A reunion is a rite of passage. It’s a tumultuous, trying, terrific event. You’ve gotten this far. You deserve to be kind to yourself and to savor the moment. Here are some tips to help you do that.
For the Adoptee:
- Try not to meet your entire genetic lineage of the past four generations in one afternoon. Remember to pace your experience.
- Expect to feel “abandoned” after the reunion is over.
- If your adoptive parents know about your reunion, check in with them. Let them know you are okay.
- If your reunion is out of town, don’t stay with your birth mother. She’ll need her time alone. So will you.
- Don’t expect your birth mother to have vivid memories and remember every detail. She might; she might not. Give her time.
- Give yourself time off after the reunion to get settled with your own emotions.
For the Birth Mother:
- Don’t introduce your whole family to the adoptee in one day. There are lots of birth relatives, only one adoptee. Try not to overwhelm your child. It’s okay to be the star for the day.
- Treat yourself to a hotel if your reunion is out-of-town. You’ll need the privacy to absorb your feelings and recharge your batteries. For the Adoptive Parents:
- If you don’t hear from the adoptee, don’t assume they’ve abandoned you. Don’t assume the reunion was horrible. Don’t assume anything.
- Try to be patient.
- As always, get support.
- Give yourself some extra care and attention. Take the day off work, unplug the phone, go for a massage or just go back to bed. Relax.
- Try to remember that everyone else is probably as nervous and frightened as your are. Be compassionate.
Reprinted with permission from Adoption Reunions, A book for Adoptee, Birth Parents and Adoptive Familiesby Michelle McColm, 1993 Second Story Press