Adoption reunions are sometimes part of the adoption journey. They allow adoptive families and birth parents to re-connect after an adoption has been finalized. Adoption reunions occur in all types of adoptions; closed adoptions, semi-open adoptions and open adoptions where the parties have lost contact for a period of time.
Adoption reunions are emotional for everyone involved.. If you placed your child for adoption and have not had any direct contact in years, you may be considering a reunion. You may long to meet your child face-to-face or embrace the family that has raised your child with love and devotion.
Many birth mothers choose closed adoption in the beginning because they desire privacy and space as they grieve. However, as they grow and re-establish themselves, they may find they are ready to meet their child and his or her family. This is a natural part of the adoption experience. As a birth mom, you love your child. You made a brave, loving and incredibly difficult decision to give your child a wonderful life, filled with opportunities and a loving adoptive family.
You may feel ready for this next big step.
Before you pursue an adoption reunion, it is important to consider a few things first. This reunion will impact everyone involved. It may not go exactly as you imagine, or it may be better than you ever expected. Nevertheless, it is important to prepare ahead of time.
Read on, as we share some of these considerations and more before you set a time and place to meet with your child and his or her family.
The Roller Coaster of Emotions
While it is exciting to think about reuniting with a loved one, it can also be a bit complicated. The notion of reuniting with your child can stir up many different emotions. You may be filled with hope, excitement, as well as a bit of anxiety and apprehension. The decision to have an adoption reunion is not one to be taken lightly, and there is some emotional and psychological prep work that should be done ahead of time. Of course, if you placed your child for adoption with a caring adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you can rest assured that you will get the support you need. Contact your agency for emotional guidance as you consider (and prepare for) a reunion day.
The Reunion May Not Go as Planned
You have probably dreamt about this moment for years. You might picture you and your child running toward one another, in slow motion, like you see in the movies. It is completely normal to fantasize about the picture-perfect adoption reunion, but you should know that it is not likely to go exactly as you planned. t That is okay.
If you have spoken with the adoptive family previously, or maintained any sense of openness in your adoption, your child may know a little about you. He or she may have a basic understanding of who you are and why you made an adoption plan. This can ease the initial meeting between you. Writing letters with some pictures may be a nice way of introducing each other. It can also be a way to break the ice. If your adoption has been closed, however, the initial meeting may feel a bit more distanced. Your child may confront you with difficult questions or may be a bit apprehensive. . This will all depend on your child’s personality, and how much information your child has about their adoption story.
Before you meet with your child, it is important to minimize your expectations. This will help you avoid disappointment. You may be elated to see your child again, but he or she may be a bit guarded. That is normal. . It could be the first of many reunions to come.
Know Your Goals
Before your adoption reunion, ask yourself a few questions:
- With whom do I want to reunite? You may have pictured an intimate adoption reunion involving you and your child, and your child’s parents. Often, however, there are siblings, grandparents, and other relatives who wish to reunite. For some, less is more. For others, a big family gathering can feel celebratory and having other relatives around can ease any tension in the air. It is important to discuss these matters with the adoptive family, or your adoption agency, ahead of time.
- Why do I want to reunite? You may feel that this question has an obvious answer. You love your child, and you want to see him again. You may feel that, while the love is there, you have the deep desire to get to know your child. You may feel that it is important for him to hear about the adoption decision from you. You may also want him to know a few things about your story and family background. This will help you answer the next question:
- What do I really want my child to know? You have likely imagined what you would say to your child, should you meet in person again someday. If you know you have a lot to say, jot it down. Writing a list or letter can help you process your feelings. It can also help you keep focused at your in-person reunion when the time comes. Afterall, nerves and excitement can get the better of us when we are faced with something so big.
Keeping in Touch
Much like setting your own goals, you may want to consider what the future will hold for yourself and your child. Should the reunion go well, would you like to get together on a regular basis? How will you communicate? If you hope to form a strong bond with your child, you may want to plan occasional visits or phone calls. Do your best to take strides in your child’s best interest and understand his or her comfort level with an open adoption plan.
The Possible Start of a New Chapter
Adoption reunions can be disappointing, but they can also be joyous. This could be the start of a new chapter in your life. The reunion could also bring about healing and forgiveness if that is needed. When you decided to lovingly place your child for adoption, you likely experienced grief and loss. An adoption reunion can give you great peace of mind, knowing your child is doing well. It could be the start of new relationships with their adoptive family.
As Humphrey Bogart so famously said in Casablanca: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Get Support for Your Adoption Reunion
If you are a birth mother who is looking to reunite with her child, contact Adoptions With Love. We may be able to help you in your journey. Call us at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.