Tommy*, a 23-year-old from Virginia, wanted to learn more about where he came from. He was adopted when he was young, and as he got older, he started wondering about his birth family and began his search.

When Tommy was 16, he asked his adoptive parents if they knew anything about his birth mother. They didn’t have much information, so they reached out to a special department in Fairfax County to find out more.

Tommy learned that when he turned 18, he could start a search for his birth family. He filled out some paperwork but got scared and stopped. He worried about what might happen and if he could handle the emotions that might come with it.

Luckily, Tommy had a lot of support. His parents, friends, and even professionals helped him feel more confident. After a year, he decided to try again.

It didn’t take long for Fairfax County to find Tommy’s birth mom, Tanya*. They had a long phone call where they shared stories and caught up on the past. Tanya told Tommy about his family, including three older brothers he never knew he had.

They decided to meet around Christmas. Tommy was amazed by how much they all had in common, from hobbies to looks.

After that first meeting, Tommy kept in touch with his birth family. It wasn’t always easy, but he was glad to have answers to his questions.

Now, Tommy feels like he has two families who love him. He’s grateful for the support he got along the way.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Story originally covered by

Why do adoptees search for their birth families?

For many adoptees, the desire to search for their birth families stems from a fundamental need to understand their identity and heritage. Growing up, they may have wondered about the people who share their DNA and the circumstances surrounding their adoption. Curiosity about their biological roots often intensifies as they reach adolescence and young adulthood, as they strive to piece together their personal narrative and fill in the gaps left by their adoption.

The longing to connect with birth relatives can also be fueled by a desire to gain insight into one’s medical history. Adoptees may seek information about hereditary conditions, allergies, or genetic predispositions that could impact their health. Access to such vital information through a reunion with birth family members can be empowering while enabling adoptees to make informed decisions about their well-being and medical care.

What are the benefits of search and reunion?

The benefits of search and reunion extend beyond satisfying curiosity or obtaining medical information. For many adoptees, reuniting with birth family members can provide a profound sense of closure and belonging. Establishing connections with biological relatives allows them to forge bonds based on shared ancestry, experiences, and traits while fostering a deeper understanding of their own identity.

Moreover, search and reunion can facilitate healing and emotional growth. By confronting the complexities of their adoption journey and reconciling with the past, adoptees often experience a sense of validation and validation of their feelings. Reconnecting with birth family members can allow them to move forward with greater clarity and self-assurance.

How can you approach with caution?

While the prospect of search and reunion holds great promise, it’s essential to approach the process with caution and mindfulness. Reconnecting with birth family members can evoke a wide range of emotions, from joy and excitement to anxiety and apprehension. Adoptees should prepare themselves for the possibility of unexpected outcomes and manage their expectations accordingly.

It’s also crucial to respect the privacy and boundaries of all parties involved. Some birth family members may not be ready or willing to initiate contact, and it’s essential to honor their wishes and decisions. Adoptees should proceed with sensitivity and empathy, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique and deserving of respect. Prepare for positive and negative outcomes with a support system in place. Resources

For adoptees embarking on a search for their birth families, offers a wealth of resources and support. From informational articles and forums to guidance on navigating the complexities of reunion, provides a supportive community where adoptees can find guidance, encouragement, and understanding throughout their journey of self-discovery.

Through thoughtful preparation, patience, and support, adoptees can navigate the complexities of search and reunion with confidence and resilience, ultimately finding healing, connection, and a deeper understanding of their identity and heritage.