Finding My Birth Mother: Here's What Helped

By Alisha Bennett, LMSW

Almost two years ago, I submitted paperwork to initiate a search for my birth mother in South Korea. It was something I always knew that I wanted to do but it took me years to find the courage to finally do it. I was fortunate enough to find my birth mother and maintain a relationship with her and other family that I have met. Since then, I have had many adoptees ask about my experience because of where they were in their own thinking about their searches. So, this month’s blog is a little more personal than usual, but nonetheless I thought it could be helpful for other adoptees or parents who have adopted children. I fully understand and acknowledge that my story is not everyone’s story but here’s what I, as an adoptee, found to be helpful in going through such an emotional journey: 

  • Have a good, strong support system. Whether that be good friends, a significant other, family member, or therapist, you will need people to navigate the ups and downs of this. It will help to have people around you that support you and your decisions, and validate your feelings. Don’t go through this alone.  

  • If you know other adoptees, talk to them about your experiences. If you don’t, watch or read about other adoptee’s experiences that have went through something similar.

  • Give yourself time to process all of the different emotions that you may have. Try not to push down or avoid the uncomfortable feelings that may come up and talk about them if they feel overwhelming. 

  • Manage your expectations. Try not to let yourself experience the extremes of best case and worst case, but what is possible. Until it’s an absolute no, there’s still a possibility and hope that you can find who you are looking for. If you don’t find them, the journey may give you answers that you didn’t have before. 

  • My adoptive parents and siblings were 100% supportive of this decision for me which I found tremendously helpful. I don’t know what it would have been like to navigate this without their support and encouragement. They did not make my search about them. They didn’t show me their insecurities if they had any. They let this be my journey and my story. That is what I hope for anyone going through this. 

Alisha Bennett is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support in prioritizing and taking care of your mental health, contact Cobb Psychotherapy and see how therapy can help.