Sunday’s Washington Post Outlook section featured two different stories about evolving adoptee connection with birth family:
The first story focused on a Chinese girl who had been placed for adoption at age 3 by her Chinese birth parents due to the one-child policy; she was later adopted and raised by a family in Seattle. Through a series of unique circumstances she found her birth family, has visited and forged relationships with them, and recently her Chinese birth brother actually moved in with her family in Seattle so he could study in the United States.
The second story focused on a girl adopted domestically as a baby. Her adoption was a “semi-open” adoption, which involved letters and photographs being sent from the adoptive parents to the birth mother. When the girl was ten, the adoptive family contacted the birth mother and let her know that “my daughter would like to meet you” and the adoption became an open adoption. The relationship between the adoptee and birth mother has evolved and gone through several stages, involving both challenges and joy.
While each story is very different, they do highlight the changes which are rapidly occurring in adoption. Several decades ago most domestic adoptions were closed as were nearly all international adoptions. In this day of social media, cultural changes regarding adoption, and genetic testing, it is not uncommon for closed adoptions – even internationally – to open up.
Barker’s Department of Family and Post-Adoption Services has worked with many adoptive and birth families as they navigate these uncharted new connections and help guide the often complex relationships that develop as a result. If you would like more information, please contact Varda Makovsky at 301-664-9664 or postadopt [at] barkerfoundation.org