Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Are adoptees simply more curious?

Well, some adoptees?

I've been told, by a few adoptees who don't want to search, that they know who they are and they were never interested in finding their biological parents. They are, they say, content.

The temptation is to say that they are in denial. They really do want to know, but because of loyalty or other issues, they've suppressed that desire. They are trying to be the good adoptee, who wouldn't do that to their adoptive parents.

Maybe that's true.

But I'm not fond of guessing what's in someone else's heart. If they claim they aren't interested, then I'll accept their word on it.

But it begs the question: why? Why aren't they more curious?

I mean, who wouldn't want to know where they came from? Maybe, for various reasons, some won't act on that. As both Shelly and I can attest to, it's not an easy thing to do, searching for your parents. But I always wanted to know, even when I wasn't doing anything about it. I couldn't help but wonder.

I always knew that there were things about me that must have come from my biological parents. Interests, traits, looks. Knowing something about them would fill in gaps in my own story. How could I not want to know?

But some people claim not to want to know. Not just that they wouldn't search because of fears or worries or loyalty. They claim to not want to know.

I can't understand that. Maybe it's not important that I understand it. But I am trying to understand the difference between adoptees who search and those who don't. And this lack of curiosity seems important to understanding this difference. But so far I'm at a loss.

If anyone has any light to shed on this, I'd be very interested.


maybe said...

I think fear can be a factor. Fear of finding a grave, or even of finding a mother or father who has a tough life (i.e, drugs, homeless, prison etc.) After all, they were "saved" from these people, so they must be rotten.

Just a thought.

phil said...

Yeah, I do think these can play a role.

I guess I was wondering in cases where they do really lack any interest (and aren't just suppressing it for other reasons). Assuming, of course, there are such people.

Michelle said...

I think it's also the enormous struggle for adopted persons when searching for family.

I rememeber countless times when I would start to search, hit a dead end, then gave up. And a dead end would mean looking in the phone book for a name I wasn't even sure was correct, or looking AGAIN in my a-parents paperwork for a some kind of clue and finding nothing, asking my a-mother for any information and being satisfied with the little info she had - feeling bad and guilty about revealing "The Secret".

It's not like I (and most adopted people) had names and addresses where I could just pick up the phone and call. My choices were limited - my resources minimal.

For a long time it was easy to say things like, "Well she gave me away, why should I find her!- she made her bed, she can lie in it" or, "I have a family, why do I need another one?" This justified not searching, mostly because I didn't know how to search - the secrecy seemed normal - searching abnormal.

phil said...

So does that mean that there aren't people who never want to find their families? I ask because I understand the excuses I (and you, and others) used to justify not searching at various points. But I know some adoptees that claim they have never wanted to search and don't want to now. Are they all engaged in such self-deception?

maybe said...

Phil wrote, "are they all engaged in such self-deception?"

Yes, I do think that's a possibility. Because once they really loosen up they begin to state their real reasons for not searching.