A closed adoption is one in which the birth family does not remain in contact with the child once the adoption is final. If you opt for a closed adoption, do not be surprised if the child wants to contact his or her birth family in the future. If this occurs when the child is still a minor, the adoptive parents are still very much a part of the process of opening a closed adoption or contacting the birth parents for an adoption reunion. However, adult children are often on their own when trying to open a closed adoption. If you are an adoptive child looking to reconnect with your birth family, here's how to open a closed adoption:
- Be aware of your feelings. Are you sure that you want to meet your birth family? This is a big step, so be sure you want to take it. Discuss it with your birth family, and ensure that they understand your reasons for seeking out your birth parents. There's no going back once you contact them, and you might not like what you see.
- Learn what you can about your parents. Your adoptive parents are usually the best place to start when trying to open a closed adoption, because they may have some information that can lead you to your birth family. In many cases, however, they will not have a current address, and may not even know who your birth mother was. Still, it is a starting point to figuring out who your birth parents were, and they can provide information on who handled your adoption.
- Contact those involved in the original adoption. If your family went through an adoption agency, they may be able to provide information about your birth family.
- Do your research. In some cases, a private investigator may be necessary to track down your birth family. In some cases, little is known about your birth parents, making it quite difficult to find them. In some cases, it can take years to reconnect adopted children with their birth parents. There are message boards and forums dedicated to this sort of research.
- Reach out to your birth family. Once you have found a way to contact your birth family, your next step is to speak with them, either by phone or through writing a letter. Be prepared for a wide range of emotions, especially if you aren't sure of the circumstances surrounding your birth. Understand that your birth family may not want to hear from you, and it may take a while for your call to sink in.
- Meet with your birth family. If your birth family is amenable to it, meet with them face-to-face. Remember that you are all strangers, at this point, so don't expect too much from the relationship. It will take time to get to know each other.
Expect emotional highs and lows with this process. This will not be an easy step to take, but it may be well worth it. Only you can decide whether meeting your birth family would be a good step to take. Expect some difficulties along the way, especially if little is known about your birth family.