Call anytime, an adoption professional is here to help.
27
Jan

Adoption Reunions – What to Expect

What Is An Adoption Reunion?

An adoption reunion takes place between members of an adoption, typically done by people involved in a closed adoption situation. The reunion is usually the first time these biological family members will have met or talked since the adoption.

Who Reunites After Adoption?

  • Adult adoptees
  • Birth parents
  • Birth siblings
  • Occasionally, other members of the birth or adoptive families

Sometimes, if birth parents are no longer living, adoptees may reunite with birth siblings or other biological relatives. Adoptive parents and birth parents may be excited to meet each other, too. Spouses, children, or even grandchildren may meet biological family members after an adoption, but only after the initial reunion occurs and both parties are comfortable with introducing their families to one another.

The first adoption reunion should be private and taken slowly. But many adoptees have adoption reunion stories that ultimately include their entire family; both birth and adoptive!

Why Would You Want an Adoption Reunion?

Adoption is a wonderful way to create a family, but there is always pain and loss involved, as well. Reuniting an adult adoptee with their birth family can be a healing experience for everyone involved in the adoption.

For birth parents and birth siblings, it can be reassuring to know that the child placed for adoption grew up loved and happy, and that they don’t hold a grudge against their birth family for the choice they made. For adoptees, it can fill the void left in their personal histories by the biological family they never knew.

Adoption reunions are a way to reconnect, talk about the adoption many years removed from the early, sometimes painful emotions, and learn more about each other as individuals.

Should You Reunite with Your Birth Mother or an Adult Adopted Child?

Not everyone wants an adoption reunion.

Sometimes birth parents or adult adoptees simply have no strong desire to reconnect after the adoption. Other times, they don’t feel emotionally ready for such a step. Some people harbor negative feelings about the closed adoption and haven’t been able to resolve those feelings.

An adoption reunion may not be the best choice for yourself or for the person you’re trying to reconnect with.

Adoption reunions can bring complicated, long-buried emotions back to the surface. Not everyone is willing to, ready to, or able to process these feelings. So an adoption reunion should be very carefully considered before you take any action to reunite.

How to Approach an Adoption Reunion with Biological Family Members

This is where things can get even trickier.

If you’ve successful managed to find your birth mother or an adult adoptee through your adoption search (which can sometimes be difficult, depending on how much information you start with), initiating contact with them might be even more difficult.

It’s scary to contact someone who you’re biologically related to, but who is essentially a stranger to you. Several things can happen, including scenarios like these:

  • You may find that this is the wrong person (often with the same name)
  • They may not respond to your message, either by choice or because they didn’t receive it
  • They may be uninterested in an adoption reunion
  • They may initially express interest in reuniting, but later back out after their emotions and fears become too much for them
  • They may have been searching for you, too and they may be equally excited about reuniting
  • They may have been waiting to see if you were interested in finding them and requesting contact, but are happy that you’re willing to reconnect

You’ll need to be prepared for any of these possibilities before you decide whether or not to request a reunion after adoption.

Consider how you plan on introducing yourself via confidential phone/letter/online message and how to bring up the possibility of an adoption reunion with your birth parents or adopted child. Read the message to the closest member of your personal support group before sending it.

Approaching the subject of an adoption reunion is a delicate matter that can be an emotionally-complex step for you.

Have someone you trust to support you! Talk to other adoptees or birth family members who’ve reunited after adoption to hear their adoption reunion stories.

Some Final Advice about Adoption Reunions

A few things to consider:

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Reaching Out

When initiating contact with your birth parents or adopted child, keep it private and simple.

Do:

  • introduce yourself
  • state your intentions in reaching out to them and what you hope will come of it
  • describe your emotional state
  • let them know that you’ll understand if they aren’t ready to take this step with you

Don’t:

  • fire off lots of questions
  • make accusations
  • pressure them into a reunion too quickly
  • assume that they’ll feel the same way about the adoption as you do
  • involve other family members until/unless you both feel ready to do so
  • make your introduction public

Keep your message for them brief and to the point. Empathize and respect their right to their feelings, even if it hurts yours. Put yourself in their shoes! Sometimes the way we feel isn’t always rational or fair, so it’s important to take time to sort out those thoughts.

