Should I meet my birth mom?

I recently found my birth mother on Facebook. Should I reach out? 

You have a right to know where you come from, says our elder. But figure out what you want from her first.


Dear EWC

I’m 19 years old and recently I found out I was adopted. I was so confused but it made sense and didn’t come as a complete shock to me because I don’t look anything like my parents, but I am mad that they didn’t tell me sooner. I decided I want to meet my birth parents to figure out more about where I came from and what they’re like. My parents told me that my mother was only 15 when she had me. She was poor, lived in a poor neighborhood and didn’t have the maturity to raise a child and she didn’t have a good home life either so she was scared for my safety since her mother was an alcoholic and they said they never met my birth father but he did sign my birth certificate. I found out my father lived a few blocks from me and let’s just say he was very angry and hostile when I told him I was his daughter and he told me to stay away from him. I finally found my birth mother on Facebook, but now I’m scared to contact her. I’m afraid she’ll react the same way my father did. What should I say to her? Should I even contact her at all? or just ignore my curiosity? What should I do? 


Folk replies

I am very sorry to hear that your birth father reacted so nastily to being contacted by you. Based on his reaction, I can certainly understand why you are scared and conflicted about reaching out to your birth mom now. The only way for you to know if she will react the same way as your father though is for you to go ahead and try contacting her. It may help if instead of just cold calling her, you send her a short message on Facebook first to give her a little time to sort out her feelings and think about how she wants to react. I suggest that you include a picture of yourself and your phone number so that she can contact you when (and if) she feels ready.

Emotions are pretty complicated things. Try thinking about it this way: you were pretty mad when your parents finally told you that you were adopted, right? Deep down, you probably understood that they did not keep this information from you for so long because they wanted to hurt you. They did it because they loved you and wanted you to grow up feeling secure. OK, maybe they should have said something a lot sooner, but they had to make a judgment call, and if they erred on the side of waiting too long, it was only because they were scared the information would come as a shock to you and were worried about how you might react. Now, the shoe is kind of on the other foot. Now you are the one who is considering dropping a bombshell on your birth mom and are worrying about how she might react.

I strongly feel that if you want to contact your birth mother, you absolutely should. You want to know more about who you are and where you came from and you have every right to this information. But I’m sure you also understand how being contacted by the adult woman whom the little baby she placed for adoption all those years ago has grown into might be overwhelming for your birth mom.

Before you contact your birth mom, it may be a good idea to figure out exactly what you want from her. Are you just curious? Is this a one time thing? Do you just want information? Or are you hoping to have an ongoing relationship with her? Do you want to become part of her family and get to know everyone? Do you want her to meet your adoptive parents? There are many possible permutations and complications to meeting your birth mom, so it’s best to prepare by knowing what you want ahead of time. If you do meet you birth mom,  be upfront with her and let her know what you need from her and what you are able to give her.

I truly hope that you do get to meet your birth mom. But I want to warn you to be prepared for a flood of emotions if you do. There’s likely to be is a rush of adrenaline, pain, fear, rage, sadness, joy, you name it. And your birth mom is likely to feel very much the same way. Luckily for you, your adoptive parents (and friends and family) will be waiting in the wings to support you through this.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Please try to write back if you can to let me know what you decide to do and how things work out for you. I will be rooting for you all the way.

Article #: 472516

Category: Family

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