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Adoption, Finding the Birth Parents

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Lisa Lutz, well known author, wrote a brief article for the Sunday Times Magazine section, May 6, 2012, called, “Meet the Parents.” Lutz, herself an adopted child, discusses the fact that, at age twenty five, she wanted to meet her birth parents. She states that she never had a strong relationship with her adoptive parents and, so, never thought she would betray them by seeking her natural parents. She also clarifies the fact the she was not obsessed with finding them but only curious. She succeeded in finding and contacting both her mother and father and goes on to describe the experience.

When she called, her birth mother reacted angrily because she had set up the adoption to be private and with her identity kept secret. When Lutz apologized her mother relaxed and they spoke very briefly. She learned that her mother never had any more children. Later, they exchanged a letter and photograph and that was the end of any further contact.

Her father reacted much more positively but she discovered that he was more connected to talking about his motorcycle, boat and working out than learning anything about her. She never saw him again.

What she concluded from this was that, had she been raised by them it is unlikely she would have turned out to be the ambitious person she is.
In her own words, “Family is the luck of the draw, and so is how you turn out.”

Discussion

What is interesting about this story is that Lutz’s birth mother, even with no other children, still did not want to  know her daughter. That seems to contradict what we believe to be the natural connection between mothers and their children despite the fact that she gave her up for adoption. Where is the curiosity of the mother about her adult daughter? Although her father had a much more positive reaction to meeting Lutz, as far as we know, there was no driving wish to stay in contact with his daughter.

There is a cautionary tale here. Seeking birh parents can turn out to be very painful. For Lutz, that was the case, although, she seemed to handle it fairly well, according to what she wrote. This does not imply that people should not pursue their genetic parents but only they not have too high expectations if things do not work out well. At the very same time, there are many people who, after finding their birth parents, had wonderful experiences. For those who want to find their birth parents it’s important to have realistic expectations so as not to feel too disappointed if things do now work out well.

What are your experiences being adopted and searching for birth parents?

Your comments are always encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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