Adoption and Genealogy: A Primer for Adoptees
Growing up in a family with a very healthy and robust “Scotts” pride brought the significance of family history home to me at a young age. From my family I gained an awareness of ancestry. Additionally, I experienced the sense of connection that only comes from knowing your ancestral roots…from the unique perspective of an adopted child.
As an adopted child, no matter how wonderful my family was at involving me in every aspect of their proud heritage, I was always aware that it did not really belong to me. I was equally aware that one day I wanted to trace my own lineage.
Through countless conversations with other adoptees, I know that this is a common theme. As a result, I have come to believe that there is an intrinsic yearning in all of us to seek out and understand our ancestral and cultural origins.
Adoption is a Unique Genealogy Challenge
Genealogy for adoptees presents unique challenges on both emotional and practical levels. Among them are restrictive laws, ethical considerations, rights to privacy and even a sense of taboo associated with an adoptee attempting to trace their family tree.
Not least, among these concerns is the need to be sensitive to the feelings of an adoptive family, who may or may not support the wish to uncover a separate family history. Having said this, it also bears mentioning that an adoptees wish to uncover their genetic origins does not presume a desire to know their birth parents.
Still, out of a sense of loyalty and sometimes a guilty feeling of betrayal, sadly many adoptees wait until their adoptive parents have passed on before beginning any research. Clearly, genealogy for adoptees is a complicated matter that requires a good deal of careful consideration, patience, understanding and support.
If you are an adoptee, who wants to research your genetic family tree here are a few suggestions you may want to revue before beginning.
Before you can begin your research, you are going to need a little basic information; you can start by asking yourself the following questions:
Once you have accomplished all of the above steps, you will have gained some understanding of what you are taking on. You will also be far more prepared to begin your research in earnest.
Genealogy Beginner supports the efforts of all adoptees in their quest to discover their roots. Join us on the Ask a Genealogist forum where your questions about genealogy and adoption are encouraged by our resident genealogist, who is also an adoptee.
Image Credit: Nath_013 via Photobucket