5 Questions Adoptees have about Their Birth Mothers
To an adoptee, both sets of parents -- birth and adoptive -- mean the world to them. But often, children who were adopted at birth grow up with many unanswered questions related to who they are and where they come from. In most cases, the only person who can provide an adoptee answers to these questions is the person who gave birth to them. Birth mothers are so important to the adoption process and to an adoptee searching for answers. But to a birth mother hesitant to talk to her child about the adoption process, answering these questions can be intimidating.
To help you prepare, below are five -- or more -- of the most common questions adoptees ask about their birth mothers. Remember, if you’re still feeling a little uneasy talking to your child about their adoption process, your best bet is to be honest, yet kind!
5 -- Or More -- Questions Adoptees Ask About Their Birth Mothers
1. Who is my birth mother? Who is my birth father? Where are my birth parents now?
These questions are the most common amongst adoptees. All they really want to know is, well, everything about you! For adoptees, getting to know you is like getting to know themselves better, because parts of who you are are also some of the parts that make up who they are. Adoptees often want to know about:
Your personality -- are you an extrovert or an introvert? Shy or outgoing? Does it change depending on the day, your mood, or the people you’re with?
Where you’re from -- your hometown, other places you’ve lived or traveled
what your family is like -- are you married? Have other children?
Your racial, religious, and/or ethnic background
what you do for a living/job(s)/career(s)
your education -- high school, college, graduate school, trade school, etc.
your social life outside family -- friends, romantic relationships, co-workers, etc.
your hobbies, interests, talents, etc. -- are you an avid jogger? Can you play an instrument really well? Do you volunteer at or donate to a specific charity?
Your habits or little quirks -- do you bite your fingernails? Tug your hair out of nervousness? Dip your french fries into your milkshake?
2. Why did my birth mother place me for adoption? What were the circumstances surrounding my adoption?
These two questions are also huge amongst adoptees and are often ones that stick with them forever, unless they’re in contact with their birth mother and have gotten closure. With these questions often come others like:
“Does my birth mother love me?”
“Does she think about me?”
“Does she ever regret placing me for adoption?”
If you ever are given the opportunity to talk to your child about your decision, professionals within the field of adoption -- as well as Adoption Choices of Florida -- recommends it. Having this conversation together will give both of you a sense of closure, which both of you need to move forward with your lives. Adoptees often wonder if they were placed for adoption because they were unloved or because something was wrong with them.
You don’t have to communicate with your child if you don’t want to, but it can be beneficial to them for you to set the record straight. It wasn’t that you didn’t want or didn’t love your child. More than likely, you weren’t ready to be a mother, you weren’t financially stable enough to raise a child, you became pregnant as a result of a sexual assault, or had some other reason for deciding that placing your chld for adoption was in their best interest. When adoptees hear their birth mother’s side of the story, more often than not, they understand.
3. What physical/personality traits did I inherit from my birth mother? Do we share any similar interests or talents?
Very often do adoptees wonder if they look like their birth mother or whether or not they share any common interests or special talents. Again, when an adoptee shares similar physical or personality traits with their birth mother, it’s like they’re rediscovering a part of themselves. Adoptees, of course, can take after their adoptive parents in some ways, but discovering similarities between themselves and their birth mother can help to solidify an adoptee’s identity, which is something they often struggle with.
4. Do I have any siblings?
This is such an important question to adoptees. Adoptees are often curious as to whether or not their birth parents have more children together or if their birth parents went on to have other children with other people. For adoptees who discover they have a sibling or multiple siblings, it can be a hard pill to swallow finding out that their birth mother -- or father -- has raised other children or placed other children for adoption as well. But learning they have a sibling or two doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
For some adoptees, learning they have a sibling or siblings can be exciting news! Siblings, just like parents and their children, often share a lot of physical and personality traits and because most siblings are closer in age, they often have a lot to talk about, which can make it fun to connect and get to know each other!
5. Is there any history of medical or mental health issues in our family that I should be aware of?
Depending upon the type of adoption you choose, it can be very difficult for your child to gain access to vital medical history. Open and semi-open adoption both allow for some type of agreed-upon communication between the adoption triad, making it much easier for the adoptee and the adoptive parents to access medical information on the adoptee’s birth family. Closed adoption, on the other hand, highlights the importance of confidentiality on either the birth mother’s part, the adoptive parents’ parent, or both, which makes it a lot harder for birth family medical history to be obtained.
Access to medical information and history is very important to the adoptee and their adoptive family, especially if the adoptee is predisposed to a medical condition, psychological disorder, or something other physical or mental health issue that they suspect they have or have no knowledge of.
At the beginning of this blog, we told you that talking to your child about their adoption process and answering questions might be intimidating, especially if you’re unprepared for the conversation. There isn’t necessarily a great way to prepare for these types of conversations because there’s really no way of knowing which direction they’ll go in. More than likely, your child will come out of the conversation with even more questions. Again, your best bet is to be honest and kind. If you decide to have this conversation, know that you’re in it together and be sure to show each other support.
Discussing your child’s adoption process with your child can be emotional and difficult, but you might find that your trust with each other grows more and more each time you talk and answer questions. Perhaps you’ll also find that the next time you talk, whether it’s about the adoption process or something else, it will be less intimidating and more comfortable. So, even if the answers you provide your child lead to more questions, keep in mind that they might also be leading you both to a more open, trusting relationship and a stronger bond with each other!
If you are a birth parent considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: 800-985-8108