That is a very loaded question, but here’s the best way I can explain it. Should they? No. No adoptee should ever feel like there is an obligation to reunite or meet with their birth family. Each adoptee has his or her own unique journey. Only that person knows what is best. With the ever-growing popularity of DNA testing for adoptees, one might feel pressure to join in. The media has virtually exploded with reunion stories from all over the world. Some stories are beautiful. Others are heartbreaking. The stories that don’t make it on TV or online are the ones where the other party didn’t want to be found. In reunion, there is not always a happy ending. That’s why it is a deeply personal decision.

When I was younger I didn’t have any desire to find my birth family. I didn’t feel like anything was missing from my life. I didn’t feel as though I had anything to gain by meeting them. Sure, I was curious about what they looked like and what had become of their lives, but that was it. After I had kids, my feelings on the subject changed. I wanted to learn more about my biological family. Years later I took a DNA test and enlisted the help of a search angel to find them. I found my birth mother, two full sisters, and two half-sisters. My birth father had passed away a few days before. I am happy to have them as a part of my life. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.

Not every reunion story works out. Some birth parents are horrible, hateful people. I have heard some pretty awful stories. The choice you have to make is whether or not the risk outweighs the benefits. Only you can decide.

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Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and a mother of two, currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life.