Finding birthx family


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I apologize ahead of time as I fairly often do this...but I might ask for this post to be removed at some point due to privacy concerns.

our adopted daughter found her birth family recently. She is in her early thirties. She was diagnosed with Bipolar around age six. At least suspected. It was very obvious by age ten. Very extreme symptoms. Moodiness, impulsivitity, at times violent, over sensitive , won’t sleep , little to no cause and effect reasoning, reckless behaviors etc. Again...extreme.

it was hard finding the right medications. And she won’t go to therapy.

Eventually, we found medications that work fairly well.

The (negative) impact her illness had on our family is huge.

Each one of us.

she has a good heart...and I mean this. has it been hard.

she is embracing her adopted family like they are the cure to all her woes. I kind of understand. It’s like a key to a locked door.

sadly and kind of interestingly..there is much mental illness in the bio family as well as other often related difficult problems.

Her bio mom, is the most serious having both bipolar and schizophrenia. She won’t take medications and disappears often and right now relatives don’t know where she is at. They rarely do.

I saw a photo of her and I was taken aback that she is the spitting image of our daughter. And is obese. Our daughter has been very heavy, but has recently gained much weight and is now dangerously heavy.

anyone else have their “special needs” adopted adult child find their bio family? How did that go? Any advice?

I might create a separate thread on the weight concerns.
Thank you.

overcome mom

Active Member
My son’s birth mother contacted him when he was 16 through Facebook. He had been running away at that point and ran to her house which was about 2 hours from where we live. I was in contact with her and she lied to me that he was there. She was upset with my husband and I that we had not approved her visit with him when he was 11. She told him stories about us that were untrue. She also told him about another child that she placed for adoption which she had given us an option to adopt, and we did not. This of course was very upsetting to my son and he had no explanation at all from us why we chose not to do this. He too felt like he had found his place with her. He has never said that we were bad parents never said that he ran away because of things being bad at home.

After that time, he kept in contact with her on a sporadic basis. He was placed in numerous residential facilities and then had criminal activity and went to prison. She seemed to realize what major problems he had and then cutoff contact with him. She was looking for the perfect child which he was not. Fast forward to when he was 24, he went to stay with her for a short period of time (two weeks) as he had no place to live. She ended up kicking him out with no place to go to. I really don't know why she did this but since that time he has not had contact with her. He also h realized as he's gotten older that she has major issues. Two of his half siblings that she did not adopt out have both left her house and have very little contact with her.

Like your daughter’s birth mother, she is also very much like him. She has not been able to keep a job longer than six months, was kicked out of the military and had five children by 5 different men. A lot of her behaviors are very much like his. There are also addiction issues in the family.

I really don't know what advice to give you but what we did was just let it play out. He finally figured out that she had a lot of problems and was not going to support him. When he was younger it was very hard and scary to have her in his life. As he got older, I thought if he could work out any kind of issues he has about his adoption that would be a good thing. Also felt that the more people he had supporting him the better.


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Kay had wanted to know her birthmother and said so very early. God knows we would help her find her birthmother and have tried through social media but she was born in another country and so far we luck. Even contacting the agency...they could.not find her.

I think Kay NEEDS to meet her birthmother in order to ever feel whole. Some adopted kids do. Even if her birthmother is a mess, as I suspect, Kay needs to know. But she can't find her. In her case, it's too bad.

In a few moments when Kay was saner and younger and not so hateful she would say that she feels like she has no identity, that she wants to know why she looks like she does and why she is gifted in music and why she is loud and jolly while the rest of us are quiet spoken and softer. Are personality traits inherited? I have no answers. But Kay thinks so and Kay is very bothered that her flamboyant personality and tall beauty has no match in her life. She says that she looks in the mirror and wants to know who looks like her. I can't love her enough to make these thoughts go away. I have tried.

If I had known this daughter would think we are not able to get her, and she truly does feel that way, we would have gone childless rather than.tried to do this. Adopted kids tend to statistically be more disturbed. Kay does not consider us her family although I'm sure she knows how much we love.her.

If any adopted child wants to find out where their genetics come from, maybe it's best to let this play out. No good outcomes are guaranteed but at least they have answers.

