Making contact with birth families of children who have been adopted internationally by US families is more complicated, often due to barriers of geography, language and culture, and the reasons that led to the placement of the child abroad. Globalization notwithstanding, families need to understand than the present day American culture of openness and no-holds barred communication may not be the norm in their child’s country of origin. If they have not previously done so, parents should seek to educate themselves about appropriate modes and means of communication in their child’s birth country, and about the sensitive and relevant issues of international relations.
Families can first contact the US or international agency who placed their child, or which facilitated the placement ,to ask for help. Some families may have contact with their child’s birth relatives and/or community of origin, and may make appropriate inquiries, enlisting the help of an interpreter and/or translator if necessary. Families may also contact the governmental adoption authorities in their child’s country of origin. Records may or may not be available. Some resourceful US adoptive families whose children needed to find a BMT donor have been successful in either contacting birth relatives and/or in mobilizing community testing overseas which resulted in identifying a donor. Some patient families have found help from organizations of internationally adopted people and of parents who have adopted children from the same country or region, as well as from US-based ethnic community groups and virtual communities representing their child’s heritage.