I asked the forum members for help with this article and received a variety of responses, which is not surprising since finding biological parents is such a personal event. I thank gobosox, M, nousvivons, Southernroots, and rhiannon1311 for their openness and honesty about a personal and sensitive topic. The topic of finding biological parents through an adoption search and reunion.
Thoughts on Finding Biological Parents
1. What are your expectations?
Examine your own wants and needs, but allow room for growth and change. Remember that you should be the focus of the reunion so be very upfront and clear about your wants and needs from the relationship. You are an adult and can have a reunion now. Leave guilt out of the equation. There is nothing to feel guilty about. Wanting to learn about your personal history is natural and normal. There are few absolutes except for also being sensitive and respecting the other person's privacy.
2. Keep consistency in your contact.
Don't stop contact for long stretches of time without notice or a brief explanation. Remember basic social skills and treat people fairly and with respect. The most hurtful thing you can do is nothing. Take a break if you need one, but let others know that you will be back and when. Be sure to take time to hear everything that there is to be said, before making any decisions about the relationship's future. Many hearts are on the line.
3. Find a pace for reunion that works for you and your birth family.
Be very patient and give the relationship time as it grows. Take this time to examine your feelings about the reunion. How do you feel about expanding your family circle and diving into adoption issues? Is this a good time for what could be an emotional roller coaster? If not, communicate this fact with a time frame for future contact to your birth family.
Understand that some birth parents have not told others about a relinquished child, be patient and don't take this personally.
4. Educate yourself.
Read all you can about adoption issues and reunion. Locate your support people. Family, friends, and others who understand adoption reunion will be very helpful to you at this time, especially people who have "been there". It's also important to seek out those from all sides of the triad so that you can further understand the other party's feelings and role in reunion. Surf the Internet for forums, chat rooms, and other groups in your area.
5. Enjoy the process.
Don't let the search be so scary and overwhelming that you do not cherish every moment.
Final thoughts from rhiannon1311 and M:
"Remember that while the reunion is between the birth parents and the adoptee that it will affect others too, it will change the whole family dynamic." rhiannnon1311 (Birth Mother & Adoptive Mother)
"You can have a reunion because you are an adult now. Reunion is a really good time to define adult relationships with all involved. It is a bad time to dissolve into being "anyone's" child." M (Birth Father)
Final thoughts from nousvivons and gobosox:
"I would say to a searcher, whether it be a parent or a child, if you find someone, do not surprise them with a phone call or a visit. Either go through an agency or write them a letter. Give them time to prepare and adjust." nousvivons (Adoptee)
"As an adoptee who would WANT a reunion - expect nothing, welcome everything.
As an adoptee who would NOT want a reunion - be up front and crystal clear about what you want." gobosox (Adoptee)
Final thoughts from Southernroots:
"Since we are all different people and react differently, there is no one "right" way to make that first contact. My first contact was a phone call from the agency, and since I was so shocked at the news that my son was searching for me, I was glad I spoke to them first. Otherwise, he might have thought I was not interested as I could barely speak. I know others who were thrilled to have that first contact be via telephone." Southernroots (Birth Mother)