Why I Felt Guilty When I Chose to Look for Biological Family

The list of reasons is long. But here's my reason why.

MK Menon October 19, 2018
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It had been a long time coming. Years, decades, to give you an idea. A move across the world, a job quit, a six-month visa and a single, one-way plane ticket to my birth county. Perhaps it sounds rash, like I just got up one day and threw all the security of a normal life in the trash, for what? That “what” was a big unknown. It was looking for the people who conceived me nearly a quarter century ago. It was going back to a country I had not stepped foot on since I left with my new American adoptive parents when I was 4 months old. It was searching for a piece of a puzzle that I hoped would give me a sense of wholeness.

But why did I wait so long to do something that had such meaning to my life? 

The list of reasons was long and included fear of rejection, worry about not being able to track them down, and a deep concern that I may wreck their current lives. What compounded these issues was the lack of support from my adoptive mother. Talking about my adoption was avoided like someone with Chickenpox. We both could see it, but if we got too close, then we had no idea what damage could come of it. So instead we kept our distance and found other outlets to discuss my adoption.

Therefore, you can only imagine if talking about my adoption was a challenge, how searching for my biological parents seemed impossible. While my adoptive mother never bad-mouthed my biological family, mostly since the topic was sidestepped whenever brought up, her feelings about me searching were clear: she didn’t want me to do it. She believed there was only enough room for one mother in my life, and that was her. How could I go against the woman who raised me, knowing how much this search would hurt her? So I placated her fears, stopped talking about my adoption, and waited until I had moved overseas to let my adoptive parents know that I was going to search for my biological family. I vacillated with this decision for ages and never really shed the guilt about searching. My new fear was that I would find myself completely alone after ostracizing myself from my adoptive family for searching and never locating my biological family.

At 25, the desire to try to find my roots outweighed all the guilt I held on to for years. I had been protecting the emotions of everyone around me and possibly even the parents I didn’t know. The time had come for me to protect my own needs and emotional health. The journey was trying, and there were times when I second-guessed myself for pushing the search, but when all was said and done, I gained a peace that could not have been attained any other way.

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

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MK Menon

MK Menon is a transracial international adoptee. She was adopted as an infant in a closed adoption yet managed to successfully trace her roots in her twenties. This year she hopes to publish her memoir about her journey to her birth mother. She's a vocal advocate for adoptees tracing their roots. She works as a research scientist and freelance writer. When she and her husband aren't chasing their toddler around the house, she loves cooking up a storm. She currently lives in California.

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