I asked the forum members with this series of articles and received a variety of responses. I thank gobosox, M, nousvivons, Southernroots, and rhiannon1311 for their openness and honesty about a personal and sensitive topic.
Thoughts on Trying to Find the Child Placed for Adoption
1. What are your expectations?
Examine your own wants and needs, but allow room for growth and change. The adoptee is the focus of the reunion listen to what he/she wants and needs from the relationship. Remember that the person you are meeting is not a child and has no experience being your child. Don't expect him to behave as if they did. There are few absolutes except for also being sensitive and respecting the privacy of others.
2. Keep consistent 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 the adoptee.
Be very patient and give the relationship time to grow. Use the 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.
It's also important not to expect the adoptee to remain a forever secret. It may be difficult to tell of the relinquishment, but unfair to wait for a long period of time.
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. Work on own healing separate from building the new relationship.
If it is possible, completing the necessary grief and healing work prior to reunion will make the process of reunion easier.
Birth parents also have a moral obligation to answer all questions with total honesty. Total honesty includes the birth mothers providing the name of the birth father, no matter the circumstances of the conception. Adoptees have the right to know the difficult facts of their beginnings in life.
6. Enjoy the process.Don't let it 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 and Adoptive Mother)
"Follow your heart not the expectations of others or even what you think you expect of yourself." M (Birth Father)
Final thougths 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)