The thoughts coming to life in this article are reflections I have had brewing for a very long time. My perspective is from the natural lens of an adopted adult who unfortunately had no one from my natural family looking for me, not in this lifetime anyway.
What do I mean by “I had no one looking for me?”
Many adoptees, myself included, have formed this fantasy that our biological parents made a big mistake, and they are coming to find us! Every day in my childhood, I dreamed of the day that my birth mother would reappear and take me back home to live with her. When we are told she “loved us so much,” it’s easy to attach all kinds of fantasies to this scenario. Dreams, fantasies, and wishes are endless and limitless. Sometimes I feel like my whole life was built on a fantasy, a dream, and a wish. But instead of dreaming about a husband, an amazing career, children, and a fancy car and house like most people, it was all about HER.
The biggest dream, fantasy, and wishes were always centered around my birth mother coming back to get me or me finding her. Year after year passed, and I hit my teen years, and reality set in. She wasn’t coming back, and as I reached adulthood, my fantasy was shattered and destroyed.
Here’s why – my birth mother was never looking for me, and she never wanted to be found. (These are two separate things) It’s hard to put into words the depths of pain this reality has caused me, but it’s shifted every part of my being to be disappointed and rejected in such a profound way, buy the woman that should love me the most. The high hopes in a happy reunion story came crashing down, and I have found myself picking up shattered pieces of my heart, step by step, trying to put the pieces together again. While I have healed at great lengths, I have accepted the pain is here to stay.
Not running from it has been the key to healing for me.
My biological father didn’t know I existed, and I was adopted without his consent. So it would be ludicrous for me to think he was looking for me. However, before I learned that he knew nothing of my existence, I had hoped he was trying to find me—more fantasies at their finest.
I am 12 years into coming out of the fog and navigating my healing journey, and things are much better today. I made a choice to leave alcohol alone and decided to feel the feelings of rejection, abandonment, and the primal wound, aka relinquishment trauma.
However, over the 12 years, there were many times the pain and REALITY of my truth were just too much to carry, and I wanted out. I had plans to leave the earth many times and I thought I would die from a broken heart. I don’t share that lightly.
But here I am, alive to share my story. The future seems to have developed into a more peaceful existence. Of all the time and energy I have spent on healing, I will never forget how it has felt to have not one person on this earth looking for me after spending a lifetime thinking they were.
It’s a sad feeling, dark and hallow at times like I wasn’t worth finding. It feels like I shouldn’t exist in a world where my own biological family could care less if I lived or died. To show up and exist in this world with these dynamics at the root of my very existence has been a never ending challenge most will never understand.
Thankfully, even when no one wanted to find me, I wanted to find me, but it doesn’t take 47 years of the pain away.
My desire to find myself, who I am, and who I am not is something that has taken me 47 years to experience. I have pondered what it might feel like if someone was searching for me, and I can imagine it would be the best feeling in the world.
Unfortunately, I will never know.
The adopted adults who have the experience of a biological family searching for them can hang onto that experience, so they will likely never know what it feels like for NO ONE to be searching for them.
However, I suppose that they could experience the maternal side OR the paternal side searching for them, which would give them a glimpse of what it feels like for one side to search for them, and another side not to search for them. Regardless of how it all plays out in each adopted person’s story, our very existence on earth comes with so much weight to carry. It’s painful no matter how you slice it.
But to carry the weight of NO ONE searching…
It hurts, and there isn’t much in the world that has topped this type of pain off. It’s primal, and it’s deep-rooted. But, the most significant part is that if we sit with the pain long enough, it starts to heal. I have sat in it for over 9.5 years without using alcohol to numb the pain, and it’s getting more manageable. Still, I can completely understand how some adoptees choose not to go on because the pain can be that difficult to navigate. That was once me.
Suppose a biological mother, biological father, or friends and family of an adopted person are weighing in the dynamic to search or not to search. In that case, I hope this article sheds some light for you in making your decision. This article is on a dynamic on how it feels when NO ONE is searching for you. On top of the pain and trauma from relinquishment, we also deal with this dynamic of no one looking for us that no one wants to talk about, yet it’s the reality for so many adopted people.
