I Don’t Support My Friend’s Search for Biological Family

So...what do I do now?

Ashley Foster July 23, 2018
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As a friend, you have the right to share your opinions with your friend. You can give your reasons for disagreeing with his feelings or explain why you don’t think search and reunion are a good idea. After that, it’s time to trust your friend. Adults are allowed to have different opinions, but at the end of the day, they have to respect each other’s wishes. Making the decision to search for biological family is never made lightly. Even if you first heard about it yesterday, I can guarantee it has been weighing on him internally for a long time.

An adoptee searching for birth family is completely normal and natural. You may take for granted that you know where you came from and that you look like your relatives. For adoptees, that is not the case. Your friend has had questions his entire life that he deserves to have answered. He wants to know where and who he came from, and he needs to know why he was placed for adoption. Whether he ends up having a relationship with his biological parents or not, he deserves at least that.

Let’s say you absolutely adore his parents, and you are scared for what changes may occur with that relationship. I promise you that no one has weighed the consequences more than your friend. The number one reason that adoptees put off searching for their birth family is because they are afraid of hurting their parents. If your friend has chosen to start his search, then it’s important to him. He knows the risks and is moving forward anyway. He needs the support of his friends.

Please don’t stand in your friend’s way. What if you are successful in dissuading him from searching by telling him all the things that could go wrong? He may suppress those feelings of wanting to find them, but they don’t ever go away. So then five years later, he decides to go for it. He finds his birth family and learns that his birth mother passed away two years earlier. Then that’s on you! He’ll never get to speak to her, see her smile, or hear from her own mouth why she placed him. In the end, he may resent you forever.

Don’t get me wrong, not all adoption reunions are great. Some biological parents are horrible, awful people. It’s his history to find though. Of all the adoptees I have talked to over the years, none of them regretted finding the answers they needed, even if the relationships ended badly. Reunions are not always about the outcome, but what is learned along the way.

Every adoptee’s journey is different. If your friend has made the choice to search for his birth family, then he has dealt with the internal conflict already. Why would you add contention for him? The best thing you can do for your friend is be there to support him emotionally. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to. At the very least, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in Adoption.com’s Reunion Registry.

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Ashley Foster

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees' rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at http://ashleysfoster.blogspot.com/.


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