Top 5 Reasons Adoptees Search For Birth Family Members

Many non-adoptees don’t understand why adoptees can become so obsessed with searching for birth family members.

Tom Andriola August 15, 2016

Many non-adoptees don’t understand why adoptees can become so obsessed with searching for birth family members. Some even see it as a form of betrayal of the family that raised them, that perhaps even “saved” them from a difficult set of circumstances. But searching for birth family members often has nothing at all to do with the relationship an adoptee has with his or her family.

Here are 5 reasons why adoptees search for their birth family members.

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Simple Curiosity
1. Simple Curiosity

Many adoptees are just curious. What’s their story? How did they end up where they are, and what would their life have been like if they hadn’t been placed for adoption? For me, that curiosity has been insatiable. The more I find out, the more I want to know.

It Helps Them Understand Who They Are and Where They Come From
2. It Helps Them Understand Who They Are and Where They Come From

You’ve heard the saying a million times. “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” Maybe not in this context, but it’s certainly applicable in adoption, maybe even more so than in other situations. And it’s true. You need a fundamental understanding about the context of the basis for any journey, and life is the ultimate form of that. Many adoptees that don’t know where they come from can feel lost on their journey of life.

For Health Reasons
3. For Health Reasons

Every time you go to the doctor, you get the same question. “What’s your family health history?” It can be a difficult and personal question for an adoptee. I have grown tired of answering, “I don’t know, I’m adopted.” It would be nice to be able to have a straight answer to this question so that the doctor can make an informed decision about your health, and it becomes even more important when you have kids.

To Form a Bond That is Missing for Them
4. To Form a Bond That is Missing for Them

I have heard adoptees say things like, “I just can’t relate to my parents,” or “I wish I felt closer to my brother.” There sometimes seems to be a bond that’s missing, and it’s one that could perhaps be filled by finding a biological parent or sibling. It’s true, there may be disappointment in the end, but you could also hit the jackpot.

To Fill a Void
5. To Fill a Void

Some adoptees have described feeling out of place in their families, lacking a sense of belonging. They can’t quite place a finger on it, but there is some type of void, an emptiness that they feel inside. They hope that a successful search for a birth family member could help fill that void and make them feel whole.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.


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