Searching for your family of origin
At some point in their lives, most adopted children/adults start wondering about their families of origin. Although making contact with a birth relative can be an extremely rewarding journey, it is also an emotionally-charged experience. It deeply affects the adoptee, their adoptive parent(s) and the birth parent(s) and is usually characterised by a sense of urgency, anxiety, determination and fear.
We can’t say for sure why some adoptees search and others don’t, but we do know that
The best person to fill these gaps is the birth mother herself and adoptees often have a need to hear the facts surrounding their adoption from their birth mother, first-hand. By meeting their birth mothers, adoptees feel that they are able to get answers to their questions and to integrate divergent parts of their lives into a whole.
There are, of course, no guarantees and no winning formulas – every experience is unique. Some will go on to form happy, long-lasting relationships, while others may only meet once or twice. For most people though the nagging ‘not knowing’-emptiness of the past will be resolved to varying degrees and they will be able to move on with their lives.
What the law says
According to the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005), information contained in the Adoption Register may not be disclosed to any person except
a. to an adopted person after the child has reached the age of 18;
The Director General may require a person to receive counselling before disclosing any information contained in the Adoption Register, to that person.