Why Should Adopted Children be Allowed to Contact their Biological Parents

March 18, 2010 fillerscrazy8
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The statement: why should adopted children be allowed to contact their biological parents – is different for every situation and there is no right or wrong answer. First of all, there is a difference between open and closed adoptions. Basically, an open adoption is one that the child and biological parents have the option of having contact in the future if both choose to do so and the adoptive parents have an open communication with the biological parent, shares information and most often allows the biological family to be a part of the adoptive childs life. A closed adoption means that the childs adoption record is sealed and all of the information pertaining within the documents including their previous name (if changed), biological parents and adoptive parents demographic information, and all court documents, hearing paperwork, etc is “sealed” or closed from anyone’s view in normal circumstances. (I say normal, because I did have to request my first childs file that I adopted to be reopened to re-investigate heritage information, because it was pertinent to my second child’s adoption (a sibling to the first).  When a file is sealed it also means that if the biological parents begin to look for the child, they do not have access to the adoptive parents demographic information, the childs current legal name, if a social security number was changed, etc and vice versa.

Second, I am a firm believer that depending on the entire situation surrounding the reason for the child being “put up” for adoption, the biological parents history, and a moral, ethical, and personal choice of the adoptive parents all play a vital role in the decision of allowing contact with the biological parent. A lot of people who I have either seen on television, read about, or have been told about or talked to say that they look for their biological parents because of medical record information or because they themselves have been afflicted by a debilitating disease or terminal illness and want meet their biological parent, find out if they have siblings, and make peace with any feelings that they harbor in regards to the situation. Another reason – is to find out “from the mouth” of the reason they were “given away” or because they have “always felt different”.

In every adoption, the biological parent (if available) is requested to complete a genetic history (if known) on both the maternal and paternal bloodlines.  I have a copy of this paperwork for my first adopted child, but not on my second. In my situation, I adopted the children through the Department of Health and Welfare Children and Family Services Foster care and Adoption Department and because of the extensive history that the biological parent had with the department and the father’s were either unable to be determined, unknown, or “John Doe’s”, after they collected the information on the first child, they most likely didn’t even ask thereafter. The majority of the initial paperwork was completed by a living great-grandparent at the time (the family historian and from what I was told a lovely lady, that just wasn’t able to care for the children and was saddened that her daughter and granddaughter were all afflicted with drug addiction amongst other problems and already had custody of one of the other grand-daughters (the aunt of my adopted children) children that was also taken away from the State.)

I am not a fan of having a child be allowed to contact their biological parents when the situation is dangerous or if it would be detrimental to the child. I always have to ask myself: what is in the best interest of my child?  I have to take myself out of the equation at times, so that way when he or she asks later on down the road, I can provide them with an unbiased, educated, rational, and well thought-out reason for the decisions that I made on his or her behalf. All the decisions that I make, are made out of pure and complete love that I have for my children. The last thing that I ever want to have them do is to hate me. I think that is a very real fear that burdens adoptive parents. We want to make sure that everything we do is right. And, depending on the circumstances, it may or may not be…but our children rely on and trust us to do so. 

I do always question, whether or not I will be able to provide to my adoptive children all aspects of the “whole self”. What I mean by this, is not only giving them their basic needs, wants, desires, morals, values, emotional, spiritual, psychological, sociological, and cultural, but also having enough background information to provide them with where they came from, why they were chosen to be on this earth, and who they are as individuals; bottom line-a true identity. One of the reasons that I chose to adopt the sibling and have another in my home as a foster child is because I believed that it is not fair for them to be separate. Children will often ask “what did I do wrong”? I never want my children to think that ever! They did not do anything wrong, unfortunately in my biological parents situation, the children were collateral damage. Raising the children together has helped with ethnicity differences and smoothing over the children’s questions of why does is my hair black, skin brown and eyes hazel while my siblings are blonde, white and blue-eyed. Unfortunately for my children, I do not have all of their siblings though. I remember when we first brought my second adopted child home as a newborn from the hospital and all of the children were admiring her. My husband and I asked “who do you think she looks like”? My first adopted child blurted out “she looks just like me” and she was absolutely right! She was a spitting image of her as a baby. Even now, when we look at baby pictures every one of us, including the two girls get confused without looking at the date on the pictures, as to which one of the girls it actually is. To this day, we still experience this same dilemma because of their striking resemblances.  The kids have another child to relate to, that has their same mannerisms, and has similar physical appearances. It has helped to provide them with a sense of the identity factor, that I may not have been as successful at achieving.

However, I have also learned that – genetics are very strong! And, although you can provide everything necessary to a child and teach them all the skills needed, you will still ask the question “where did that come from” or “where did you learn that, because I sure did not teach it to you”? I was not always sold on the strength of genetics until I was talking with a case worker one day at my home. We were both sitting on the sofa and chair in my living room while my children were all playing on the floor. It was a moment that I will never forget. I was just about to mention to the case worker the proverbial “I do not know where she gets it from” when the case worker made the statement “she acts just like her biological mother”. What? That can’t be! She hasn’t seen here since she was a month old! She doesn’t even know her!  As the case worker could see that I was totally flabergasted, she replied: “she not only acts just like her”, but “she looks just like her”.  We went on to discuss how she knew this and throughout our conversation I discovered that the case worker was seperated from her biological mother at birth and raised by her biological father. When she was in her twenties she met her mother for the first time and she described to me mannerisms and similarities that were completely hair-raising and chilled me to the bone. Maybe I did not want to believe it, but genetics are a factor that you cannot ignore and no matter what you do – they cannot be changed. Even if I cannot provide the “missing link”, if eventually they feel they have a piece of their inner being missing, together they may assist eachother in fulfilling that missing link and possibly searching for their biological parents, if that is what they desire. And, if they ask me for assistance as well, I would never be able to turn them down.

If it were not for the biological parents, I would not have had the opportunity to bring these unique and innocent children into my life, a gift, a miracle that has taught me more than I ever imagined.  I will always love my children unconditionally. I believe down to the very depth of my core and inner being that each of the children were brought to me on this earth to show me and all of those that have a connection with me, that there is no greater love than that of a child. And, although that child may not have been conceived within you or allowed to grow in your womb, that child is “your child”, is a “part of you”,  and that every child should be provided with the gift of life.

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