If you’re considering “giving baby up for adoption,” it’s natural to wonder, “what will my child think of me?” It’s also natural for adoptees to be curious and ask questions about their past – where they come from, who their birth parents are, and why did they choose adoption? But this curiosity is not just unique to adopted children. All humans have a biological connection to those that gave birth to them and that in turn, can create curiosity. We see this exhibited in individuals wanting to gain more knowledge about their cultural backgrounds, their extended families, and where their families originated from. Humans are natural storytellers and we all find comfort in knowing our story.
It’s not out of the norm for adopted children to want to reach out to their birth family once they are old enough to comprehend at least some logistical part of adoption. Most children who reach out to their birth families simply want to continue to develop the story of who they are as an individual.
They often want to know things like:
What do my birth parent(s) look like?
Where do my birth parent(s) come from?
Do I have biological siblings?
What happened at my birth?
Why was I placed for adoption?
The list goes on and on. But every adoption situation is different and what an adopted child will think of their birth family can vary widely. While most women fear that their child will not be happy about their decision to choose adoption, this is not usually the case with adoptive children. According to a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “…adopted children grow up to be as happy and healthy as their peers. In some instances, they even seem to have more opportunities than children in the general population. The report found that 85 percent of children who are adopted are in excellent or very good health, are more likely to have health insurance and less likely to live in households below the poverty threshold.” In addition to being as happy and healthy as their peers, the study also demonstrated that “more than half report excellent or very good reading, language arts and math performance for the children adopted, they were more likely to be read to, sung to or told stories on a daily basis as children, and more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.”
Open vs Closed Adoptions
Historically, most adoptions were closed adoptions. It was very uncommon for any information about the birth family to be shared with the adoptees. This led to kids either never knowing they were adopted or growing up with mixed feelings about their biology and no way to fully tell their story.
Today, when a woman makes an adoption plan, they are able to choose the adoptive family, meet with them (if they would like), and discuss a variety of ideas, hopes, and dreams for the child. They are also able to choose what level of contact they would like to have with the child/family after placement. These levels of contact often fall within three categories: open, semi-open or closed adoption.
While closed adoptions certainly still occur, and may be what is best for some individuals, the most recent research shows that open adoptions have the greatest success rates for all parties involved in terms of connection, healing, belongingness, and attachment. Placing a child for adoption is an act of love and sacrifice, and the ability for the birth parent(s) and the adoptee to communicate as they grow allows for those facts to be a part of the narrative. This communication and knowledge can help the child positively formulate the way they view themselves and their birth family. It allows them to better understand the sacrifice that went into the decision and to know that they are wanted and loved beyond measure by both their birth family and adoptive family.
For children in a closed adoption situation, if they are told their adoption story from a young age, they will have a better understanding of why adoption was chosen for them. It’s important that adoptive parents in closed adoptions always reinforce to the child that they were placed out of love. They should also try to answer any questions the child has with all the information made available to them.
If you have placed a child for adoption in Florida and have never had contact, have lost contact with that child, or their adoptive family, you can register with the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry and your child may use this as a way to connect with you in the future. You are also welcome to participate in our monthly, virtual Birth Mother Support Group.
If you would like to be a part of our support group, or you are considering your unplanned pregnancy options, please feel free to reach out to us anytime. Call or text (850) 308-1836.
The Law Office of Madonna M. Finney has been helping women making loving adoption plans for over 22 years. We provide the same services to women as any Florida adoption agency. We provide quality social services with our professional staff lead by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, while knowing that every legal aspect of adoption is addressed by an expert in Florida adoption law.
Earlier, you may have noticed that we used the phrase, “giving baby up for adoption.” While we believe that making an adoption plan does not include “giving up” on your baby, we also recognize that this is the language most often used by women considering adoption for their baby. Therefore, we use the phrase as a way to connect with the broadest possible audience in hopes of providing more people with helpful information about adoption. We believe that birth mothers are not “giving up their child for adoption,” but instead are choosing adoption out of love.