How To Approach Your Adoptive Parents About Finding Your Birth Parents

As told by an adoptive parent.

Denalee Chapman January 04, 2017
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I’m not an adoptee who has searched for my birth parents, but I am an adoptive mother with a child from a closed adoption. Bryan joined our family when he was five weeks old. We were his foster parents first, and then finalized his adoption when he was almost two. We lived on a small island in the Pacific at the time and shortly after his adoption was finalized we moved to the states. We didn’t know if we would ever be able to find his birth family – or if he would ever want that.

Through the years we would have occasional, casual conversations with Bryan about his beginnings. We knew very little about his family, but openly shared the facts we had. He never expressed a desire to know more. And we never really wanted to search either. But here’s the key: Bryan had a solid belief that we wanted what was best for him. So when the time came, at age 21, that he had a desire to search, find, and reunite, he wasn’t afraid to tell us. And in our eyes, he did everything right.

First, Bryan told us he had been thinking about his roots. He’s a mixture of four races, and really wondered about the specifics. We had no medical information, and although he wasn’t having health issues, he wanted knowledge.

Next, Bryan expressed deep gratitude that his birth mother chose life for him. He was well aware that, at her young age, she could have chosen abortion. Bryan told us that he’s loved his life, and is so grateful for his birth mother’s selfless choice.

Then Bryan told us that he would really like the opportunity to thank her. We thought that might be where this was all leading. And how could we not want to help?!?

The search began. Within a couple of months, we scheduled reunification between Bryan and his birth mother. I won’t say that I never felt threatened or jealous – I’m not that good. But my gratitude for her increased as we got closer to finding. I found that I was just as desperate to thank her as our son was. I never felt like Bryan was abandoning us or ungrateful because he wanted his birth mother in his life. And I’m quite sure that much of that is because of Bryan’s approach.

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at

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