I recognize that through an adoption journey, the adopted child is the most important person in the adoption triad, and the one with the least amount of say, the most questions, and the largest amount of uncertainties. I am a huge open adoption advocate. Most of the time, I respect and support adoptees looking for their birth families. Doing so can answer tons of those pressing questions, ease their concerns, minimize doubts, and give a feeling of peace and resolution. However, there are some instances when I don’t think a child should search for their birth families.
Coming from a birth mother who has lots of contact and a wide-open adoption with her son, I can see how some might think it would be hypocritical to say I don’t want my son to look for his birth father. That I’m being selfish and hurting my son emotionally to discourage it. But there are several circumstances in which I think it’s in the child’s best interest not to find birth family members. Though it could put his or her mind at ease, it could also put him or her in danger. I am not naive enough to think people and circumstances can’t change. Often, they do. But what if they haven’t?
I am firm in my opinion that I don’t believe my son should ever look for his birth father. I’m aware that he may choose not to agree with my opinion and decline my request. I will never force my opinions on him, nor will I ever tell him how to feel. However, this is why I would strongly discourage it.
When a girl becomes pregnant in unfavorable circumstances, it’s hard to say what the right thing to do is. Every circumstance is different. I chose, first and foremost, to tell the father. Though it did not bother him that we got pregnant, it did bother him that I planned to both go through with the pregnancy and to place our child. I do not wish to paint him in a poor light, but the truth of the matter is that his disapproval of my decisions lead to a potentially dangerous situation. Threats were made not only towards me, but towards our child. Nothing ever came of them, but even considering the option of hurting your own child shows some instability.
To build off the first reason, I would hate for my son to find his father and actually get hurt. Though nothing ever came to fruition initially, if my son were to present himself as his birth father’s son, and it upset his birth father’s current relationships and family, I’m not sure if he would revert to those previous notions and choose to act on them.
Next, I would be very disappointed if they were to ever talk, and his birth father put me down in a way that made my son want to discontinue a relationship with me. I know this reason is selfish, but hear me out. I’m almost positive that any hard feelings would be toward me, not him. Whether they be lies, fabrications of the truth, or just too many negative, yet truthful details could lead to a bad outcome. I will be the first to admit that I was not the best person at the time I got pregnant and that I had many issue that had not yet been resolved. However, I don’t believe my son needs to know the finite details. Once he gets older, I’m sure he will piece it together just from knowing me and understanding why he was placed.
Lastly, it would break my heart if my son met his birth father, then changed for the worse because of it. Sons often idolize their fathers, and if his birth father is living a non-ideal lifestyle, I wouldn’t want my son to follow in his footsteps. There are a million and one ways I could see this happening, but as to not get too pessimistic, I will leave it at that.
I will say that this is all speculation, and should my son ever look for his birth father and be successful in finding him, it may go much better. Again, people and circumstances do change, and our situation may not be any different. But my concern is that is hasn’t changed. And just like my reasoning for placing my son for adoption in the first place, I only feel this way because I love him and I try to have his best interest in mind.