What to Do If You Are a Birth Mother and Do Not Want to Be Found

Updated on March 8, 2017

Birth Mothers Who Do Not Want A Reunion


What is the Difference Between Open and Closed Adoption?

According to the American Adoption Agency:

Closed adoption- is when the adoptive family and birth mother remain confidential, with no contact prior to or after the placement of the child.

Open adoption- is when the adoptive family and the birth mother have contact prior and after the placement of the child. There are varying degrees to how open an adoption can be ranging from phone calls, letters to face-to-face visits.

First Mothers Who Do Not Want To Be Found

Birth mothers, also known as first mothers, biological mothers, bio moms and natural mothers, are women who became pregnant, gave birth and then gave their baby up for adoption. Some birth mothers gave their baby up for adoption during a time period when adoptions were closed. She was lead to believe she will never see her biological child again once the adoption was finalized.

For some birth mothers, after the adoption happened, they needed to close the door and move on from the painful adoption experience. There are many reasons why a birth mother may not want to be found or have a reunion with their now adult, biological child.

A birth mother may not want to be contacted by their adult biological child for the following reasons:

  • She was promised by the adoption agency her biological child or the adoptive family will never make contact with her.
  • She may have feelings of shame and remorse from the pregnancy and subsequent adoption that is too painful to feel and face.
  • She does not want anyone to know about her secret, of giving birth and giving a baby up for adoption.
  • She has since remarried and had additional children and has not told her husband or current child about her past history of giving a child up for adoption.
  • She may fear what her biological child will say, do or want.
  • Her pregnancy, birth, and adoption experience were traumatic and she may fear the emotions a reunion might resurface.
  • She may have been told by the adoption agency, adoptive parents, or her own family that it is in the best interest of her child to never have contact with her, even when this child becomes an adult.
  • She may have been raped and gave the baby up for adoption instead of an abortion. She may fear seeing the child, now an adult, would resurface the traumatic memory of the rape.
  • She may not want to face the adoptive parents who raised her child.
  • She may fear the adoptive child will ask who his or her biological father is. She may not even know who the father was if the child was conceived when she had multiple sexual partners, or conceived during a one night sexual encounter without ever having contact with him again.
  • She may fear the reunion will bring remorse and painful memories of a broken heart when the biological child's father left her or broke up with her because of her pregnancy.
  • The biological father may have been threatening, abusive, an alcoholic, or treated her poorly. She may be frightened a reunion with her biological child may also reconnect her to a man she fears and wants to stay away from.
  • She may be unsure how to relate to her biological child who is now an adult.

The Past and Future Collide in Adoption Reunions


Be Prepared

Birth mothers who read more about how adoption directly affects their biological child and why some adoptees may want to find them, will benefit from this understanding if their child does make contact. Below is a recommended book.


A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption
A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption

A collection of compelling stories of closed adoption and the mother's who gave their babies up for adoption.


Prepare for a Reunion Even if You Do Not Anticipate One

It is best for birth mothers to be prepared for the possibilities of their biological child finding them. A Birth mother who prepares for a reunion, regardless if it happens or not, will give herself the ability to work through some of her past issues.

The possibility of an adoptee finding their birth mother increases as sealed adoption records are opened and modern technology makes it easier to track down someone when you have their identifying information.

The choice for an adoptee to find their birth mother is an individual one and the reasons behind it are unique as well. The adoptee may want to find their birth mother because he or she is seeking medical history, or wants information on their biological lineage. Or an adoptee may be seeking their birth mother because he or she may hope to grow a relationship with her.

Here are some steps to help birth mothers prepare for the possibility of their biological child making contact:

