Many adopted children have a lot of guilt when they start searching for their birth parents, because they're afraid their adoptive parents will be hurt, says Dae Leckie, a licensed clinical social worker in Tustin. She offers the following suggestions for adoptive parents:
* Allow yourself to experience feelings that are common among those who face the possibility of having to share an adopted child with birth parents. You're likely to feel a sense of loss, and the grief over your inability to have a natural-born child may resurface.
* Let your child know he isn't responsible for the difficulties you may have because of his search for a birth family.
* Join a support group for adoptive parents.
* Reassure your child that it's OK to search, and that you won't abandon him when the birth family is found.
* Remember that no one can replace the relationship you have with your adopted child.