Adoptees Who Choose Not To Search.

Check this out:

A legitimate choice and voice: the experience of adult adoptees who have chosen not to search for their biological families.

Authors: Roche, Heather; Perlesz, Amaryll

Source: Adoption & Fostering Journal, Volume 24, Number 2, Summer 2000 , pp. 8-19(12)

Publisher: British Association for Adoption and Fostering


“Although the phenomenon of searching for biological parentage by adoptees has been well documented over the last decade, limited attention has been paid to the experience of those people who decide not to search. Heather Roche and Amaryll Perlesz present the findings from an Australian pilot project in which the experiences of three mature non-searching, adult adoptees were explored in depth. The findings indicate that the decision to search or not to search reflects an ongoing developmental life process congruent with the social and familial context of the adoptee. Loyalty to their adoptive family, comfort with and commitment to birth parents, the co-existence of a strong ethic of reciprocity, and an ethic of self-discovery and belief in a spiritual connectedness with a ‘bigger Other’ emerged as the most predominant reasons for not searching for their biological roots.The narration of their adoption stories had a very positive impact on the participants in this study. The paper concludes that there is a need for further in-depth, qualitative studies of this sort to witness and honour the adoption experience regardless of ‘search’ status.”

It’s a good thing they they conclude by saying further in-depth qualitative studies are needed . You bet they are if they truly wish to “honor the adoption experience”. I have absolutely no objection to an adoptee who does not wish to search. However, I take great exception to the adoptee who assists society in their misguided perception about those of us who DO search and even greater exception to professionals who perpetuate myth as scientific fact.This study is a farce.

Social influence has weighed heavily in their findings and should not have been taken lightly if they wished to present an accurate “study”. Searching for biological roots has absolutely nothing to do with loyalty to the adoptive family unit. This is a myth, an urban legend perpetuated by an ignorant society. If an adoptee is raised to incorporate said myth (by various guilt inflicting methods) into their belief system then yes, it will influence their drive (or lack there of) to search but that does not make it a true condition.

This: “comfort with and commitment to birth parents, the co-existence of a strong ethic of reciprocitysuggests an equal agreement. If an adoptee hasn’t searched how would they know WHAT their natural parents wishes may be? It is a well documented fact that many natural parents were given no choice in the matter of contact so I think reciprocity would be an incorrect assumption in many cases. The idea of mutual commitment to no contact and reciprocity of anonymity is completely speculative.

And just when you think it can’t get any more infuriating HERE is the cherry on this incredibly worthless study: “an ethic of self-discovery and belief in a spiritual connectedness with a ‘bigger Other’ emerged as the most predominant reasons for not searching for their biological roots.”

As the infamous Church Lady says….well isn’t that speciallllll. This finding couldn’t be more off base. My ethic of self-discovery was the reason I decided to search. It was the driving force in my ability to overlook everything I had been taught about being adopted and do what I needed to do….for me. In the process of my search I found the ability to see through the guilt driven beliefs I had been taught as a child and in turn I found my true spirituality. In other words I grew infinitely closer to my “bigger Other”.

Again, I don’t have a problem with fellow adoptees who choose not to search. I may not buy their reasoning but I don’t have a problem with it. What I DO have a problem with is any adoptee who chooses not to search yet finds it necessary to make themselves sound far more stable, self assured and spiritual than those of us who do search. Oh and heaven forbid I forget the virtue of all virtues ………Golden Retriever loyal.

Contrary to popular belief it is NOT what we find at the end of our search that empowers our sense of self. It is the search itself in which we discover who we are and what we are made of. It is the strength we find when we follow our intuitive desire to know ourselves better despite the roadblocks thrown in front of us by the nay saying society in which we live.

They should do a study on that kind of power which if bottled could light up an entire continent with it’s shining and truthful beauty.



Filed under Adoption Schmoption, Truthful Musings

6 responses to “Adoptees Who Choose Not To Search.

  1. I decided to search, but it wasn’t until I was 18 years old, and realized I was an adult with my own life in my own hands. I don’t think I would have called it “loyalty” issues for not searching earlier, or not having my parents active participants in the search… but it was sort of an off-shoot of loyalty, like I wanted to protect my parents… from my acknowledgment that their child (me) could get hurt. I would recommend teasing out the definition of “loyalty” because yes, I am loyal to my adoptive parents, at the same time being loyal to myself, so it’s not a dualist situation.

    Also, fear of being hurt I think is a genuinely good reason not to search. I wouldn’t recommend searching for someone who judged him/herself as not ready for the process, even if that means never. I hit bottom in my process and it was devastating, and while I emerged a greater, stronger and more spiritual person for it, I can only imagine on someone else it could have been tragic.

  2. mia

    There is no doubt AYo that it takes a very strong individual to make the journey. I hate to say it but there are no fairy tale endings waiting at the end of the road. Not even for those who are met with open arms. What gives us strength is taking charge of our own identity which is kept from us, usually against our will. It is our identities that we search for, not replacement mommies and daddies. The opportunity to create a positive relationship with our natural parents is no doubt a wonderful and extremely healing bonus but finding the missing part of who we are is the main objective. In the process of our search (regardless of the outcome) we take back a power that has been denied us our entire lives. That is the power I speak of.

    I don’t think loyalty has to be all inclusive…as in you are either loyal or you are not. I think in this case loyalty does take on a dual form. I am loyal to my parents in a million different ways. However when it comes to searching we should be the recipients of loyalty from our adoptive parents, not the other way around. Their loyalty to our needs as human beings with a history all our own should exist but rarely does. My parents were supportive of my search but if they had not been I would have proceeded without their emotional support. I will say it was MUCH easier with it and brought us much closer than if I had had to do it secretively. Either way, the level of loyalty I have for my adoptive parents remains and always will. I just never allowed a sense of loyalty (in this case misplaced) to be a part of the equation when it came to my search.

    Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. OK I know I haven’t had a whole lot of coffee yet, having slept in late, but am I reading this correctly that this study consisted of a total of three participants?

  4. mia

    That’s what it says. Maybe they are three very special adoptees.

  5. But wait, aren’t ALL adoptees special? You know, “specially chosen” and “specially rescued” etc.?


    If that study weren’t Australian then I’d suspect NCFA of funding it.

  6. Cath

    3 people? That’s not very impressive.

    You can hardly call that a project, study or report, can you?

    They would be better off calling it the “Opinions of 3 people” (but that would not sound as good, would it, LOL)

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