38. Reaching out to adoptive parents

hand reaching toward the sun 38.-Reaching-out-to-Adoptive-Parents

Reaching Out to Adoptive Parents.

We want to reach out to adoptive parents. You may feel forgotten as your adopted child (possibly now an adult) seeks to find their birth parents. We would like to re-assure you. We hear of mixed responses from adoptive parents. Some are totally confident that this will not affect their relationship with their adopted child. Some recognise that this is so important to the adult identity of their adopted child. For example, they may seek important health information that could inform their own future as well as that of their children. Some parents feel deeply upset by this progress even though they recognise it is important to their adoptive child. We thought it may help for us to share some information with you about our work so that you can feel confident.

Many adopted people report to us happy adoptions and feel so grateful to their adoptive parents for their great parenting. However even these people may be curious about their genetic inheritance and their family of origin. Some people feel guilty about this curious tendency and yet they feel unfulfilled if they do not follow up and find the parent concerned. It is like a missing piece of the jigsaw to their lives. Adopted people are unique in the dual heritage of their identity. You may feel they belong to you as your adoptive child, but they also have a sense that they belong somewhere else. The Human Rights Act tends to acknowledge the right of anybody to know about their family of origin and therefore the law changed so that adopted children could seek their birth parents and vice versa. In modern adoption it is usually acknowledged from the beginning of an adoption openly and truthfully to the child that they were born of another parent but that the adoptive parent had the joy of raising them. Modern research corroborates that this is the best course of action. More historic adoptions such as those between 1947 and 1976 abide by older views and values thinking that children won’t want to think about their adoption and indeed that it does not matter if they never meet their adoptive parents. However, this kind of conclusion is now dated. Indeed, many modern adoption Orders created in the Adoption Court refer to contact, knowledge and letterbox contact sent through the Adoption Agency. We are more psychologically minded as a society, and we understand the impact of separation in infancy.

At Joanna North Adoption we have a balanced perspective on all of these views. We are fortunate enough to also work with families and children who are newly adopted and so we have a more global perspective on the deep psychological compulsion for children to know about their family of origin. We see new adoptive parents keep their children informed as to their adoptive parent. Whilst this is complex, with help children do manage their story and it is overall better than a child left secretly wondering about their parent of origin which may leave that child feeling isolated and alone with their thoughts causing stress and anxiety.

It is frequently the case that birth parents, once located and contacted are very gracious and generous towards adoptive parents. They have no intention of ‘taking their child back’ and in many cases we hear of birth parents who simply feel overjoyed that their child had a good life with a wonderful, adopted parent such as you. In many cases we find that good positive relationships are set up between the two families and that nobody needs to feel left out or abandoned. In fact, we specifically ask all our clients to come to adoption searches with this kind of positive intent in mind and we never put people in touch if we feel there is any other motivation than positive intent for everyone around them.

We never engage in these searches for adopted people or their birth parents with the intent of leaving behind or ignoring adoptive parents. We generally cannot speak to you as the searches are confidential to our client and the subject. However, if we were given permission by the searching party, we would help you if we can. We understand that this may be a nerve-wracking time for you. One adoptive parent described this to us as their worst dream come true whereas for her adopted child (adult) it was their life dream come true. Ultimately once through the anxiety this all settled, and the adoptive parent was happy and could see it was an important part of their adoptive child’s life journey and their growing individuality and maturity.

We might not be able to speak to you directly, but we may ask your adopted child/adult to direct you to this leaflet and you can of course read all the leaflets on our website. We want you to know that we will always support your adopted child/adult to enter this search with great consideration towards you at the same time we know that they may wish for privacy on this matter. It is a journey they need to take for themselves.

It may help that you reassure yourself by checking our identity:

  • Please check our credentials so that you can be confident that you are dealing with an Ofsted registered organisation who comply to a set of minimum standards in Adoption Intermediary work set by the government. Please go to https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk and put in our unique reference which is 2617067. This should confirm that we are a genuine intermediary agency with proven skills at tracing and genealogy.

Please note that if our clients are Under the age of 25 we take extra care in the search and we are likely to contact you as an adoptive parent directly in order to protect the young person concerned. Please see our leaflet Number 26 called Under 25? Why your search is different.

If you are an adopted parent thinking about helping your adopted child/adult with a search for a birth parent that is not currently in progress, do e mail us and we will be able to give you lots of information about our work.

Dr. Joanna North

Consultant Psychotherapist (Adoption)

September 2024.

Joanna North Adoption (Ofsted registered)

hand reaching toward the sun 38.-Reaching-out-to-Adoptive-Parents