For years, closed adoptions were the norm for birth parents. Typically, as a birth mother, you had very little control over the process, and there was a low likelihood of maintaining a connection with your child.
Thankfully, this has changed over time. Today, the vast majority of modern adoptions are at least semi-open, and many are fully open.
But, what do you do if you created an adoption plan before open adoption grew in popularity?
Many birth mothers today find themselves in this situation and are searching for answers when it comes to reunions with their children in closed adoptions. Or, you may have a semi-open adoption that only involves pictures and letters, which has not created the space for a real relationship to grow.
In either case, a reunion may be something you want, but are not sure how to have. This can be especially challenging if you find out that your child is not ready to reunite.
So, what do you do when your child is less open to the idea of reunion?
We want you to have an amazing relationship with your child. Every relationship is unique, so it’s difficult to say exactly what will improve your situation. We can, hopefully, provide some helpful things to think about as you navigate your situation.
Here are three pieces of advice about how to respond when you want a reunion, but your biological child is hesitant, reluctant or opposed to the idea.
Give Space if Space Is Needed
Take a breath before going any further. Has your biological child expressed reluctance or hesitation about meeting? This is surely difficult to hear, but adding pressure will only make the situation worse.
Your first instinct may be to explain why meeting would be good or how much it would mean to you. This is understandable, and there may be a time to do that. But, it’s not right now.
Patience is not easy, but it is often the right response. Give the space that’s needed for your child to work through what they are feeling, and don’t put a deadline on it. You give needed space not because it will eventually pay off for you, but because it is what your child needs, and the right thing is to do what’s best for them.
Whether or not they come around to desiring a reunion will depend on your unique situation, but pushing for a reunion when they’re not ready is a surefire way to end any chances of meeting.
Empathize With Their Feelings
Have there been times in your life when you needed space, even from someone you love? If so, you can empathize with what your child is feeling, just a little bit. As hard as it may be, try to understand where they are coming from and see their reluctance not as rejection but simply as a need for time to process.
You have been on a unique journey as a birth mother of an adopted child. Your child has been on a unique journey, too. They are most likely still processing complex feelings about identity, heritage and family. It could be that, at a later date, they will be ready to meet. Or, it simply may be too challenging for them.
Either way, their decision is not a rejection of you or a judgment on your choice to create an adoption plan.
Reach Out to Your Specialist and Others
Did you work with an adoption agency that provides post-placement support to birth mothers? Many agencies do. Even if it has been a while, you could consider calling your adoption specialist to ask for guidance.
Don’t have access to an adoption specialist? Turn to those you love and trust the most. Even though they won’t be able to understand exactly what you are feeling, any family or friends can provide emotional support and a sense of community.
Responding to a child’s reluctance to meet can be emotionally exhausting, and loneliness will only increase the weight of your feelings. Surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you can give you the mental and emotional foundation you need to give your child a healthy response — one that leaves the door open for the possibility of a future reunion.
Connect with an Adoption Professional Today
If you would like to find additional information on relationships between biological parents and their children, as well as the reunion process, you can read through our guides on the topic. You can also submit a request form to be connected with a specialist at any time.