Finding your birth family is a completely personal choice. Everyone’s adoption journey is different, and everyone’s reactions to and feelings about that journey are unique. For me it was more of an evolution of thought than just a choice. I went through a complete turnaround over the span of about 30 years. As a child, I had absolutely no desire to reunite with my biological family. My thinking changed little by little over the years, especially once I had children. Now that I have found my birth family, I wish I had made the decision to reunite with them much earlier. My birth father passed away three days before I found him. I never got to know him, and he never got to meet his only grandsons.

Many adoptees have no wish to find birth family, and that is perfectly okay. They may never change their mind. I think each adoptee has the right to choose whether or not to have communication with his or her birth family. Some adoptees speak to a feeling that something has been missing from their life, but many do not. I never felt like anything was missing. My adoptive family always felt like my whole family.

Any decision to reunite with birth family should be carefully thought out. All possible outcomes should be considered. I’ve been involved in enough reunions to know that there are usually surprises that people may not be prepared for. Sometimes birth parents don’t want to be found. Other times, looking for birth family can cause issues with adoptive family. Often when dealing with adoption, family secrets can be unpleasant or uncomfortable. You must weigh the positive and negative aspects of a reunion, along with your emotional status, when determining whether or not to search.

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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.