My bf was adopted out of Asia. He's never sought out his birth parents. Should I encourage him to?
My longtime bf was adopted out of Asia to the U.S. as a baby. His white parents are absolutely awesome and he had a picture-perfect childhood (seriously--like something out a story book. I'm jealous!). For as long as I've known him (10+ years), he's never spent much time thinking about his birth mother/parents. His general attitude has been one of, "They didn't want me, so why should I be interested in them?" I got where he was coming from, and it was more than fine with me. I'm not the type to believe in Reclaiming your Roots and Duty and the Motherland and things like that (I'm a 2nd gen Asian American). And if he didn't feel the need to look more into his adoption, I didn't feel the need, either. But lately...certain developments have arisen that have caused me to rethink my position.
It all started when we watched the documentary Somewhere Between
. It follows the lives of a few Chinese adoptees and how they decide to (or NOT to) find their birth parents. It hit him hard. REALLY hard. I was surprised, to say the least. I realized my entire understanding of how he processed his own history was inaccurate, at best. Around the same time, we had to move some boxes of his childhood things from his parents' house to our own. I came across a small box and asked him what was in it. He said it was his adoption papers. I asked if I could look at them, and he said sure...he also mentioned that he himself had never really looked at them, which I thought was odd. We looked at them together and I was shocked to discover that the location and name of the hospital he was born in, along with the name of his birth mother, was written there in plain ink. There were also paragraphs of description about what his personality as a baby was like, written by someone like a social worker-equivalent over there. I think I always knew that there was some denial at work in his mind, but discovering that there was this much information about his past right under his nose his entire life and that he'd never even looked at it made me realize the extent of it.
Completely separately from all this, one of my close relatives recently relocated to the country my bf was born in and has been asking us to visit. It's a rare opportunity to spend a good amount of time in that country with the translation support we'd need to do some research (and we can't forget the financial support, like free housing). My relative is there for work purposes, so the window of opportunity won't be around forever.
There are so many negative what-ifs about delving into this arena: What if we try and we can't find his birth mother? What if we DO find her, and she slams the door in his face? What if she's already passed on? What if we find her, and she's overcome with guilt that she expects him to forgive? If you think about it, there really aren't that many happy endings to the situation. They weren't torn apart by fate. A choice was made for him when he was a baby and many lives were irrevocably changed--most for the better, but possibly some for worse.
But despite all these things, my BIGGEST fear is that we don't pursue this...and in 20 years he will look back and wish he had tried to get some answers when we had the opportunity. And it will be too late.
I've had 1-2 short conversations with my bf about all this. I've tried to make it clear that if he has any desire, even the tiniest bit, to look for his birth parents, now is probably the time. And that whatever he decides, I'll support him. I've also tried to gently press on him that whoever his birth parents are, they are probably in their 60s by now, and time won't wait for us. He says he understands. But I also now know he has a history of denial, and it's easy to put off a huge project like this one. I think this is basically the situation now: Unless I take it upon myself to start planning and coordinating this venture, it's just not going to happen (plus, it's my relative who's in that country now). But doing so might upset him. And, in the end, it might conclude with some kind of horrible life-changing experience, like his birth mother shutting the door in his face. So I don't want to do it. And it's his life, not mine, so I shouldn't butt my way in...
...or should I?
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