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The Roots Tracing Journey

尋根的旅程


Every person has a past and a history. Every person has an individual identity, a life story, and experiences that are unique. With the technology of today, searching the roots of a family tree to obtain an understanding of where we come from and who we are is widely available and reliable.

Many adoptees frequently wonder:

1)   What did my birthparents look like?
2)   Why do I have these strengths and talents?
3)   How am I similar and/or different from my birthparents?
4)   Why did my birthparents make an adoption plan for me?
5)   Where are my birthparents now?
These and other such questions are often the reasons that lead adoptees to think about roots tracing.

Why Trace My Roots? 

The reasons behind roots tracing are as vast as the number of people who are tracing roots. A person may feel motivated to proceed with roots tracing owing to the following:

1)   Medical reasons
2)   Genetic curiosity
3)   Genealogical reasons  
4)   The desire to discover a birth family history
5)   The need to understand a major life event
6)   Hope for healing of past wounds (of a birth family who made an adoption plan or an adoptee who wishes to understand why an adoption plan was made)
7)   Curiosity or yearning to learn more about birth history, family of origin, or to fill in “missing pieces”
8)   To collect birth information while the information is available
9)   For any other personal reasons

Embarking On A Roots Tracing Journey

There are many facets to roots tracing ranging from the compiling of family history though written documents all the way to genetic testing.  A life book is a great way to begin the progression of understanding a life story. While this may seem simple, an understanding of one’s country of origin and the world events happening during the early years of one’s life, it is often integral to understanding roots tracing in all it’s facets.

Part 1: Familiarizing Yourself With Your Heritage

If you are not familiar with the heritage of your country of birth and origin, you may do research to see what resources are available for understanding that culture. Contacting an orphanage, government authority, or adoption agency is often as simple as an email sent to a point of contact. Also, consider joining a heritage tour to better understand your culture of origin.

Part 2: Retrieving Your Life’s Puzzle Pieces

For adoptees, gather all information possible for you to take a thorough look at life from before birth to the date you were adopted

1) Where were the birth mother and birth father during the pregnancy?

2) What is the address of the hospital or clinic where the birth took place?

3) What is the address of the police station or agency where a child might have been taken for someone to find?

4) Where are the different orphanages, babies’ homes, or group homes where a child lived prior to adoption?

5) Who were the foster parents?

6) What government entity and/or adoption agency processed the adoption?

7) Where were the first days after adoption spent? In the country of origin? The first forever home?

Part 3: Finding Your Birth Parents And/Or Family Members

Find and identify birth family members who are alive as well as those deceased.

If birth family members are located, however, an adoption professional or facilitator should be involved to assess the suitability and readiness for everyone involved. Some birth family members may not be in the position for safe contact owing to personal circumstances (e.g. unstable living condition, prison, substance abuse, addiction, gang involvement, etc.).

Once safe contact is confirmed and permitted, it will be necessary to decide what form of contact is best for everyone. The types of contact may change as time progresses.

1) Letter correspondences

2) Email writing

3) Photo exchanges

4) Telephone calls

5) Face-to-face meetings

The assistance from a professional facilitator is highly recommended until all parties feel secure, and trust is established for continuous contact.

Adoptees' Readiness To Begin Roots Tracing

Questions To Ask Yourself Before you Begin

1) Why do I want to know more about my birth, my country of origin, or my birth family?
2) Is it important to involve my adoptive family’s approval and support in the roots tracing? Am I old enough to do the roots tracing without approval? (In Hong Kong, if you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to have your adoptive parents’ consent.)
3) Would I consider seeking professional assistance in roots tracing?
4) What am I expecting from my roots tracing search? Am I at a stage in my life where I am psychologically mature (able to be respectful and understanding) to handle any possible unknowns and/or unexpected outcomes?
5) Am I prepared for the physical, psychological and financial challenges and responsibilities, which may surface from this roots tracing journey

6) Do I have a strong, healthy support network (family, friends, and professionals with knowledge and experience) to walk with me on my roots tracing journey? Including psychological and financial challenges and responsibilities, which may surface from this roots tracing journey?