  • Be aware, if your biological child is now over the age of 18, he or she may try to seek and make contact with you at any time.
  • Be prepared for him or her to write you a letter, call, email you or come knocking on your door.
  • You may want to write a note today listing all the medical information and peculiar traits he or she has inherited so you can offer at least this information when your biological child connects with you.
  • Be forthcoming and truthful when he or she does contact you.
  • Do not ignore him or her and hope he or she goes away.
  • If you are positive you do not want a relationship with your biological child after he or she contacts you then be upfront, truthful and sensitive about your feelings. You will probably devastate him or her. A sharp clean cut is painful but easier to heal than a long jagged and deep cut.
  • Perhaps you can be forthcoming in giving him information about his or her medical history, or who the biological father is, and even help him or her connect to full or half siblings, even if you do not want a relationship with your biological child .
  • If you are unsure how to proceed after he or she contacts you, be truthful about that.
  • Be prepared for him or her to contact you and once hearing his or her voice or seeing his or her picture you might have a drastic change of heart and a need to see your child.
  • Perhaps ask yourself why you are keeping this secret from your husband all these years, and if it is time to have a full disclosure. The truth does set you free. That way, if your son or daughter does contact you, you have already dealt with this part of the experience.
  • If you tell your children, the ones that you raised, you once gave a child up for adoption, know they might be so excited to know their half or full brother or sister they might want to seek and find him or her.
  • Go to therapy. If the past is too much, perhaps it is time to unload the hurt and gain a different perspective of yourself and the situation you were in. Therapy can provide an opportunity to let go of the grief and pain.
  • Some states, such as in Ohio, sealed adoption records are now in the process of being opened. Ohio allows for a birth mother to leave a note with the child's original birth certificate. If the adult adoptee seeks their original birth record, they can be notified if their birth mother would like contact or not and how they would like to be contacted. Know the laws in the state where you gave your baby up for adoption. Times are changing and sealed records are now being mandated by the courts to be available to adult adoptees.

Reunions are Emotional


What Do You Think?

Do you believe adoptees have a right to find and make contact with their birth mother?

See results

Sealed Adoption Records are Opening

Times are changing and the rights have shifted away from protecting and sealing the hidden away. The 'hidden away' is a person. Let go of the promise you were told as a young adult that he or she will never find you. This promise offered, formulated from the adoption agency, your parents and whomever was done in a way to be 'supposedly helpful.' When this legal binding promise was made the interest of your son's or daughter's need to know their kin was overlooked. So was the fact he or she would not have his or her necessary medical and heritage information.

Remember your son or daughter is a living breathing part of who you are. Can you make room if he or she does find you? Can you integrate that part back into your life? And if the answer is still, no, then let him or her know you are not at a place in your life to embrace your son or daughter again, and it is not about him or her but your inability to open a door that was once shut.

Mother and Son Adoption Reunion

Adoption Reunion

Reunions are complicated and a life changing event. They are not simple and highly complex. So is adoption. Some birth mothers may fear their adoptive child is seeking them out for revenge because of the initial abandonment. This fear is quite the opposite of what most adoptees feel when they are seeking to find their mom. They usually want an opportunity to meet the woman who is in fact their biological mother, and often this desire to meet their mother comes from a place of love and curiosity.

Bill writes about this in a letter to his birth mother. Adoption: A Letter To My Birth Mother Who I Never Knew.

He states in this heartfelt letter:

"It is not for me to judge you; you did what you thought was right at the time and I can never know why you made that decision because I wasn’t there and I am not you. There is no blame in this letter."

This sentiment is often shared by many adoptees.

He continues with his letter:

I guess I wanted you to know that I love you and I wanted to thank you.

Each birth mother has a decision when her biological child seeks and finds her. She can either provide the opportunity for a reunion or disown the reunion. Before she makes a decision to deny her biological child of a reunion, it is recommended she firsts reconcile her own past and makes peace with who she is now and who she was then. Reconciling the past and making amends can be life altering and freeing. It might just help her understand why she fears a reunion and what the walls around her represent. It also might help her break down the walls and initiate the process of reuniting and hold her baby in her arms, sometimes for the very first time.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I'm a mother who does not want a reunion after I had a sealed/closed adoption in 1977. My child has found me. What are my rights?

    I am not sure what your rights are in your corresponding state. I think I would research what your rights are in your state as a birth mother. If your biological child has found you and you do not want a reunion, I will suggest telling your child this, as kindly as you can and the reason why. From the child's perspective, even an adult child, it will feel like being abandoned, again.

    If you can give your child a reason to why you do not want to go forth with the reunion, it will help the adult child not internalize that something is wrong with them.

    Maybe in time you might want a connection with this child.

  • Me and my twin brother were adopted right from birth in 1964. It was a sealed adoption. We just found our birth mother and are contacting her by phone today. How do we start the conversation?

    That is a tough question. I am sure when she receives the phone call she will be shocked and not prepared as you and your brother will be. Since you had more time to think about the upcoming phone call than she would of. Consider starting with a letter in the mail or an email.