We must also take into consideration that some adoptees don’t want to be found. I can chime in and say, that they rightfully should be respected in this wish, however, how will you ever know unless you try to reach out to them? They deserve to get the choice in the matter. This means that even if you make the choice to search for an adoptee, the adoptee ultimately gets to decide if they want to open that door or not. We are all different and no two adoptee journeys are the same but I would think it would count for something if one of our biological relatives at least tried! I know it would have meant EVERYTHING to me that at least one of them tried.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. My heart aches for adoptees who stepped into a space where no one was searching for them and for those who stepped into a space where their biological parents don’t want to be found. I see you, hear you, and my heart is with you. You are not alone.
For adoptees, what has your experience searching for your biological family members?
Are you one of the adoptees who had no search for you?
Were your maternal or paternal biological parents or family searching for you?
Did they embrace a reunion, or did they not want to be found?
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Thank you for reading.
Healing through writing, one article at a time.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova
14 thoughts on “Being Found VS. No One Looking – An Adoptees Perspective”
Thank you for sharing. No one was looking for me! I am just beginning my healing journey. Thank you for your blog, I appreciate your openness and admire your strength.
You are very welcome. I am so sorry no one was looking for you. That’s such a awful dynamic among so many regarding the adoptee experience. No one wants to talk about it. Until the world will start to listen to adoptees, I will keep writing. Hopefully to spark conversations! Hang in there! Sending you lots of love and thanks! ❤
This is heartbreaking………..Unfortunately, the opposite is also true…….being a broken-hearted teen of the 60’s…being forced to give away my baby. The times back then were extremely cruel to un-wed mothers. I don’t think anyone today could understand. After searching ….being given no information about my birth child…….40 years went by before I was able to grasp a small piece of information, as to where she was and that she was alive. The torture is unexplainable, and feels to the birth mother like ” a missing piece of my heart”………I have been able to reach out by letter, to my birth daughter, only to find out that she doesn’t want to be found. I doubt that I will ever be ok, but am so very grateful to the fact that I never gave up………and that I at least know that she is alive and well. God Bless You!
I am so sorry this has been your experience and for your pain. Thankfully, she will never know what it feels like for no one to be searching for her, and likely she hasn’t even thought about that. It is possible that one day she change her mind, but that wait is a grueling one. How can one let go? No matter if you are a biological mom or an adoptee, if your desire is to connect it’s almost impossible to “let go” because our greatest hope is that they change their mind. I was only able to heal once she passed away, because the hope I carried that she would one day change her mind, kept me in limbo of healing. It was awful, so I know a little bit about how you are feeling. Sometimes life events change things, so I hope one day she reaches out to you, and if anything know you are doing something so many of us wish would have happened, and that’s you at least TRYING. Thank you for that! I know it’s not easy and I know her pain also. XOXO ❤
Pamela………that was the sweetest response. I am so very sorry that you never got to know your mom.
If you were my daughter, I would want to sit and chat over a cup of coffee ……today!!………..You sound like a very special and sweet person…….it would be an honor to have had you as my daughter. God Bless!
Aweee thank you so much!!! I would give anything to have one last shot at a chance at a mother. Unfortunately I’ve accepted it will never happen. But I do appreciate your kindness so much! Truly! 💗
I was 49 when I found my maternal family in 2001. only found out after state laws were passed lwhich allowed sealed adoption records to be opened. My mother never looked for me. it was against the law and she had no information. but my younger sister found out I existed when she was in her 30s and desperately wanted to find me.. but she had no info and it irritated our mother when she asked questions.
Because of my efforts and search we had a beautiful reunion at my house 21 years ago.
I found what I desperately needed and wanted!
