It’s very much in the vernacular though. Birth parents are very “real”, too. And while they did not “parent” (or did it poorly in the case of foster care) they still have an undeniable and immovable tie to that child.
Selecting either birth parents or adoptive parents as the sole holder of “real parent” in adoption circles is akin to comparing a black person to a monkey. On the surface, it seems ok, but there are cultural connotations that make it really bad.
What is neglected in this conversation is the fact that closed adoption was often cruel towards many birth-parents. In times gone by, it was seen as a punishment towards the birth-mother. But she, with the drive to replace the child given up, may make further bad decisions. Open adoption can ease this pain. Oh, how I wish I could undo it all.
I was spoiled rotten by my parents who suffered
greatly in the World War II, it wasn’t physical
abuse nor verbal, but psychologically, it made
me feel I was NOT WORTHY of all the love and
gifts and generosity they were giving me, asking
NOTHING in return. My advice(I’m 64 now) is to
honor my parents by recognizing their OFFICE
as my elders not their ACTIONS.
I can totally understand wanting to know who ones birth parents are. It is a part of ones life story, their geaneology. That is why so many people trace their roots, and get their DNA tested.
What I don’t understand is when people say they need to know for medical purposes. What would they be finding out that they wouldn’t learn from their doctor? I am not asking this to be argumentative, I really don’t understand. Knowing family health history is not preventing illness, and we should all be concerned about taking care of our health anyway.
Usually it’s a probability and screening thing. For example, I have a strong family history of a certain hormone disorder. So if I start having symptoms that are associated with that disorder, I always get a test for that particular hormone, even if that’s not something that would normally be one of the first options to check.
There are a lot of illnesses out there that have a genetic factor, so it would probably be helpful to know if your parents had such an illness. I think the biggest thing to avoid, however, isn’t an unknown medical history, but a false medical history. It isn’t as common anymore, but there used to be a lot of adoptive parents who never told their children that they were adopted and they didn’t find out until a genetic medical issue came up.
This is a major issue. Closed adoption should not be forced on the biological parent(s). However, in cases of foster care or at the mother’s or father’s wishes it should be allowed. There have been many cases where grandparents/aunts/uncles have tried to lay claim to a child but the mother/father chose an closed adoption for a reason.
Clearly, however, it has been used unjustly to try to erase biological family…which will never work.
This has given me some things to think about. Now that I think about it I’d say that wanting to find a missing piece of their life story isn’t so bad, as it might give some closure and possibly help shape their worldviews (even if someone’s biological family was horrible it can be an example of what to avoid).
Having said that I still think that if a person’s biological parents gave them up for selfish reasons (or if Child Protective Services took them away because the biological parents were cruel or neglectful) then the adopted child should not try to cultivate a relationship with them. Emotional harm to adoptive parents aside, an adopted child can be putting themselves in danger if they try and contact a biological parent with a history of violence or theft.
Not all biological parents give their children up out of love though. I will acknowledge that there are cases where the biological parents were in extreme poverty and wanted to give their children a better life, or where they died. In such cases I would say that their love was real.
However there are less altruistic reasons a child and biological parents are seperated. There are situations where biological parents simply do not love the children they created. Sometimes they give these children up to protect their reputation or to avoid the responsibility that comes with child-rearing, sometimes they are abusive or love drugs more so Child Protective Services take the children away. Here is an article I read recently; can you honestly say that someone who does such a thing can be considered a real parent? What about the biological father in this story; do you think the adopted daughter is right to seek out her biological “father” after the the horrible things the man did?
However sometimes it’s crucial to know when these occur. It’s one thing if a genetic grandmother died of a heart condition for example at 90. It’s another thing if a biological relative died of the same at 30.
Being evil and doing bad things as a parent doesn’t make my biological parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins any less “real”. It makes them terrible parents and abhorrent people but they are still “real” and they still will ALWAYS be the biological parent. You can’t erase that.
Doing someting evil may erase the right to a relationship but it does not erase the real, biolgical bond.
Like I said…I’m adopted. When I was dating I had to be careful to look at last names and family ties to ensure I was not dating one of my many first or second cousins. The terrible things my biological family did couldn’t erase those ties. That’s just not how it works.