If you’re an adoptee who grew up in a closed adoption, you’ve probably spent years imagining what it would be like to finally meet your birth parents: the words you would say to them, the answers to the questions you’ve always had.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to think about a possible rejection. Your birth parents would be just as enthusiastic about a new relationship with you as you are about one with them.
But, as you already know, that isn’t always the case.
If you’ve managed to establish contact with your birth family, and you’re currently facing an adoption rejection, you probably have a lot of questions. While we might not be able to pin down the exact reason for why your birth parent doesn’t want contact, we’ve come up with a few possibilities to help you understand where they’re coming from.
Thinking of the Adoption Might Be Too Painful
No matter what anyone else may think, adoption is never an easy decision to make. Every birth parent chooses adoption for a different reason. Birth parents often face a slew of difficult emotions during, and even long after, their adoption is finalized. Most birth parents have also experienced feelings of grief, loss, anger and regret that are common when placing a child for adoption.
Having to acknowledge those feelings all over again can be extraordinary painful, and some birth parents just aren’t ready to go through that. So, more than likely, their decision has little to do with you and more to do with the stage they’re currently at in their life. Seeing a message or receiving a phone call from the child they placed for adoption might just be too much for them to handle right now.
A Birth Mother Kept the Adoption a Secret
There are countless reasons why a birth mother might have kept her adoption a secret. She might have chosen to close the door on a future relationship with her child in fear of what her family or close friends might say. Depending on her relationship with the birth father or her living situation, a secret adoption could have been the best way to protect herself and her baby.
If a birth mother decides to start a relationship with the child she placed for adoption, she may have to disclose the information with friends and family she initially hid it from. Refusing contact with her biological child might be the only way that she can protect herself from an uncomfortable situation.
They’re Not Ready for a New Relationship
It may comfort you to know that, when a birth parent chooses a closed adoption, they don’t often do so lightly. It takes a lot of thought and preparation to pursue this type of post‐placement arrangement. After all, placing a child for adoption is already one of the most heartbreaking sacrifices any parent can make.
Some birth parents see a confidential adoption as an opportunity to heal from their experience and a chance to move forward. When they’ve already closed that chapter of their lives, starting a new relationship with their newly found child might not be possible.
How to Cope With Rejection from Birth Parents
These are just a few of the many reasons why a birth parent might not want contact. But, remember: Every adoption is different, and your birth parent’s reasons for refusing contact may or may not fit these categories. Even so, we know that this is a devastating loss, and you’re probably wondering where to go from here. What you’re feeling is normal and it’s okay to grieve the loss of a relationship with your birth family.
If your adoption search ends in a rejection, there are a few ways to cope with the loss of a potential relationship.
- Reach out to friends and family: Your loved ones want to know about what’s going on in your life. So, try not to bottle everything up. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the people who care about you to get through this difficult period.
- Get to know other adoptees: Grappling with a rejection from your birth family is extremely painful. But there are other adult adoptees who know what you’re going through. You can reach out to them through a support group, online forums or another method.
- Prepare yourself ahead of time: Rejection is always going to sting. Going into an adoption search with realistic expectations can help ease the pain. Remember that your birth parent’s decision has nothing to do with you as a person, but rather with an unfortunate set of circumstances out of your control. If a rejection does happen, this knowledge may comfort you.
- Talk to an adoption counselor or therapist: Coming to terms with a birth parent rejection will take time, and you might not be able to handle it on your own. When that happens, it’s time to seek professional help. An adoption professional or therapist can help you navigate this period in your life and help you move forward.
It will take a lot of patience on your part until you’re at a place where you can accept your birth parents’ decision. We just want you know that the reason behind their answer has nothing to do with who you are as person, even if it feels like it right now. The loss of one relationship does not define you, so try to stay positive as you write the next chapter of your life. Remember that there are many people who want the best for you and are here to support you any way they can.
If you’re still having trouble coping, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for support.