Who are your REAL parents?


Last week, hundreds of people in Ohio lined up to get a copy of their original birth certificates. This might not sound like a big deal to a lot of people, but to those who were a part of a closed adoption between the years of 1964 and 1996, this is the answer they have been waiting for.

In Illinois, the birth certificates of adoptees involved in closed adoptions could be accessed by filling out a request after a similar law was passed in 2010. This is how I learned the name of my biological mother. Next week, I will write about my search for her and what it meant to me, but this week, I want to focus on the parenting aspect of adoption.

“This is how I learned the name of my biological mother.”


Being an adopted person, I often get asked about my “real parents”. First of all, I want to tell you that this is the absolute WRONG terminology. The people who were responsible for bringing me into the Earth are not, nor will they ever be, my “real” parents. This doesn’t mean I’m not curious about them, and it doesn’t mean that them relinquishing me didn’t create a giant hole inside of me. I don’t mean to make adoption sound like a bad decision- it is certainly a better decision than terminating a pregnancy, but being an adopted person who doesn’t know his or her birth family is tough. But sometimes, you need to let go of the past, and look at what you have.

“But sometimes, you need to let go of the past, and look at what you have.”

In the past, there were times when I didn’t get along with my adoptive parents. Sometimes, I regrettably used my biggest, most hurtful words to try to win an argument. Those words: “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not even my REAL parents!!!” must have been quite hurtful. The truth is, biology does not define a parent. I have two biological children of my own, and I am a parent through and through. My adoptive parents did for me the EXACT things I am doing and will do for my children.

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As I write this, it dawns on me that many adoptive children who knew their natural parents may not be able to accept that their adoptive parents are their real parents, too. So, let me tell you just some of the things your real parents will do for you:

  • They will provide you with a safe, stable environment to live in
  • They will give you food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and put a roof over your head.
  • They will make sure you brush your teeth, and get to the doctor and dentist when you need to go.

And those are just the basics!

  • They will also help you with your homework, and be involved with your education.
  • They will give you rides, they will encourage you to be your best.
  • They will be there cheering you on when you succeed, and they will help you recover when you fail.
  • Real parents encourage you to follow your dreams, and do everything they can to help you achieve your goals.
  • Real parents choose you! They choose to be your biggest fan ALL of the time.
  • They are in your corner, always!
  • Real parents read you bedtime stories, and hold you close when your heart is broken.
  • Real parents will never ask you to do anything that will cause you harm.
  • They would put themselves in danger if it meant saving YOU.

I can go on and on, but this leads me to the one and only discussion question I am putting out there this week:

  1.  What does being a “real parent” mean to you, and how have your parents demonstrated to you that they are your “real parents”?


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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