Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What to Ask the Birth Family?

In the event your child is relinquished (vs. abandoned), your agency may have some very valuable information to share with you. Agencies operate under their own protocol in international adoption. (There are agency rules and then there are country-specific rules). We have selected an agency who openly offers birth family information to adoptive parents, when made available to them.

That being said, should we be fortunate enough to know the birth family's location at the time of our referral, we are most definitely traveling a week (or so) prior to our assigned date. This will allow for sufficient time to visit any biological family members, take pictures and record "memories" for our child. These are all things that so many of us take for granted. I must say that I have gained a whole new respect for the baby book my parents created for me - and all since trying to figure out where to begin with ours.

Since reading everything I can get my hands on re: the psyche of the adopted child, I must say that the impact of having first-hand stories and accounts from the child's family and birth-village is invaluable. It offers insight to their roots, answers questions they may be afraid to ask and most of all gives a little bit of closure to a past they never knew.

So, I came across an online discussion on this very topic...What to ask the birth family? Some are ours, some are borrowed from others and of course we welcome more from any of you.

I'll start with two that were mentioned by a mother after-the-fact. Those are hard. The ones you can no longer ask because the moment has passed. You try to think of everything, but there are things that are certain to be overlooked. Hopefully this assists others - and we also welcome any input from those of you who have already walked down this road or simply have a suggestion.

  1. What time was he born? (for his birth certificate)
  2. How did you choose his name?
  3. What do you hope for your child's future?
  4. Any known family medical issues?
  5. What is your favorite food? color?
  6. What makes you laugh?
  7. What scares you?
  8. How big is your family?
  9. Do you like the morning or the evening?
  10. Is your entire family from Ethiopia?
  11. What would you like your child to know about you?


  1. Good stuff. Belay told us that it is unlikely that our children will have surviving parents (he says young siblings are usually orphaned) but we'll see. I hope we at least get to meet someone from their past or see the country where they are from.

  2. I'm sorry. I didn't realize that (and thank you for pointing it out).
    On a positive note, it's so good knowing Belay is there on the ground. At least you'll know there was no stone left unturned, which leaves a small window of hope you will have some information on your little ones.