More thoughts on screening for adoptees

12 Oct

Still mulling on, fuming on the audacity of The National Council for Adoption Advocate suggesting that DTC genetic companies should screen for adoptees by asking them if they’re adopted and then providing “adoption professionals” to contact for help so it’s “adoption-supportive and sensitive”.  In my effort to consider whether they have a point re the “adoption professionals”, I googled adoption agencies+reunion advice.

First agency result was Adoptions With Love but for the Birthparent.  What I didn’t like, nor made any sense if you  were “searching” was the tidbit to make sure the adoptive parents were good with the reunion, and the use of the term “adopted child” throughout.

Second agency result was American Adoptions whose advice is very common sense and also provided some ways to make the first contact, and for the most part was very even-handed, even pointing out:

“Adoption reunions can bring complicated, long-buried emotions back to the surface. Not everyone is willing to, ready to, or able to process these feelings. So an adoption reunion should be very carefully considered before you take any action to reunite.”

The third agency result was Deaconess Adoption which I neither liked or disliked.  They plugged their counselling services in the post.

Prior to the third adoption agency in the google search was the Adoption Council of Canada while it didn’t offer common sense advice and ways to make initial contact that American Adoptions did, they started with the age-old questions that pop-up when considering searching.

“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.”

They also provided advice on books to read, knowing the laws of disclosure by province, and finding peer support groups, they also include links to assist finding the information you need.  This stood out to me:

“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”.

What was missing in the above posts, or barely mentioned (if I missed it) was what I have found to be one of the most often discussed topic by adoptees who are searching or have reunited that causes the adoptee a whole lot of angst:

  • how to deal with my [adoptive] parents feelings,
  • should I tell my [adoptive] parents, when should I tell them,
  • how to reassure my parents,
  • how to deal with the jealousy/insecurity being displayed by my [adoptive] mom,
  • the feelings of being disloyal if your [adoptive] parents aren’t dealing with it well.

Perhaps the “adoption professionals” can focus on that area [adoptive parent insecurity] and how that can make searching and reuniting so much harder on the adoptee.  Work with adoptive parents to get over their fears and insecurity for the good of the adoptee.

What I do know is every search and outcome will be unique to the people involved.  I used a paid confidential intermediary adoption reunion service when I was sick – it went badly – whose fault I can’t say; I suspect timing, the family members, a newbie CI making contact, whatever the reason, it was a mess.  When I made contact with my aunt who wasn’t part of the mess, it was fine and natural.  I’m sure like everything else, there are both good and bad outcomes using a service.

I’m not against using a counselor during this time, I actually think it would be beneficial.  I am against “screening for adoptees” being promoted by anyone in adoption.  Not okay at all.  Figure out another way to contact adult adoptees to offer services and support, perhaps engaging with them on Facebook or Twitter.  What I do know is ignoring their outrage and comments on your Facebook and Twitter accounts about your suggestion that DTC genetic test companies screen for adoptees is not acceptable.



Posted by on October 12, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “More thoughts on screening for adoptees

  1. Lara/Trace

    October 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Absolutely right, Tao, about no screening. And the option of adoption counselling is something to recommend (now that it is an actual thing.)


    • TAO

      October 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Exactly, they have the power of social media to connect, no to screening.

      Liked by 1 person


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