For many decades, adoptions were closed. Birth and adoptive families were not really given the option of an open adoption, or an open adoption beyond a basic simple “contract” of letters sent for an initial few years. This left grown adoptees to search for their birth family in their early adult years. Their curiosity and quest for answers sent them out looking. We can only imagine what adoptees felt/feel when they set out to find their birth family in hopes of filling in the missing pieces of their story. As some adoptees refer to as “the hole in my heart.”
Thankfully, we’re learning. We’re learning what an open adoption from day one can do for an adoptee. It provides connections and relationships with their birth family. It prevents secrecy and shame. It allows adoptees to explore the entirety of their identity. It gives them permission to ask questions. And then find answers. Open adoption is ever evolving, changing and growing. Thank goodness for that.
However, for the adoptees of generations past, searching and reunification is still very much a challenge they are facing. When an adoptee sets out to find their birth family as a young adult, it becomes an event. Sometimes a very big event. Fear and anxiety often accompany the search. What will I find? Will I be accepted? What if I don’t find anything? We see the viral “happy” picture perfect reunions. But that’s not always the full story.
In an upcoming three part series by our founder, Julie Craft, we are going to explore the myths of searching, what you may find when you set out on your search and Julie and her daughter’s personal story of search and reunification. The growth of open adoption is changing the landscape of search and reunification. In many cases eliminating it all together. For those of you still on the quest, follow along as we explore the adoptees search and reunification journey.