I later found out my mother circled my birthday on her calendar every year. She thought about me! My grand mother had clipped out a newspaper picture of a teenage girl and saved it for years. My sister asked her who it was and she said she didn’t know. My mother ended up with the picture after my grandmother passed and showed me the 1970 picture after we met. Turns out they thought it could have been me…. It did resemble me some, but it wasn’t me. We threw the picture away. But, what it meant to me was my grandmother wanted to know me! I never met her but I know she wondered about me, missed me and loved me! That one action healed a lot of my pain! I still can’t believe the picture of a girl no one knew was saved for almost 50 years! I cry every time I think about that picture.. It was proof to me I was missed….
Someone thought about you if they knew about you, too! But, like my grandmother they had no control over the situation. Adoption affects everyone. I can’t imagine knowing about a grand-baby that I know I would never meet.
Blessings to you and for your journey❤️. We are all exactly where we are supposed to be! It may no be fairytale, but it is our own journey!!
Thank you so much for sharing this and for your kind words.
I am truly touched about the picture your grandmother had. You are exactly right, even when she knew it wasn’t for sure you, it’s the thought that she had hoped it was and that she was thinking about you. Something that would likely be small to a non-adoptee is HUGE to us. I am so happy you have this to hang onto. We all deserve to feel wanted, missed and loved!
Sending you lots of love! ❤
Hmmmm…very emotional and heartbreaking. I ,too ,wasn’t looked for, for 69 years! I always knew I was adopted, I had a good life but I didn’t belong. I didn’t look like anyone and I had no biological family…well til I married and had my own children. My children are more precious than life to me…how come I wasn’t precious to anyone?
I did a dna test and with the help of a search Angel found both sides of my family. I going to be 75 this year and you know, they still don’t seek me out! I have 8 1/2 siblings and in spite of the comments “ you look like, your mannerisms are so familiar, Dad didn’t know, I’ve always wanted a sister “ they still don’t search me out. Once in a blue moon someone checks in but mostly no one looks for me! It’s bothering me more and still it sits with the rest of my adoption feelings! In the bottom of my heart and soul!
Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am so sorry no one was looking for you. It can’t get anymore heartbreaking. Even after knowing who you are… So sad, and I’m so sorry.
For me, I had to close the doors on any of these relationships because they were to painful. At least I get to control something out of this total shit show.
Sending you lots of love! Hang in there my friend. ❤
No one was looking for me because my married biological parents told everyone “the baby died” to explain why there was no baby after the pregnancy. Lies by the adoption agency delayed my search until after my father had died. My mother is still alive and we’ve been in reunion several years. I think we’re both, or at least I am, still grieving the lost early bonding and decades together.
Oh my goodness. This is just AWFUL! I am so so sorry! How heartbreaking.
I am so glad you have found your biological mother, but I think the grief from all the loss can last a lifetime.
Sending you lots of love! ((((HUGS))))
I’m a single mom, and dad has not attempted to see his kid in over 7 years. And no one else in his family has attempted to contact me or my kid. My kid asks about them sometimes. I’ve shown her pictures, and it’s not a secret. But I didn’t know what to say, so I consulted a work psychologist about the situation.
The ridiculous advice was: “Be sure to tell your kid her dad loves her very much,” srsly! lol.
I told the psychologist “That is wrong. It’s obvious he doesn’t care.” I told her, “I need to explain to my child (in a non-cruel way), that some people don’t care about other people.”
Her response was, “Tell yr kid the reason he doesn’t want contact.”
Reason? By this point, I’m really scratching my head. “Ma’am? The father hasn’t contacted me in 7 years, I suspect he’s selfish. Or a narcissist. I don’t believe he’s on drugs or alcohol, he knows where we live. He is not poor, he has a vehicle. He simply doesn’t care.”
Needless to say I haven’t contacted a psychologist again. The advice was embarrassingly bad.
I completely admire you for consulting a psychologist about this because that meant you wanted to do the right thing. It completely SUCKS that they gave you awful advice! I commend you for wanting to share the TRUTH in the most light hearted way possible. It will def make for less of a blow as the child grows up and figures it out on their own. I have a similar situation with my kids fathers, and sadly it’s very complex. Tough business for sure.
I am done with therapists for now, I have been burned a few too many times, and I end up therapying the therapist so I threw in the towel.
Hugs to you and your beautiful children! Hang in there! ❤