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Image by Markus Winkler


Reunions can be a challenge as much for birth parents and adoptive parents as for adoptees. We can never predict how they will turn out. Some of us have had miserable reunions and others of us have had a very pleasant experience. Some are a mix of the two. Our expectations, going in, are a very important aspect regarding how we come to perceive the outcome. No matter the outcome, we must not allow another’s reaction, pleasant or unpleasant, to define us. Family dynamics can be a point of contention, or they can be welcoming and unifying. After reunion, what we can predict with certainty is that over time, there will be change. The question becomes, “How are you going to respond to it?”

The one challenge all members of the adoption triad face, at some point, is that of grief and loss.

      As an adoptee or birth parent:

  • Maybe you are interested in searching, but have questions

  • Maybe you have had an unpleasant reunion
    Maybe you are wondering if it possible to not search and be at peace? Is this denial or acceptance?

  • Maybe the reunion is OK, but not the way you would like for it to be

  • Maybe there is a concern that you will upset the adoptive parents either if they simply found out that you are searching or if the search is successful and contact is made

  • Maybe you feel you don’t have the right to search for parent/child

  • Maybe you have unpleasant experiences around birth dates

      As a birth parent:

  • Maybe your daughter or son is still a secret. You would like to have contact with him/her, but are concerned that your spouse, partner or family member would be very upset

  • Maybe there is a fear of having a second child

  • Maybe there is a fear your child will reject you

  • Maybe you feel no one can understand the loss you have felt all these years

  • Maybe you are wondering how you will handle your emotions – fear, grief, anger, shame, guilt if there is a reunion

  • Maybe you’re not sure of what you are feeling

  • Maybe memories of long ago have taken on a new life and this is causing you to consider reunion

  • Maybe you have been told that you shouldn’t feel “bad” because “you did the right thing?”

I foster a counseling practice of self-empowerment, self-respect, and optimism to promote resilience during and following our time together. I have found, both personally and professionally that it can really make a difference to have someone who is emotionally detached, yet intimately acquainted with relinquishment/reunion challenges, to provide guidance and tools that decrease or even eliminate the unpleasant feelings and create a sense of peace.

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