Searching For Your Birth Family Does’t Guarantee Happiness

     Adoptees search for their birth family for answers about their life, and often to find a place where they will belong especially if life did not work out with their adoptive family. Sadly, adoption reunions cannot always guarantee answers or a place to call home. It can complicate everything! Every part of your life and your existence can be turned upside down. Everything you thought it would be has a high possibility of never being. Searching and reuniting with your birth family can be the worse decision you ever made in your life.
    I began searching for my family about ten years ago and reunited with my family in November 2012. I remember being incredibly enthusiastic at the thought of meeting them and what my life would be like.
    It was the fuel to my search that kept me up till 4 am every day for years putting pieces together. As I searched, I dreamed about doing the sister and brotherly things siblings do, and my little brother picking on me and annoying the living daylights out of me. I dreamed of him protecting me even though I was older from the no-good guys and putting me up on game with what boys do.
    What I never thought about or imagined was heartache, depression, sadness, anxiety, or tears.
    I never imagined only having the words, “Yo tambien te amo y the queiro ver (I love you too, and I want to see you)” be the first and last words I would hear him say to me over the phone. I never imagined having to make a memorial for him at a river across the world because he was murdered, and I was advised not to go to the funeral; it wasn’t safe.
    This cruel world took the only sibling I always knew I had away from me. I carried Ray in my heart every day since I knew I was adopted. I never imagined carrying him to the grave in spirit, and talking to him in my dreams.
    It’s funny, my entire life I was afraid of the dark until he passed. I no longer mind being in pitch black darkness. I wait for him to show up in those moments. I never see him, but I know he is there protecting me through the darkness.
    My birth family and those that have seen pictures of my birth mom often say to me, “You are your mother’s child” because I resemble her so much and have the same personality as her. I thought between looks and attitude we would be inseparable once we met, but what I did not expect is not even being able to look her in the eyes, the woman that I mirror.
    In my head I rehearsed the line, “don’t ask me to take off my sunglasses because I won’t.” I could only imagine the thoughts running through my birth mother’s head as she sat by me. I never let my guard down, not even for a moment in front of her. I wanted to love her and love on her as a daughter should, but for some reason, I could not let myself do so. Perhaps it was a warning sign for what was to come.
    Just four months later my little brother Ray, the brother I always knew about and loved was murdered.
    A year has passed now, and I have no answers about my life. I am not sure why I was placed for adoption, why I was abandoned, or who my father is. I do not know if I even care to know. Does it even matter at this point? Although adoption saved my life and I know it was the best thing that could have happened to me, it is also the worst thing that happened to me. My life wasn’t great, but whose is? Every family struggles.
    In my heart I wish I could have an open relationship with my birth mom, but at this point as I continue to heal from the back to back blows of pain since reuniting with my family at a hospital trauma center where one of my little brother’s was in a coma to burying my other little brother, it’s best I do not complicate my life any more than it is. Boundaries are incredibly important to your sanity when it comes to reunion.
    The truth is, you cannot go into a reunion with expectations to find a better family or a better fit in a family. You cannot go into reunion thinking it will solve all your problems. You have to prepare not to have any of your questions answered. Although I love birth family deeply, especially my siblings, I sometimes wish I never chose to search. I realized, especially in regards to my mom, my adoptive mom is my mom without a doubt. They say blood is thicker than water; I don’t find it to be true.
    I have learned that happiness is created and not found. Happiness is about knowing that everything won’t be perfect all the time, but that there is so much to be happy about. Therefore, even if things aren’t perfect with your adoptive family, but they still love you, you have more than many have. If your reunion does not go as planned or as you dreamed it would be, you cannot let it bring you down or steal your joy. Hold onto the people that love you and want to see you thrive in life. Hold onto the people that never stop telling you they love you and hug you. Get all the hugs you can get because life can sometimes be one heck of a bumpy journey. Expect nothing out of life except your happiness. You will find it if you allow yourself to.
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    Jessenia Parmer
    Jessenia Parmer
    I'm Jessenia. I am an adult adoptee with 10 years of experience advocating and fostering relationships with adoptees, and over five years of experience teaching adoptive parents how to have a successful and genuine relationship with their adopted child.


    1. one love says:

      WOW…it's like your in my head! Praying that we both will find peace.

    2. ajay noronha says:

      Jessenia, you write beautifully and I could feel and share your pain n joy and unanswered questions about life. Just wanted to give a nice big warm hug.
      – Ajay

    3. Banyan33 says:

      I have chosen to not find my birth father and family. It has been the most painful decision. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find peace and happiness. Your willingness to share gives me some hope and reassurance in my choice.

      • Hi Banyan33,

        Is there a reason you chose not to search? Deciding to search or not to are both very painful decisions an adoptee has to make. There's no promising outcomes. One thing I wish I did not do was go into with expectations. It is hard, but I wish I would have had a free spirit inside of me. It goes back to our background and how our adoption was handled. My reason to search years ago was to find a family that would accept me and love me. Something I had yearned for my entire life. That is where I believe I went wrong. I wasn't wrong for wanting that; however, I was wrong for putting all of that expectation on someone that once gave me up. Thank you so much of for your kind words. As everyday that passes I am finding more and more peace through God. He has been showing my purpose through this and providing me with the love I have been searching for through people like you and other adoptees I have connected to. We are a family in my eyes 🙂

        Do what is best for you and what your heart feels. Pray about it. Search and reunion isn't for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with finding out and that is what you need. Oftentimes, it is through conquering fear in times like this that we find out how strong we are no matter that outcomes. No matter what, always know you have a purpose and you are greatly LOVED! Please keep in contact.

    4. Dominique says:

      I found my birth mother and met her once. She is still using heroin and it crushed my little soul that dreamed of my mother from when I was a little girl idk I always say maybe the fantasizing is better than the finding. you never know what youre going to find. i was reunited with my birthfather and he sabotaged my relationship with my adoptive parents

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