Children and Adoption Reunions

As a general rule, children of closed adoptions should wait until they’re adults before initiating an adoption reunion. Unless the child already has some kind of relationship with their birth family through an open adoption, suddenly introducing a birth parent may be too overwhelming. It’s also too important of a decision to make on behalf of a child, or to ask a child to make before they’re old enough to fully understand their own adoption experience. An adoption reunion is usually a decision best left for an adult to make for themselves.

Eliminating the Need for Adoption Reunions

If you’re considering adoption, an open adoption is always recommended whenever possible. This will remove the need for an adoption search and reunion later in life because the birth and adoptive families can maintain contact throughout the child’s life.Open adoptions allow for better communication and relationships between adoptive and birth families as well as making for happier adoptees and birth mothers who are satisfied with the amount of contact they have post-adoption.

How to Begin Your Search if You’re Interested in an Adoption Reunion

If you feel that you may be ready to pursue an adoption reunion but haven’t located your birth parents or adopted child yet, here’s what you’ll need to know to begin your adoption search.

23
Jan

Adoption Searches – What They Are and How to Start One

What Is An Adoption Search?

An adoption search is a search for information regarding members of the adoption triad, typically done by people involved in a closed adoption situation. Thankfully, open adoptions such as the adoptions conducted through American Adoptions have nearly eliminated the need for adoption searches by providing an opportunity for birth parents and adoptive families to stay in touch after the adoption is finalized.

Who Searches?

  • Adult adoptees
  • Birth parents
  • Birth siblings
  • Genealogy enthusiasts

…or anyone who is interested to learn more about the people involved in their closed adoption.

Why Would You Want to Conduct an Adoption Search?

For adoptees and birth parents that entered into an adoption before open adoption became the norm, they may have little to no information about their adoption roots.

Birth parents of the closed adoption era sometimes spend decades not knowing if the child they placed for adoption grew up happy, healthy, or even if they’re alive. Adoptees of outdated closed adoptions grow up not knowing who their birth parents were or why they were placed for adoption and feeling a disconnect between their biological history and their adopted present.

On the other hand, many birth parents and adoptees decide not to search for their biological family members. You might not feel emotionally ready to take that step, or maybe you simply don’t feel compelled to seek out that adoption connection. Not every adoptee or birth parent experiences a desire to reconnect with that part of their history.

Whatever you decide, your adoption search (or decision to not search) should be emotionally satisfying for you — not draining. Deciding whether or not to search for biological family members should done in an effort to achieve a sense of peace with your adoption and your personal adoption story. It’s 100 percent your choice to search or not; nobody else’s.

Should You Search for Your Birth Mother or an Adult Adoptee?

An adoption search isn’t the right path for everyone. Carefully research how to find your birth parents or how to find an adopted child before you begin your search, and be prepared for laws regarding adoption records in your state. Talk to others who’ve searched, are searching, or who’ve had a successful adoption reunion for tips, support and advice.

How to Search for Biological Family Members

There are five steps to finding your birth parents or the person that you placed for adoption as a child.

To find your birth parents, you’ll need to:

  1. Talk about your decision to begin an adoption search with your parents (if living) to gather any helpful information they may have
  2. Check with your state’s adoption reunion registry
  3. Request your adoption records from the county where you were born
  4. Get in touch with the person or agency who arranged your adoption, if possible
  5. Determine your adoption search strategy

To find an adult adoptee, you’ll need to:

  1. Talk to the person or agency who completed your adoption, if possible, to gather any helpful information they may have
  2. Request access to your adoption records
  3. Talk to the County Court Clerk where your adoption took place
  4. Check with your state’s adoption reunion registry
  5. Determine your adoption search strategy

Some Final Advice about Adoption Searches

Searching for birth parents or an adult adoptee is a major undertaking on both a practical and emotional level. You should be very sure that this is something that you want and that you’re ready for any outcome before you begin.

Having a support system in place can help you through what is often a difficult process for adoptees and birth parents alike. An adoption search can be an incredibly rewarding and emotionally fulfilling experience for those involved in an adoption, but it can also be a complex journey; having people you can talk to about what you’re experiencing will be important.

For many, the goal of their adoption search is to achieve an adoption reunion — reconnecting with a birth family member or an adult adoptee, often decades after their adoption.

Learn more about Adoption Reunions!

Page 1 of 1