Anticipate a Successful Search

Success!  Now What?
Let’s jump ahead and assume you are successful in locating the birth family.  What is your plan? What level of connection do you anticipate you would like?  Will you communicate via Skype and/or email?  Do you and/or your child speak Mandarin fluently? What will be the schedule?  Once per month?  Once per week?  Once per year?   Will you take more return trips if they are located?  Will you move to China?  What if your family is asked to provide monetary support to the Chinese family?  This is considered a normal obligation of family members within Chinese culture, as a result of the pervasive influence of the concept of filial piety.  Filial piety is not just an abstract term in the Asian culture.  It is practical and brings with it meaningful obligations.  If they do approach you, how will you handle?   These are practical possibilities you will want to think through and make a plan.

What to Anticipate?
If the birth family is found, your child’s connection with them may outlive us.  Will this create a financial obligation for our children in their future, adult lives?  There is a high likelihood of our child having birth siblings in China – what will that relationship look like?   What is the plan for communication there, now and in the long-term?  What will your child’ filial responsibility be to their birth siblings? How do we establish the limits of that and communicate it, so that doing so does not cause irreparable harm to the cross cultural relationship?
Successful Searches
In looking at circumstances in which birth families have been located, there is not a consistent “method” or specific “clue” that has held the key to unlocking the pivotal information which leads to the truth.  Each case is individual story.  Some examples of “hot leads” that ultimately led to finding a birth family have included small, seemingly innocuous information at times.  Some examples are:

  • The “finder” was an SWI nanny.  She didn’t “find” the baby; she knew the birth family and simply reported “finding” the baby that she brought to the SWI.
  • A baby’s vaccination record indicated she was vaccinated on her first day of life, which in turn, hinted at having been born in a hospital. A search of local hospital records ultimately led to locating the birth family.
  • A “finder” was a policeman, who was actually a friend of the birth family. 
  • A birth mother actually turned over her child to a hospital worker that the mother knew, when the paperwork indicated the child had been found near the flower bed garden at the hospital.