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Reasons for Knowing Biological Family

Where are your real family?”

This was a question Misty heard at almost every family reunion.

“From my cousins,” Misty said,

“People unintentionally remind you (about adoption). I wanted to say, you are my real family, but then I remembered, even while young, yeah, you’re right, I’m not biologically related to you. Even I could see that they looked like their parents. I don’t look like my parents at all. Makes you think about it.”

So, while sharing potluck salads and Aunt Nelda’s chocolate cake, with her cousins at a reunion designed to promote family unity, Misty was reminded about the family she didn’t have.

“I didn’t take it personally,” Misty said. “I wanted to tell them that they were my real family. But even I could see that they looked like their parents. I don’t look like my parents at all.”

“Where is your real family?”

a question most adopted children will hear over and over again during their lives. How they learn to answer this question will be very important for their sense of identity.

With the support of her adoptive parents, Misty was an adult when she met her birth family. They have brought joy, and love, and a better sense of identity to her life.

There are many reasons for wanting to understand the biological family.

  • Simple Curiosity

    • Why was I placed?
    • What are my parents doing now?
    • Do my parents ever think of me?
    • Do I have siblings? Do they know about me?
    • Where do I get this talent from?

These are just some of the questions adopted children ask.


  • Health Reasons

    • Every doctor’s appointment includes a series of questions asking, “What is your family health history?” Being able to answer would help be helpful in making informed decisions about health issues.
    • Adopted children may eventually have children who will want answers to medical questions.
  • Find someone who looks like them.

    • This is a type of identity-formation. Knowing biological parents yields self-knowledge that has value


  • They feel a void and want a sense of connection.

  • Who can ignore all those Ancestry ads and commercials? These advertising campaigns make one feel as if roots are incredibly important.



This isn’t a definitive list, but certainly, we need to respect the needs and feelings of every child who wants to understand genetic relationships.