Anxiety tends to magnify difficulties, both large and small, at the beginning of a reunion. Here are some things to consider in your initial struggles. Remember, the short-term issues of a reunion may well turn into shared anecdotes in the long-term, as your comfort with the situation increases and your anxiety decreases.
For the Adoptee:
- Don’t expect your reunion to “fix” your feelings about your adoption. It won’t.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your adoptive parents, if they are comfortable hearing about the reunion. Remember, you don’t have to tell them every detail. This is your reunion. Just reassure them.
- Find someone you can talk to about your feelings, especially another reuintee. You might want to start a support group of your own.
- Different feelings may set in with every new birth family member that you meet. Take time to work through each reunion experience.
- Don’t neglect your husband, wife, kids, dog, or yourself. Give yourself a break.
- Don’t get “carried away” or deceived by the honeymoon stage. Remember, it takes time to get to know other people, including birth family members.
For Birth Mother:
- Remember you can never recapture the past, but you do have a future.
- Pace yourself. Try not to overwhelm the adoptee with too many calls or visits.
- Even though he may sympathize, don’t expect your husband to fully understand your feelings. Find someone who does and who is willing to listen.
- Don’t neglect your husband, wife kids, dog or yourself. Give yourself a break. For the Adoptive Parents:
- If your adopted child isn’t sharing her reunion experience with you, she may be afraid of hurting your feelings. Remember that this is not a sign of rejection; it may be a sign of love and respect.
- If you want to know how the reunion’s going, ask. But don’t pry.
- Congratulate yourself for your courage in supporting your son or daughter’s reunion.
- Enjoy the initial relief and euphoria of a good reunion. But prepare yourself for the possibility of difficult times ahead.
- Don’t expect problems, but make sure you’ve got support if they do materialize.
Reprinted with permission from Adoption Reunions, A book for Adoptee, Birth Parents and Adoptive Familiesby Michelle McColm, 1993 Second Story Press