A reunion with biological family can be a life-changing experience, but it may not be exactly what you expect.
Search and reunion has become much more common in modern adoption journeys. With the increasing popularity of DNA-tracking websites, it’s simpler than ever to identify and contact family members. For those in closed adoptions, this has presented an amazing opportunity. Birth parents in closed adoptions often dream of reuniting with their child, and it may now be a real possibility for you.
How are you preparing for this reunion? This can be an emotionally charged event, and it’s worth considering all of the ways it could go. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you exactly what will happen. Every reunion experience is unique.
However, there are several things that anyone can do to prepare for a reunion with their biological family.
Are you a planner? Someone who likes to control the outcome of every situation you are in? You’re going to need to practice giving up control before you initiate a reunion with your biological child.
This meeting could go a thousand different ways. You each bring a life’s worth of experiences, ideas and emotions to the table. Plus, it’s an emotionally charged atmosphere.
Your biological child may be eager to meet you, or they could be incredibly anxious. They may feel excited, but they may also harbor unresolved resentment. It’s all possible, and it’s important that you are aware of this.
Approach a reunion with your biological child with an open mind. This is the best way to avoid major disappointment and put yourself in a position for the most productive meeting possible.
Consider Your Possible Responses Ahead of Time
This will be an emotional experience, and we all respond to emotions in different ways. Sometimes, it can be difficult to show your best self when you are in a situation that causes you to react with strong emotions.
Take time to consider all of the things you may feel and practice your responses. It may seem silly to rehearse a conversation, but you’ll thank yourself when the moment arrives. If you have already practiced what you want to say, you’ll find it much easier to calm yourself and recall those words when your head is spinning in the moment.
Most adoption reunions take time to turn into true relationships. If your child is over 18 years old — which is common in these situations — then you each have decades to catch up on. The biological relationship you already have can form an immediate connection, but you still have to get to know the person.
Don’t rush things. Your first conversation probably won’t answer your deepest questions. Take the time that each person requires to set boundaries, establish comfort levels and allow the discussion to progress naturally.
Learn about the Impacts of Adoption
Adoption is many things, especially for a child. It is beautiful and it is difficult — a great opportunity and a significant loss. Before initiating contact with your biological child, research the impacts of adoption and consider all of the ways making contact could cause them to react.
For example, children in closed adoptions are left with a big gap in their personal histories. This disconnect from their biological heritage can create unique obstacles to forming positive self-identity.
The way each person responds to this loss is different. For some, it is a lifelong sore spot, and we cannot promise you that there won’t be resentment. Others are able to form a positive narrative, understanding that they were always loved, even when it was best for them to be placed for adoption.
When you learn about the impacts of adoption, you put yourself in a better position to respond to your child’s reactions.
Speak with Professionals
You most likely have more access to professional guidance than you realize. There are plenty of online materials for your research, local resources, counselors and other adoption professionals who can help you prepare for this moment.
A reunion with your biological child could change your life. While we can’t tell you how things will go, we do hope this guide is a helpful tool as you prepare to make the call.