Searching and Reuniting
Should I search for my birth family?
The decision to search is not an easy one for many adopted adults and their parents by birth. “What if they don’t want to know me? What if I don’t like what I find?” adoptees wonder. Original parents ask themselves, “What if he doesn’t know he was adopted?” or “Do I have the right to interfere in her life?
These are all natural questions. After all, in an adoption search we are seeking answers about ourselves, our heritage, or our children. None of this is to be entered into lightly. What we find will change our lives forever.
Most people find answers and these answers bring with them a sense of peace.
Preparing to Search
Before embarking on an adoption search, the ACC suggests that you educate yourself about the process and the emotions you may (unexpectedly) encounter. You will find many useful books on our book list.
We also suggest joining a support group for adopted adults and original parents. Nothing can replace the support and advice that adopted adults and original parents can share with you. No one else really understands what it is like to be missing vital information about yourself or to have surrendered a child to adoption. There are several local in-person support groups located all across the country. Visit our support page to find one close to you. There are also online support groups whose members can provide invaluable advice and support.
How to Search
Adoption disclosure laws differ by province. To find the laws that govern the province in which you were adopted / surrendered a child to adoption, click on any of the links below.
For help understanding your provincial adoption law, contact the ACC office or a local support group. Local groups can also provide you with tips on how to conduct a discrete and respectful adoption search and with contact information for experienced adoption searchers in your area.
Often reunion brings with it unexpected emotions. Adoptees mourn the family and identity they lost. Parents who surrendered a child to adoption often revisit the feelings of loss they experienced at the time of the adoption. All of this can be very scary and emotional.
Local support groups are filled with people who have experienced adoption reunion and are happy to help you work through what you are feeling. They can also direct you to an adoption competent therapist in your area. Reading books about adoption reunion and the effects of adoption on adoptees and their parents by birth may also be helpful.
Some reunited adoptees and original parents create a new family while still respecting the adoptee’s existing adoptive family. Others prefer to visit occasionally and maintain a friend-based relationship. Still others meet and then decide that they have the answers they are seeking. No one mould fits every relationship. The vast majority of adoptees and their parents by birth report that, whatever the outcome, they are very glad they searched and found answers to their questions.
Canadian Government/Provincial Links
This section outlines the provincial laws regulating adoption disclosure.
Each province in Canada has a different set of laws that regulates how adopted adults and their birth parents may reconnect.
Should you have any questions about adoption disclosure in your area, please feel free to contact the ACC directly, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-54-ADOPT.