Given the difficulties of a search, these guidelines may help keep you alert to both your own needs and the sought-after person’s needs:
For the Adoptee:
- Searching is your birthright.
- You know you’re adopted; your birth mother’s family might not. Tread carefully.
For the Birth Mother:
- You have the right to follow up on the well being of your child, but not to be apart of their adult life unless you are invited to participate.
- Most adoptees are not ready to meet their birth mothers until their mid-to late twenties.
- You know your son or daughter was adopted; they might not know.
For the Adoptive Parents:
- The adult adoptee is not looking to replace you. If the adoptee is an adult, you have already done the parenting.
- A search does not mean you’ve failed as parents.
- Make sure you’re mentally, emotionally and financially ready before you search. A search and reunion changes the searcher’s life and the lives of those around her/him, forever.
- Have a support system in place before searching, whether it is your family, a search group, a therapist and/or a devoted friend. Find someone who will listen to you without being judgmental.
- It’s okay to be focused; it’s harmful to be obsessed. Strive for balance.
Reprinted with permission from Adoption Reunions, A book for Adoptee, Birth Parents and Adoptive Families by Michelle McColm, 1993 Second Story Press