@ShutterbugCait: Oddly enough, each of my parents were adopted.
Dad’s story: He got lucky, and found a retiring court clerk who took pity on his story, and illegally gave him the info. The laws that were in force at the time of his adoption were very stringent, and the idea of an “open adoption” that we have today just wasn’t favorable then. To that end:
When he called his birth mother, she dropped the phone, never expecting in a million years he would ever find her. She was overjoyed, but shocked, and needed several days to come around. Not because she did not want to talk to my father, but because she and her husband at the time had told everyone they knew that my father was still-born to explain why they came home with no baby. She wanted to first tell the family of my father before moving forward with speaking to him. Of course, it’s a huge adjustment for everyone involved.
When my father went on this search, my grandparents (his adoptive parents) were deeply hurt by him wanting to find her, but he did not go about it nicely. Since your Fi does not have a good relationship with his folks to begin with, I will not go into that part of the story.
My bio-grandmother was overjoyed with him contacting her, but had very high expectations: wanted him to call her “Mom” right off the bat, asking my sister and I to call her some name for “grandmother” (I had one already, thank you!) I was 9, so it was uncomfortable. I felt as though she was inappropriately stepping boundaries, but now that I’m older, I have an understanding that one longs to know their family / history. I would like to forage a stronger relationship with her, but she is a little pushy trying to insert herself as someone who has always been a mainstay in my life. She says some hurtful things about my grandparents from time to time, on how they raised my father. I take exception to that, so it strains the process for me.
My mom’s story:
My mother just found her biological mother about a year ago. This woman is pretty cool, in my opinion. She sort of lets you come to her, and is unintrusive. When mom first reached out to her, she was happy to hear from her as well, but also needed time to tell her children, who never knew she had given up a baby as a teen mother. I see a lot of my physical features in this woman, so I am more curious about her than I am with the other bio-grandmother. She is pleasant, and emails me from time to time, but never asks me to move to her state half way across the country, like my other bio-grandmother has done (ironically, the same state as the other one!) She has had my mother and her husband out to that state to meet the rest of the “family” and they regularly keep contact, and she is happy to answer any questions she can regarding medical history (A luxury btw, for those of you who take this sort of thing for granted!) and is genuinely happy to hear from any of us when we email / call.
Hopefully your FI has a similar experience to my parents with being accepted by the bio parents. Just prep him for the possible shock she may have at first. It doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to extend an olive branch, but realize it’s a life changing event that they have no idea is coming. There is time involved in getting used to it. The relationships will develop slowly. Make sure he has boundaries of acceptability, unless you want a pushy woman on your hands like we have with my father’s bio-mother. She means so well, and I feel badly for describing her this way, but it is a true source of discomfort when she is persistant. Ask him what he wants to get out of reaching out to her, and have a contingency plan in mind if the woman is incapable of giving what he is seeking.