Is It Wrong To Deny Your Birth Child The Opportunity To Meet You After They’ve Been Adopted?
Thanks to Lifetime, many of us have been privy to see how adopted children fictionally heal from their abandonment issues. Usually in these made-for-television films, adopted children magically reunite with their birth parents, gain a new set of siblings and live happily ever after, if they’re lucky. In the real world, an adopted child’s luck may not stretch as far.
Last week, Maggie Geimer wrote a poignant piece for XOJane about her birth mother who didn’t want to meet her. Before readers got into the details about her birth mother’s sting of rejection, Geimer allowed them to enter her world where her supportive adoptive parents gave her nothing but honesty, love and care. They told her she was not their biological child since she was a toddler through fairy tales: “Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who wanted a baby more than anything. They were very sad that they didn’t have a baby so they went to a magical place called an adoption agency, where there was a little princess. The princess came home with the king and queen and they lived happily ever after. And do you know what? That little princess is you!”
As Geimer transitioned into her teenage years, angst began to fill her once she felt she was not entirely understood by her parents. Like most teens who believe those outside their immediate family understand them better, Geimer began to fantasize about life with her biological mother and how it may be better than with her adoptive parents. She revealed in her piece, “I knew her extremely common name, the fact she was short like me and that she was talkative, also like me. An overactive imagination took over from there and created the perfect parent.” As Geimer became older, she shifted her focus on entering college and new relationships, though thoughts of meeting her birth mother mounted.
Since Geimer had a closed adoption, she had to wait until she was 21 to receive her original birth certificate. When she did receive it, she immediately tried all channels to search for her birth mother, eventually finding her on Facebook. She decided to send her a message and also found a counselor from her adoption agency to help her with the process. Unfortunately, Geimer’s search was cut short with a letter her birth mother sent the adoption agency, detailing her medical history and a note explaining she would not like to be contacted by Geimer. The news broke Geimer’s heart but also freed her from feeling guilty about searching for her mother— a turmoil most adoptive children face because they feel like they have to choose between their biological and adoptive families.
Although Geimer received her own epiphanies about her birth mother, as a reader I was stunned and deeply disappointed. Geimer’s mother’s personal issues became the deciding factor in why she didn’t want to connect with her daughter, though a fraction of me feels it’s a sad excuse. I understand the decision to have a closed adoption but I also believe adoptive children are owed the opportunity to meet their birth parents and extended family and the opportunity it offers to feel “whole,” especially when many feel like an outsider within their adoptive families. I have two cousins who were adopted and behaved irrationally prior to being introduced to their birth families. I am sure if they never received the opportunity to create those bonds with them, their lives and even mental health would have taken a turn for the worse.
Although each family’s story is different and birth parents are not fully responsible for their children’s emotions as they navigate life, should they be mandated to at least met with them when they’re adults?