Media and its Impact on Search

These past few months have seen a huge surge in requests for help on searches. Awareness about adoptees has grown exponentially with advertisements for TV shows like, “Finding Your Roots” by While I am not really a big fan of shows that are more designed for ratings than actually helping people, one cannot deny the ground swell of attention that it has caused.

Not only the adoptees have been brought into the limelight, but also those affected through their experiences; the birth parents, the adopted parents and their families. We have been trying our best to stay ahead of the curve by attempting to recruit more people to fill the role of search angels. Still the wave has grown and balancing time to dedicate to each search has become a challenge.

Understand that this post is not a rant about how we are under a lot of pressure to assist many people. It is more a wakeup call that there are a lot more people out there who really are not going to spend the rest of their lives not knowing where they came from. It is not that everyone is naively expecting a great outcome on their journeys, rather that they have a lot more hope and enthusiasm to know the truth.

There is something pretty incredible learning about one’s nature through the story of our biological relatives. Certainly, the goal of adoptees is to find their birth parents, and even potentially reunite with them and their families. Yet there is a deeper interest as of late that goes beyond the initial reasons for searching; learning about one’s medical history, or other justifiable reasons. We cannot say for sure exactly what it is, because every search has its own unique qualities and focus, but the change and urgency are almost palatably stronger than even a year ago.

So why share this with our adoptees and birth parents? More than ever the community of people just like us is growing. With it there is a willingness to assist adoptees more than before. Not just out of sympathy, but more so a genuine desire to help. When it comes to media attention, it seems reasonable to say that good or bad, news worth reporting has a certain amount of value. Changing the way people perceive adoptees as adults who deserve to know about their roots, is a whole lot different than treating them like perpetual children who have no say in their inalienable rights.

Like any media broadcast, the ultimate attention is for the source to generate a space worthy of more ways to make money through some form of advertising or sales. One could argue that this is not a constructive way to make changes in policy for adoptee rights. Yet, as the surge of advertising lately has been bringing the idea behind gifting a DNA test kit to people over the holidays these past few years, the surge of people willing to participate has made finding birth relatives more and more possible than ever before.