© 2013 Carly Sullens


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    9 months ago

    Reading through these comments- I see so much anger toward birth mothers. What if the birth mother was raped, and instead of aborting the baby, chose to give it a better life than she could provide? Who wants to be raised as an awful reminder and looked at with anger and sadness? Better the child have a good life and a mom who sees nothing but love when she looks in their eyes, than be raised as a constant painful reminder of a horrible experience? We were just contacted by a sister from this exact situation. The pain it has caused my mom to tell all of us about this heartbreaking. She did the most loving thing she could in a horrible circumstance, and now is being outed and humiliated for it?

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    10 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    You hit many great points here. You are right, the relinquished child has a right to their lineage.

    Transparency and truth brings healing. The relinquished child has a birth right to know their family members even if the biological mom does not want contact.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    10 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Hi Eric, so glad you found this again, old friend.

  • profile image

    Biological moms are not entitled to shut out their child. 

    12 months ago

    Bio mothers often feel entitled to act as gatekeeper to their relinquished child’s entire family. Sorry, bio moms, but IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. There are your relinquished child’s maternal half siblings, paternal half siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents from both sides...not to mention the bio dad himself, who may not even know for certain that your relinquished child even exists.

    Telling a relinquished child to go away is the ultimate act of narcissism. It prioritizes the birth mom’s feelings over potentially dozens of other people who may want to know and love the birth mom’s relinquished child.

    Though many a birth mom has done it, nobody has the right to deny their child’s lineage. Your moral right only includes choosing to reject having a relationship with your relinquished child. You have no right to keep everyone else from your child. Your first sin led to creating an unwanted child. You only compound your sins by trying to hold on to secrecy. Thanks to the internet, it’s getting easier to find you. Better your family find out about your child from your lips, rather than force your relinquished child to tell them you not only gave up a child, but you shut them out when they reached out 18 or more years later.

    The time is overdue to start outing bio moms. The era of secrecy needs to end.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    19 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Cool this popped up again. Thank you lord for my Mom and My Mom. You are my heroes.

  • profile image


    19 months ago

    Go to therapy. If the past is too much, perhaps it is time to unload the hurt and gain a different perspective of yourself and the situation you were in. Therapy can provide an opportunity to let go of the grief and pain.

    Great advice.

  • profile image


    19 months ago

    She does not want anyone to know about her secret, of giving birth and giving a baby up for adoption.

    Mine wanted me to be her dirty secret. I'm a person, not an object, so I outed her. She deserved it.

  • profile image


    19 months ago

    Anyone who chooses a closed adoption like my biological mother did, and anyone who doesn't want contact, in my eyes, is a demon. I have ZERO empathy for those deadbeat parents. And it doesn't matter if they go on to raise kids they choose to keep, they will always be disgusting and bad parents.

    I am so sick and tired of the excuses we give them. They need to grow up, face their past, and stop blaming the adoptee for their troubles.

  • profile image


    2 years ago

    I also feel that your hub is very well-written and "sensitively written," but we adopted our daughter through foster care, and that is one piece that is missing from this article. This article focuses mostly on the birth mothers who gave their children up out of love, whom I commend (because I can't imagine how incredibly difficult that would be), but what about the mothers who did just the opposite? They should have to face their biological children one day because they have a lot of explaining to do. Additionally, I have mixed feelings about any birth mother saying "no" to a chance to form a relationship with their biological child. That's a unique opportunity, and if the adoption was truly done out of love, then I can't imagine the birth mother saying "no" to this, even if she has to own up to family members.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Frenchie Kisses, it is always good to keep in ind all aspects of the adoption triad. Especially the adoptee, since they had no choice.

  • Frenchie Kisses profile image

    Frenchie Kisses 

    3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    Thank you for this. My husband and I are adopting and we have researched many aspects of the process for many years. It's always interesting to have perspective from all sides of adoption.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you merej99 for your comment and sharing.

  • merej99 profile image

    Meredith Loughran 

    5 years ago from Florida

    I have a friend who was dropped off at a Korean orphanage as an infant. She was adopted and lived in the States but she's been back to Korea trying to find any information about her birth parents. She came up zero. My husband and his first wife were divorced when his son was only 10 months old. She remained in the service while he got out and was literally a continent away. She always returned his letters and presents to his son Return to Sender. He is almost 21 and we hope & pray he tries to find us but for all we know, his ex could have said his daddy's dead. It's heartbreaking. Thank you for a thoughtful and graciously written hub.

