As the former Executive Director of Joint Council on International Council Children’s Services and as the Founder of Trustify, a technology platform connecting clients to licensed private investigators, many of whom specialize in adoption cases, I am often asked “when is the best time to search for my birth parents.” My answer is always the same – when you feel it is the best time for you!
Things to consider before beginning the process:
How Much Information Do I Need?
The private investigators with whom I work need very little information to begin a case. A name, non-identifying information, birth information – like hospital information and birthdate, are all helpful. Gather all of the information you have at the start, whether you are using a professional private detective or beginning your own search. The more information you have the better. Sometimes information you may deem as unimportant or irrelevant is exactly the piece needed to find your birth parents. Adoption.com is a wonderful place to start if you are going at it on your own. Their Adoption Registries offer the opportunity to post information on your adoption with the desire to find birth family members. You can also search the registry for birth parent information.
Is Now the Right Time to Search?
There are many reasons why individuals delay starting the search process. There is never the “perfect” time. Just like buying a home, getting married, building a family or starting a job search, there is never the right time, you just have to trust your instincts and move forward. Life obligations, money, time, family, work will often get in the way if starting the process. You may have been too young, or lacked the financial resources or knowledge as to how to commence such a search. Family obligations, work and emotional road blocks can prevent those from starting the process. When they are finally ready, it may feel like too much time has gone by to begin. However, that is never the case. I have worked with individuals who were terminally ill and just wanted to have answers they lacked in life surrounding their birth and birth family.
Many individuals who were adopted deal with a plethora of emotions surrounding their adoption throughout their lifetime. Many of those feelings stem from a desire to know more about their birth family members, the reasons for their adoption or access to information surrounding their lineage or family medical history. Oftentimes this sense of wondering can feel like there is a missing piece. Even if there is no desire for a reunion, getting answers gives those who were adopted peace of mind. Sometimes that peace of mind comes from just a photo of their birth mother, medical records or the knowledge of the circumstances that led to their adoption years ago.
What Is the Benefit of Searching Now?
People search for different reasons, none right or wrong. All that matters is why you want to search and that alone is reason enough. It may be the desire for medical information, a brief reunion to meet your birth parents in person, to establish a relationship moving forward or to meet any biological siblings or extended family members. For some, it is the desire to meet someone who shares their genes and looks like them. For others, it may be to gain answers to the questions they have surrounding their birth, placement and birth family. These examples are just a few of the many individual and personal reasons those who were adopted search. Gaining these answers and information would be beneficial at any point in your life. Getting the information you desire can never come too late.
Has Too Much Time Gone By?
If you have a desire to meet or receive information on your birth family, it is never too late to begin the process. Unfortunately, the longer you wait the more likely it is that senior birth parents may pass away or be harder to reach. However, even if that is the case you will gain knowledge of your biological family and may even find birth siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins in the process. Medical records are helpful at any stage in life. Even if they are not your desire right now, your children or grandchildren may desire information on their ancestry, lineage or medical background.
Searching for your birth parents and families can begin at anytime. There is never a moment in your life when it is too late. Unless of course, you desire to meet your birth parents in person. They will not live forever and either will we. We are only promised today, so if you are ready, start the process. You deserve the answers and information you seek.
For more help with beginning your search, visit the new adoption information webpage for adoption training.