This is a question in response to girl478o’s post, re: “Is it my search to begin?”
First of all, thank you for the thoughtful insights on this forum.
We are on the verge of trying again to search for our adaughter’s birth family, after failed informal and formal searches 7+/- years ago. At that time, dd was only 2 y/o and if the searches had been successful, and if the bmother or other family would have wanted it, we would have liked to have met them and established an on-going relationship involving dd. That way, we thought, it would have just been part of her growing up.
Now that she is 9, however, we are concerned about involving her if and when we make contact. Our plan has been to try to establish a relationship via letters and perhaps meet the birthfamily ourselves (aparents) so that if and when dd is ready, she can meet her first family and can have whatever information we’ve been able to obtain (granted, from our POV or privileged status). Various child specialists have indicated that it’s better to initiate contact between the bfamily and child when the child is very young or is past adolescence. Also, it is our informed belief that dd is not ready at this point. Like some of you have posted, she just wants to be like everybody else at this point in her development; for several years, she has not wanted to discuss adoption/doesn’t follow-up when I bring it up; she says “I don’t know” when asked if she would like to be able to meet her bmother and never brings it up or shows any sort of angst around her life circumstances. Of course it’s on her mind, but unlike the adaughter of a good friend, she doesn’t (yet) grieve her loss or lot in life.
So I guess my question is, as adults, can you think back to being 9 and how it would have felt at that point in your development to suddenly meet your bmother or other bfamily? I imagine the experience in meeting a bmother or bfather vs. bsiblings (or extended family such as grandparents) would be different from meeting parents. Can you understand why some professionals (including a searcher who witnessed meetings between children and birth families) recommend that this not be introduced to older children (5 – 14/16 y/o) and do you disagree? The real snag for me is the “What if” – i.e. what if something happened to the bmother, etc. (she died or moved and we lose contact) and dd misses the opportunity to know her in person.