Telling the Other People in Your Life
It is important for you to give some thought about how your reunion will affect the other members of your immediate and extended family. If you are married, is your spouse supportive of the reunion? Do your children know and understand what is happening? Is their relationship to the person you are going to meet clear to them? Mothers, your parents were most probably a big factor in the adoption…how do they feel about reuniting with their grandson/granddaughter? How do adoptive parents feel about the reunion? Frequently family members can feel left out when a person becomes caught up in the emotion and excitement of meeting their natural families.
It is also important to note that no matter what, you have the right to go ahead with your adoption reunion plans whether or not those close to you support your actions. It would be nice to have their support and it would make things easier, and more joyful, but it is not necessary. You have the absolute right to reunite with your son/daughter/mother without reference to any other person or how they feel or what their opinion might be on the matter.
If your family is not supportive of your search and reunion plans, find a friend or counsellor to support you.
On “Others” – For Adoptive Persons
One of the difficulties adopted persons sometimes struggle with is telling their adoptive parents of their need to find their natural families. Many adopted persons feel guilty or feel that they may be hurting the feelings of their adoptive parents. They may also believe that that they may be considered “ungrateful” or that searching means there was something lacking in the parenting of the adopters. Adopted persons quite often believe that their adoptive parents would either be against the idea of reunion or hurt by it, and that is not always the case, particularly in more recent adoptions. However, some adoptive parents can be quite against reunion. In the closed adoptions of the Baby Scoop Era (1955-1985), the adoptive parents may be more threatened by this idea as their entire existence has been a myth told to them by the adoption industry of “as if born to“, and they find it hard to come to terms with the fact that their child has another family in the world who loves them and misses them. It would be nice to have the support of adoptive parents, but if not, then it is still ok to go ahead with your reunion plans.
The right of the adopted person to know their natural families and know their true identity is a right that supercedes all others. Adopted persons have a need and a right to find their natural families, and they should not feel any guilt in exercising that right…..it is “nature longing for itself”.
On “Others” - For Natural Mothers
Natural mothers face a different kind of difficulty. Many mothers were told to “keep their child a secret and never tell anyone” when they surrendered to the pressures of society, and many mother to this day have kept that “40 Year Secret“. Some may be married for 35 or 40 years and they have never told their husbands, or even their sisters and brothers. They have not told their subsequent children about this secret they have carried alone for so long. It is one of the most difficult things to do…to open that vault and tell that secret, especially to someone who thought they knew everything about you for 40 years. It takes great courage to do this, and it is a very difficult thing to do. Some mothers simply do not have that kind of courage. This represents the small percentage of mothers who put vetoes on adoption files and reject reunion overtures. Their fear is too great for them to overcome. Many more mothers do find the courage, and do tell their secret in order to reunite with their child. Most of them find continuing support from their families after the initial shock of the new information.
Mothers you have a right to know your child lost to adoption, and he or she may be seeking you and needs you in order to complete himself/herself. Do not deny yourself and your child this right to start to heal. Find the courage to tell your secret, the one locked so heavily in your heart, the one that wears you down day after day, the one you are so used to having you think living with a heavy heart is normal.