Nomad, hugs and prayers. This is your daughter's path to walk. I feel for you.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
A good friend of mine adopted a girl at age 4 and the birth mother reappeared when the girl was 17. At that time she was giving them lots of teenage type problems. Found her in bed with her boyfriend and that type of thing.

She started hanging with her birth mother, who was not a good influence at all, and my friend let it play out. What could she do? She was upset though.

Anyway it all passed within a few months and her daughter realized how really GREAT her parents were and appreciated them all the more. So it was a very happy ending! She has very little to do with her birth family/mother now.


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I’ll reread all of your posts. Letting it play out makes sense. I’m saddened with how much severe mental illness is in this family. Alcoholism too. Other issues. And to know her birthmom is the sickest is very upsetting.


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The magic 18 will come when the kid can see whoever he or she wants. This isn't our choice. I'm glad to read a happy ending. Honestly I don't like to talk about adoption anymore. Everyone seems to have a horror story. The support group I belonged to was very depressing once the high school years began. I dropped out and hoped.

Also adoption is not yet culturally accepted as much as we adotive.parents feel the love in our hearts. Can't tell you how many well meaning nice people had asked me, when we first had Kay "So can't you have kids of YOUR OWN?" Also later on friends would say ",Well, at least you have two of YOUR OWN."

If that's a common view of adoption, no wonder adopted kids have so many issues and get into more trouble. There is a lot of emphasis placed on biology. And in our case......Kay does seem to have been affected more by biology than nurture. It's so hard.


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I see your point.
it’s not totally accepted.
But this could at least be partially because people are starting to hear of so many problems/heartaches.
Many years ago , it was noted a disproportionate amount of parents here on this site had adopted kids.
I’m not sure I personally know a single family in my area with an adopted child that had a normal life. All were difficult, some very difficult. A nice handful of divorces too.
we use to joke that we now know the answer to the age ol question “is it nature or nurture?” 90 plus percent of the time it seems to be nature...genetics.
my friend and I both adopted due to health problems. Her adopted daughter , after some research...was discovered to have the exact same mental health problems as the birthmom manifesting in the same ways. A lifetime of love, intellectual stimulation (dad was a PhD), and many positives...seem to be irrelevant. Her husband got up and walked out one day.
Our situation is almost the same. But my husband(thank goodness...I’m grateful as he is wonderful) is doing ok and is extraordinarily helpful. A lifetime of heartache no matter how much time, effort, care, money, love, praying etc. It is what it is.
My daughter’s birthmom is a carbon copy of her physically and very much mentally as well. Fortunately, our daughter takes her medications . That’s a nice plus.
Especially with my health problems, it’s been very tough. It is what it is. But I don’t recommend it. Sad.


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Nomad, with all the help you have given me over the last few years, I'd give anything to be able to be of assistance to you. Please know that I am here and care.



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I feel sorry for myself for all of the problems and all that I have suffered. I feel that it was a cruel blow how my great love turned out. I also feel that we adopted children who needed families, needed love, needed care, needed homes. If I had it to do over again, I would do it.

I think this whole topic involves existential questions. Why do we parent? What is the purpose of life? Some people believe that all of life is to prepare oneself to die and that the rewards of living well and purposefully and meaningful come at death. In other words, the purpose of our lives is not for happiness but to refine our character or even our souls.

Our children are not products or possessions. They are souls too. They live not to give us happiness or any other thing, but to live according to their purpose too.

I think I need to get my ego out of this. I don't deserve anything, good or bad. I try not to regret my choices, even painful ones. Oh, of course, I lament and I whine, but what's the point of regret? All of us only have the moment which is right now. Why give it up?

I think there is great love on this forum. And great devotion and hard work. I don't think any of us would do it differently if we had a chance. I would not.

Deni D

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
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Nomad, from my experience, as a birth mother, of a son who has bipolar disorder inherited from his father I can tell you my son has tried to connect as much as he could to his father and his family through the years.

Nature has won hands down over nurture in my son's case. It didn't matter how disconnected and uncaring my son's father and his family acted towards him. It didn't matter how much caring, effort and actual love, were shown on my part towards my son from his years as a baby, very young child, throughout all of his years he had with me. It seems he somehow felt he belonged more to others than to me and my family, like they were his people. Not me and my family who have shown through the years how much he belongs and is loved with no judgement but accepted as the individual he is.

