What If I Can’t Find My Birth Parents?

Finding birth parents has never been easier; however, there will still be cases where adoptees will have an empty search.

Lita Jordan September 09, 2018
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It is incredibly common for a person who was placed for adoption to seek information about his or her birth parents in the case of a closed adoption. We often see the tearful and joyous reunion videos shared across social media. However, these reunions do not always go as planned. What happens in the event that one is unable to find birth parents? With advances in DNA testing and the immenseness of social media, finding a long-lost loved one is becoming almost a guarantee. However, there will be those who search their whole lives and turn up empty.

Coping With The Loss

People who are entering a search for their birth parents are ultimately hoping that it will lead to information at the very least. If the adoption search leads to nothing, that kind of blow can be crushing. It would take a lot of strength to cope with that kind of loss. It would ultimately be up to the person searching to decide when to call off the search. There may come a point where they have to recognize that they have searched as far as they are able, and they may not find their birth parents.

Just like any sort of loss, the person searching may go through some or all of the stages of grief. Not finding their birth parents may cause denial, anger, bargaining, and even depression. They may go through denial, not wanting to believe their search is going to remain fruitless. Ultimately, the goal is acceptance. Learning to cope with the loss of chance for a reunion or familial connection will take time.

Accepting Little Victories

With advances in DNA technology and social media, the chances are much greater that a person will be able to connect with someone in his or her family. While he may not be able to find his birth parents, he may be able to connect with extended family. Finding at least one birth parent is ultimately the hope; however, finding someone with ties to the birth parents can be extraordinary. That person may be able to give the adoptee a wealth of information about her family, lead her to other family members, and be that familial connection she has been seeking. While not the ultimate goal, it should still be considered a victory.

Letting Go, Not Giving Up

This is certainly hard to decide when one has searched far and long enough for his birth parents. In reality, an adoptee can choose to make no decision on that front. It may get to a point where he decides that it is simply time to stop searching, but that does not mean the search has to be over. With the growing use of adoption registries and DNA companies, adoptees can register their information and their DNA. The hope is that one day, one of these avenues will return results. Just because they are not finding information now does not mean that their birth parents will not also register in the future. It can be healthy to let go of the search but let go of the wheel as well.

The search for birth parents is often due to a hope of reunion. This can come from a place of curiosity, a search for identity, or something even deeper. It is understandable that this kind of loss could feel devastating. It will take time and healing to move on. It will take the acceptance of being okay with where an individual is in her life and who she has become apart from her birth family. Support of his adoptive family or a great friend support system will be integral. Not finding birth parents doesn’t have to be the end of the search for a familial connection. Don’t give up hope.

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Lita Jordan

Lita Jordan is a master of all things "home." A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the "other Michael Jordan" and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on Facebook.


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