More About Reunion
How Reunion Can Change You
The difficulties associated with reunion can be daunting, but the rewards are great. Not unlike the pangs of birth itself, the reunion produces joy.
Self esteem improves for mothers as they take their rightful place in society as mothers and shed the shameful apparel of the past. Their hearts become lighter as the grief lessens and the joy increases of having their son/daughter be part of their lives. They find peace of mind having the knowledge of what happened to their son/daughter and to be able to be in communication with their son/daughter. They may feel liberated from some of the chains of the past which have held them for so long and able to be more authentic in the world.
Adopted persons talk about “filling the hole in themselves” that they have lived with their entire lives. “Becoming whole”. Finding out that their mother did not abandon them, but loved them and grieved for them their entire lives gives them a sense of self esteem as they realize they were not “unwanted”, but very much loved and wanted. Adopted persons do not feel so “different” once they find their families…they feel a true sense of belonging…they have a history…which provides them with a future. A sense of relief, they can stop looking. Something they did not have before reunion.
Adoption Reunion is not a magical cure for life’s problems, but it does have many benefits. There may be disappointments and difficulties along the way, but most who wander into reunion territory are glad they did.
Fears Associated With Reunion
Reunions can be frightening emotionally. This fear is normal …. It is really the fear of the unknown…what will be found….and how will it affect me? Below are some of the possible fears that mothers and their sons/daughters may have when contemplating reunion:
Possible Fears For Adopted Persons
- That they will find their mother is deceased
- That they will be rejected.
- That their adopters will be devastated and not understand their search and they will not be able to share their search with them
- That they are a secret and their mother will not acknowledge their existence to herself or her family
- That they will not meet the expectations of their mother.
- That their natural family will be needy or want something from them
- That their mother will not be truthful with them
- That their mother will not understand their life problems
- That the timing of the contact may not be right
- That they will find out negative things about their conception, birth and surrender
- That they will have to give up their fantasies about their mother.
Possible Fears For Natural Parents
- That their child has not been told he/she is adopted
- That their child is deceased
- That they will be rejected by their child
- That reunion will open the trauma of the past and that it will be unbearable
- That their child will not understand the trauma they suffered
- That they will be rejected by the Adopters
- That their child will not love them
- That their child has been abused or hurt
- That their child has suffered health problems
- That their child will think they were unwanted or unloved
- That their child will be angry and resentful toward them not understanding the truths of surrender
- That their child will judge them
- That their child will meet them but will not want an ongoing relationship with them.
- That their child’s adopters will always come first and that she will always be second
When Reunions Break Down
When people enter reunion they each have their own set of coping skills, unhealed wounds, life circumstances and reunion expectations. All of these may influence whether the reunion can weather the Time Out stage or if it cannot. Sometimes one person goes beyond just pulling back – they leave entirely. This can be extremely painful to the other party and bring back feelings of rejection, shame, unworthiness, anger, loss and abandonment.
A reunion relationship may break down when the expectations of both parties are just too far apart, or when the trauma for an important extended family member is too intense. This may be temporary in some relationships or permanent in others.
This can be devastating to one or both parties in the reunion. Seek support from others who understand and support you and your situation.
Top Ten Reasons Why Reunions Fail
- Keeping natural families a “secret” from adoptive families. Enough secrets have been kept. People are not “secrets”…they are people with feelings – it disrespects someone to keep them as a secret. Adoptive parents are well aware that you were adopted. It is not necessary to keep your natural family a secret from them. It is not your job to try to keep them from acting immature and feeling “jealous.” Your adoptive parents need to be mature and respect, support, and encourage you in reuniting and rebuilding/restoring whatever relationship with your natural family that you and your natural family may desire.
- Pushing too hard /not allowing space and time
- Telling lies about the past. Enough with secrets and lies.. they perpetuate the pain.
- Not using sensitivity. Calling up with “Hi, I’m your mother!” or “Hi, I’m your son!”
- Being selfish – wanting the outcome you want without considering the outcome the other party desires and taking that into consideration.
- Jealousy of subsequent children or other family members of your relationship
- Calling your mother a “birthmother” (which is a term that relegates her to a “birth thing” or a throwaway mother” or a “non-mother” or an “exiled mother“). Society has done enough of this to her. Raise her up and acknowledge her rightful place as your mother - and your adoptive mother as your adoptive mother. (This does not take away from anyone and does not mean you have to call her Mum, just do not call her a “birthmother.” She is your mother, or natural mother.)
- Lack of respect of current love relationships and bonds on both sides.
- Not liking what you found out or the person you found.
- Being overwhelmed with “information and emotional overload” .