Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who, When, Why to have a Birth Family Search Conducted

Part I – Is your child the type who would benefit from a birth family search?

By: Dina McQueen, M.A. 

I hope that in sharing our story, I can facilitate other adoptive parents and children to achieve the clarity they have been seeking, and perhaps even complete their journey with first family reunification.

Some adopted children will not express interest in knowing their past. Others will become obsessed with exploring their roots. In my experience as an adoptive mother of one daughter from northern Ethiopian, you will not know which personality your child owns until she acquires the language to tell you so.

Around eighteen months, while side-by-side in the bath, Aster began placing her tiny arm next to mine, clearly interested in the difference she saw. Her minimal language skills at the time included pointing out colors, perhaps because my husband, her dad, is an artist and art supplies fill various corners and rooms of our home. At this early age, she seemed to take some pride in correcting me when I would choose a pink crayon, call it pink, because she knew that it was “light pink,” as opposed to “dark pink.”

At the park, on rare occasions, various pale children would open their mouths and burst through with uncensored comments, such as, “Hey, why is that girl black and her mommy is white?”

My child didn’t understand. Or maybe she did.

Even though I waited it out, hoping that we might be okay living life as it was, by the time Aster approached four, I knew for sure our daughter did not belong in the “not interested” category; it was time to do something to help her know from where she came. Unfortunately, our adoption agency had given us nothing to go by. But, I did have some clues. And I knew that it was my responsibility as her mother to do everything humanly possible to find out if her first mother was alive, and if she was, I needed to continue until we made contact. If it was the last thing I ever claimed to do right as her mom, by God I was going to do it.