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 

    5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Carly. A wonderful and sensitive hub. I watched the reunion video and yes it brought a tear to my eye. Life can be wonderful but yet so cruel. Excellent.


  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Hi koffeklatch, I agree, I think in this day and age birth mothers should be prepared for the possibility of a reunion.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Wonderful article about a sensitive subject. I think in this day and age the birth mother does need to be prepared. It's getting easier and easier to find information.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Eric, I didn't know you we're adopted too. So am I. Know wonder I respect, care, and admire your and Billybuc so much.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Just a word from an adoptee. Billybuc and I want all to know that it is good and wonderful to be adopted. I would never interfere and cause pain to a poor mom who gave me up for adoption. Except I would like her to know that her love for me, just maybe just maybe is well placed. Do well and sleep well mom. And thank you for the courage to give me a better life.

    (of course I steal Bills notions from his hubs at https://hubpages.com/@billybuc )

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you epbooks. I appreciate you reading, understanding and voting up.

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 

    5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    I'm not adopted, nor a birth mother (only a mom to dogs)! However, this hub was extremely interesting. It's a topic I never gave much thought to but your list of why a bio mom wouldn't want to be found is extensive and opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities why they wouldn't want to be found. Voted up- great hub!

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you Jane. I am not a birth mother, but I am an adoptee and work with many who are going through the reunion process. Adoption has hard circumstances on all involved.

  • janetwrites profile image

    Janet Giessl 

    5 years ago from Georgia country

    You found the right suggestions for this sensitive topic. I don't know much about adoption and the circumstances that force mothers to do give their babies away but I can imagine how hard it is. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking hub.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Bill, I think it is common for adoptees to feel that push and pull inside. Adoption and reunions are complex and I do not think there is a 'one answer fits all.'

    It is our generation of adoptees who grew up in closed adoption, and now speak out about their adoption experience are making the movement to open the records. For some, it is necessary to know where they come from to stop the gnawing of 'who am I?'

    Thank you for stoping by my friend.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Well covered, Carly....thank you for including me in this. My response might surprise you a bit....I am still not sure, after all these years, how I feel about adoption records being opened....so many birth parents do not want to be found, and I respect that very much....and yet I think it is so important that a child know their birth parents....so I am still very torn over this issue. :)

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    5 years ago from The Caribbean

    We may never know the circumstances surrounding the choices people make, but in this case you have offered suggestions that anyone might helpful. Thanks for being so careful and thoughtful.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Hi FlourishAnyway,

    I need to read your hub on 23andMe genetic testing. I was talking to my husband about having him tested since he too, is adopted like me. I searched and found my biological family but he has no interest. He does not know of his basic nationality.

    But you are right, with certain information comes unexpected decisions and consequences. It is an interesting time we are living in. I imagine with genetic testing a lot of half and full siblings will be able to find each other as well.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    5 years ago from USA

    This is such a thoughtfully written piece, Carly. With all that is becoming commonly available in genetic testing it is a very real possibility for birth mothers to be contacted regardless of consent and for long-closed chapters in their lives to be reopened. I wrote a hub on 23andMe genetic testing and in researching it was blown away by the potential implications. For example, they warn people to be prepared, as you could some potentially unexpected information (such as paternity, adoption that was never revealed). It is interesting to think about how adoptees might use this information. Voted up and interesting.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you Eddy.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    5 years ago from Wales

    So interesting and leaves much food for thought.


  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you Jabelufiroz. I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment.

  • jabelufiroz profile image


    5 years ago from India

    Well written hub on CARLYSULLENS. Voted up.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Purpose Embraced, I am glad you found this hub to be sensitively written. I am an adoptee and tried to write this hub with sensitivity from the birth mother's perspective of not wanting to be found. Thank you for commenting.

  • Purpose Embraced profile image

    Yvette Stupart PhD 

    5 years ago from Jamaica

    This is a very sensitively written article. It gives me insight as to why some birth mothers might not want to be found. But I also think that the suggestions to help birth mother prepare in case their biological children contact them is very useful. Thanks for sharing.


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