Why I still need my birth family

My name is Kay and I want to tell you about the contact I have with my birth family.

Contact with birth relatives after adoption, while sometimes unsettling, can play an important role in helping a child to understand who they are and to establish their identity. At Diagrama Adoption our team is always on hand to help our adopters manage contact, where it is appropriate, and ensure the best outcome for their child/children.

Kay was just three years old when she and her sister were adopted. She has four other siblings, also adopted, by different parents. We’re grateful to Kay for sharing her story about how her family has approached contact with birth relatives and why keeping in touch with them is so important to her. Kay is 14 years old.

I live with my older sister called Chloe. She is 16 years old. I have two younger sisters and two younger brothers. We have all been adopted into three different loving families and Chloe and I have been with ours for 10½ years.

All our mums and dads are very supportive of us seeing each other as much as possible even though we live miles apart.

Because of the age gaps between us, we do struggle to find a good location to suit all our interests. The places we have all met are soft play, adventure playgrounds and country parks. When we meet at outside places, we take our dog.

One of my little sisters, Niamh, has an older brother, Seth, who was adopted by their parents before she was. Even though we’re not blood related, we still call Seth our brother as he is our sister’s brother… I bet that’s complicated for you!

It’s important for me to see my brothers and sisters

I feel that it is very important for me to see my brothers and sisters because I need to see my family just as much as anyone else. Being adopted can make it hard or impossible for people to communicate with their birth family members. With the help of my adoptive parents, I am able to see my brothers and sisters a few times a year which I think is very, very lucky - lots of adopted children don’t have that opportunity.

When I see my brothers and sisters, I feel so happy and nervous at the same time. I feel really happy because I’m getting to see them! But I sometimes feel nervous because I still don’t really believe that I have four little brothers and sisters and it feels kind of weird meeting them! I hope that in the future when we’re all adults or when they’re all in their late teens when they have phones, we can keep in more regular contact and meet together more often.

All of my brothers and sisters have very nice, kind parents. I am so glad that they were willing for their new little children to come and meet us, so all of them could get to know us.

It started with written contact

First of all when I was adopted, I had written contact including letters and cards with my nanny. When I was around 11 or 12, I was starting to get worried she might die before I got the chance to meet her. Just before that time we heard that her husband, my grandad, who I also wanted to meet when I grew up, had died. I was really curious to meet my nanny because I had some good thoughts about my birth dad who sadly died when I was very young.

As I didn’t have a birth dad anymore, I wanted to meet and talk to someone who knew about him most. In fact, I was really lucky that my adoptive mum understood how I was feeling, and figured how to get into contact with her so that we could meet her. Now we are also in contact with both of my birth uncles who are so very understanding of the whole situation and who want to talk and meet me as much as they can.

I have met my nan three times now and my uncles once. All times were amazing and I loved every minute of those days. We’re seeing them all again in half term.

Being adopted can be confusing

Being adopted gives you lot of confusing feelings about your birth family. Some people don’t want to see anyone from their birth family even when they’re older, and some just can’t wait to see them. I have had mixed emotions throughout my whole life about my birth family.

With my birth mum I have never really wanted to meet her after the things she did. However, sometimes I’ve had tiny thoughts that I want to meet her but she won’t turn up and I will feel forgotten by my own mum. I don’t know if my opinion will change when I’m older about seeing her but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

On the other hand, I have always imagined what my birth dad was like and have always wanted to see him but unfortunately I am unable to, so that’s why I am most grateful I can see my nan and uncles.

I think that it is really tricky for an adoptive parent to get used to understanding the child’s background and everything they’re thinking in their head.

It is unusual for families to be like mine, because my family is really understanding and supportive about contact with my birth family.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

The majority of children awaiting adoption have brothers or sisters – often they are kept waiting longer as they are harder to place. Diagrama Adoption welcomes all adoption enquiries, particularly from prospective adopters who could offer a loving home to siblings.  Call our adoption team today on 0208 668 2181, email adoption@diagrama.org for an information pack or attend one of our informal information events to find out more.