My view with this situation has been it's a "you always want what you can't have" kind of thing. But who knows, maybe it's more about thinking you'd be more accepted, if you were, by those who you are more alike. People who have the same challenges you have. I think in my son's case he has not gotten what he was looking for from his father's side of the family because even though they acknowledge the mental illness in the family to themselves, they cannot tolerate the fact that it regenerates through the generations, as if it's some fault of theirs and not biological. For that I forgive them and understand I don't know if I could handle it if my son's bipolar disorder was caused from genetics from me, something I felt I inflicted on him without any ability to do otherwise. I know my son's father couldn't handle trying to guide him into adulthood while dealing with the guilt he felt. I know because he told me he felt horrible that he "gave" it to my son.

And I also have not found a way to help my son from the outside in once he was no longer young and under my control.

My son took his medication and did exceptionally well in school and with extracurricular social activities but not so much actual social connections. I think when social connections became important to my son, or rather his lack of, was when things went really sideways for my him. Since then he's seemed to be trying to find himself as he's been trying to find his place and way in the world. It was when he hit this time he seemed to become very absorbed with his disconnected father and his father's disconnected relatives and also rejected myself and my family members in a very nasty way.

We will be there if and when my son ever rights himself. I'm grateful, even though my family does not understand what he's about these days, they care about him and will welcome him back if he decides he wants back with the people who care about him someday.

For me these days space and acceptance of "what is" seems to be my thing. Space to let my son work his stuff out, and acceptance of reality as it is. Also acceptance that things will or will not work out as I want them but hopefully as they need to for my son. I hope things work out as they need to for your daughter.

Deni D

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
Staff member
I feel sorry for myself for all of the problems and all that I have suffered. I feel that it was a cruel blow how my great love turned out. I also feel that we adopted children who needed families, needed love, needed care, needed homes. If I had it to do over again, I would do it.
It took me a long while in-between things going on here to reply to Nomad. Your reply Copa popped up as I clicked on "post reply". I purposely did not mention "adopted" in my reply because I feel real parents of adopted children here somehow feel there's something lacking in their love and parenting having not gone through the birth process. Yeah no, not true. From my thinking adoptive parents have made the most pure, direct decision to make a difference in a young life knowing how much you were taking on and taking on from someone else who could not, or would not do the hard work of actual parenting. Trust me, the gustation and birth were nothing compared to even the first couple of months of sleepless feeding and diaper changing and then it got more challenging from there, lol. Yes, of course, it was also to fill a need in yourself, if not you would not have done it, same with birth parents who choose to parent, period. That's what human nature is all about. And to expect a child to appreciate you once they have grown to adulthood is as natural as can be also in my mind. I'm not saying to tell us we are the best thing since sliced bread (would be nice, ha) but to accept we have their best interests at heart and to know of all people we are most equipped to give them the best thoughtful guidance and cheerleading they can get. That's the same with all of us parents.


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I have often wondered if mental illness plus adoption creates a special/unique problem.(And there seems to be a lot of mental illness involved with adoption in recent years). Not knowing your heritage. Not knowing her birth family for my daughter, (and for many others...similarly the same boat) was haunting. No matter what we did or said was helpful. Combine that with mental illness...and it’s tricky. Almost all of our kids have this strange entitlement thing going on. Ungratefulness too. It’s NOT that we want our adopted children to be grateful that they were adopted. Not at all. It’s just an every day overall attitude. We see it in most all the children here. Adopted or not. Nothing is enough. Nothing is appreciated. Nothing is good enough. It’s draining. My friend calls it the “bottom less pit.” It’s especially mind blowing when often times these children and adult children need or expect the most help
Just now thinking that if a child is adopted by a healthy extended family member, maybe that helps a tiny bit if they are aware of their relatives etc. Have biological grandparents and so forth. I don’t know.

But I have heard a disproportionate amount of negative stories re adoption. Sad.

Im happy if my daughter is happy.But of course, I hope this discovery doesn’t hurt her in some way.
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Hmmm. Something nice has happened. I’ve been unwell and our daughter has asked more than once how I’m feeling. She doesn’t tend to be empathetic. She has been in a pleasant mood of late. This is nice. I hope she can sustain this kindness even when she doesn’t feel ideal. She has a good heart deep down. 🤞