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 if it is ever too late to search for your birth parents. My answer is always the same – no!
Am I emotionally ready?
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 if they passed away?
Getting the answers to these outstanding questions in your life can come at any time. There is never a time when it is “too late” to begin your search. Oftentimes people fear that their birth parents are too old for a reunion or maybe have passed away. However, those who receive information regarding their adoption still gain a sense of peace that they have answers they were lacking. Oftentimes the confirmation of who their birth mother or father is, even if they are deceased, leads to information on other children they may have birthed or extended family members. Gaining information on living extended family members may even lead to a reunion with those relatives or knowledge of your birth family lineage.
What is the benefit of searching now?
People search for different reasons; no reason is 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.
How will I know it is 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 when you’re 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 roadblocks can prevent some 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.
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 neither will we. We are only promised today, so if you are ready, start the process. You deserve the answers and information you seek.