You may have seen this emotional video message floating around Facebook over the last couple weeks. With over 10 million views to date, it seems that Ryan Jon’s heartfelt message to his birth mother touched many people, including those in the adoption community.
I think he articulated well many thoughts and feelings that so many adopted people have. The sentiments he shares are ones I often hear from adopted people, including:
- thinking about their birth mother on Mother’s Day;
- being thankful for the choice their birth mother made;
- understanding that their birth mother wasn’t able to give her child the life she wanted
- wanting to say thank you;
- being fearful of what the outcome of reaching out could be; and,
- hoping that their birth mother moved forward and was able to pursue things like a career or getting married and having other children who may or may not know about them
Fear is what often keeps people from moving forward with reaching out. More specifically, the fear of rejection and the fear of finding out the reality is different than the imagined. Searching or making a connection is not for everyone and is a very personal decision.
Many adopted people think their birth parents want to remain confidential, because the adoption occurred during the closed era of adoptions. There are a lot of misconceptions about why adoptions were closed. Many believe it was the birth parents’ choice. Closed was the school of thought at the time, regardless of what birth parents wanted. It was thought to be best for the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents. While some birth parents did want to remain confidential, many would not have chosen that. Even today, many birth parents don’t know contact is an option, or don’t feel empowered or entitled to come forward or seek out their child.
When people are considering moving forward, it is important to process their motivations, expectations and the many possible outcomes. Support before, during and after the search is very important, so I always encourage people to identify their own support system in addition to getting support from us at The Cradle, or a therapist trained in or familiar with adoption.
If you are interested in searching for a birth relative or would like more information about our post adoption support services, you can learn more or schedule an informational consultation with me here.