尋根的旅程

每個人都有自己的過去和歷史。每個人都有獨一無二的身份、生命故事和經歷。今天的科技容許我們簡便又準確地尋找家譜的根源,等我們更加清楚明白自己來自何處以及自己的身份。

很多被領養者會經常想:

1)我的親生父母外貌是怎樣的呢?

2)為何我會有某些長處和本領呢?

3)我跟親生父母有什麼異同之處呢?

4)為何我的親生父母替我制定領養計劃呢?

5)我的親生父母現在身處何地方?

以上類似的問題就是很多被領養者想尋根的原因。


為何要尋根?

尋根的原因多不勝數,比希望尋根的人數可能要多。一個人想開始尋根的原因可能包括:

1)健康問題

2)對自己基因的好奇

3)家譜問題

4)渴望了解親生家庭的歷史

5)需要明白一個重大生命事件

6)希望治癒過去的傷痕(無論是曾制定領養計劃的家庭,或是一個被領養者希望了解親生家庭制定領養計劃的原因)

7)對於出生背景、家族來源既的好奇;或者純粹想填補生命的“缺口”

8)趁早收集關於自己出身的資料

9)其他個人原因


踏上尋根的旅程

從重整文字記錄以編制家族史到基因檢測,尋根有很多方法。「生命書」是開始理解一個生命故事的好方法。了解一個人的原籍國和年幼時世界發生的事情對尋根的過程亦有莫大的幫助。

第一部分:了解自己的文化背景

若果你對自己的原籍國的文化背景不熟悉,你可以做資料搜集,以了解哪些資源能增進你對這方面的認識。聯絡孤兒院、政府部門,或領養機構亦十分容易,通常寄一封電郵已經足。另外,你可以考慮參加文化導賞團以更深入了解自身的文化。

第二部分:填補自己生命圖版的”缺口“

被領養者應該盡所能收集所有關乎你出世到被領養期間的資料

1)你的親生母親懷孕的時候,親生父親在哪裡?

2)你出世的醫院或診所的地址在哪裡?

3)一個即將被遺棄的小孩如果想被人尋獲,會被帶到哪裡的警署或機構?

4)一個小孩被領養之前,曾經入住哪些孤兒院、嬰兒之家,或院舍?

5)誰是你的養父母?

6)哪些政府部門和/或領養機構審批你的領養過程?

7)你被領養後的頭幾天首數天在哪裡度過?是在出生國家嗎?還是第一個永恆的家?

第三部分:尋找你的親生父母或家人

尋找並辨認在世和已逝世的親生家庭成員

可是,若果成功找到親生家庭成員,則應由領養專家或協助者衡量有關人士的合適和準備程度。有些親生家庭成員可能因為個人原因(例如不穩定的生活情況、坐監在囚、藥物濫用、成癮、幫派參與等)而無法安全地接觸他們。

一旦確認並批准可以安全地接觸他們,就必須確定哪種接觸方式較為合適。接觸的途徑可能會隨著時間而改變。

1)寫書信

2)寫電郵

3)交換照片

4)通電話

5)親身會面

在各方都感到安全、持續聯絡的信任被建立之前,強烈建議由專業人士提供協助。


被領養者對開展尋根的準備程度

開展之前要問自己的問題

1) 為何我想了解更多關於我的出生、原國籍或出親生家庭?

2)收養家庭對尋根的許可和支持是否重要?我的年紀許可我在未經他們批准下進行尋根嗎?(在香港,如果你未滿18,必須徵得養父母的同意。)

3)我會考慮尋求專業人士的協助嗎?

4)我希望從尋根過程中獲得什麼?我是否處於一個足成熟的人生階段,心理上能承受(尊重和理解)任何可能的未知和/或意外的結果?

5)我是否準備好應付尋根過程隨附的生理、心理、經濟挑戰和責任?

6)我是否有一個強壯、健康的支持網絡(家人、朋友、具知識和經驗的專業人士)與我一起展開尋根的旅程?



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