toxic and will eventually cause resentment.

It's the truth!
3. It's the truth!

Kids are much more perceptive than we give them credit for, and can usually sense when things seem a little off kilter. While they may not quite know how to obtain that sense of balance in their world by getting to the bottom of it, they may develop a hesitancy or cautiousness as they enter into adulthood that puts them behind the eight ball.

Their health and well-being could depend on it.
4. Their health and well-being could depend on it.

Medicine has advanced significantly in recent years, and many regimens are tailored specifically to take into account a patient’s biological medical history. Unfortunately, for those who don’t know their family history this is not possible. Those with genetic disorders and other health conditions that are passed down from generation to generation are unnecessarily placed at risk as a result.

It will help give them closure.
5. It will help give them closure.

Not knowing one’s history is like not being able to attend to an open wound. We hear all the time about the loved ones of crime victims just wanting to know what happened, who is responsible, and why. They are looking for closure, and so is the adoptee whose history is hidden from them.

For genealogy’s sake!
6. For genealogy’s sake!

Deymos.HR / Shutterstock.com
Genealogy has become more and more popular over the years. For kids who are adopted, there is often confusion about the family tree exercise that is often conducted in the school setting. Perhaps genealogy can be used as a teaching tool to help adopted children embrace their histories and lessen the confusion that arises for them as they are growing up.

They're going to find out anyway.
7. They're going to find out anyway.

Inevitably with advanced in technology, adoptees are eventually going to find out their biological histories regardless of the resistance by some. Databases containing DNA results are growing exponentially, and plugging the results into genealogical software applications have already provided answers to many adoptees. But is that how we want them to find out what they already have a right to know? To me, being upfront with the truth is the way to go.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.

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