Biological Reunions – How to Handle The Naysayers

What to do when members of your extended biological family aren't supportive of a reunion

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GRACELadies and gentlemen, if you plan a search or have yet to reunite physically with your birth family, do this: wear your armor of faith and wear wisdom like a cloak. Don’t go in without these. This sort of reunion is nerve-wracking even when everyone treats you kindly. It has the potential to pierce your heart if any are hostile towards you. I can honestly say that even though I was forewarned of those who were against this reunion, I wasn’t hurt by them.  And unless they read this, which they most likely won’t, those who were against my being there never knew that I knew about their attitudes. They don’t need to know everything right away, and perhaps, never.

So, be ready.  In my case, those who voiced opposition aloud did so out of my range of hearing, with Vi (my biological mother), and Penny (my biological half-sister) forewarning me. There were also those with a more reserved nature, the judgmental ones in the extended family, who shared their feelings silently upon our meeting. If this was so for me, it will likely be so for you.

I have to admit, those who had it in the backs of their minds that I was seeking some sort of inheritance had to have let that thought go when they realized my adopted father was a doctor. How ironic! The financial divider that had kept me from being totally embraced by many peers in my youth was now responsible for my acceptance by the ‘hard nuts’ as an adult, only this time, I didn’t care. I had found what I sought- my mother. Additional family was icing, whipped cream, and cherries on the cake. The irony of the situation should not come as a surprise; however, that’s exactly how God works.

Pray and gather courage. You will know who the ‘naysayers’ are by their words or actions, and you will need to be ready for open or silent rejection. Be kind to them while understanding their unkindness is just a part of this fallen world. You can’t avoid their arrows, but you can allow God to curve their points. If they persist, graciously wipe your feet and move on to those who are thrilled to have you back. In the end, if handled correctly, the bitter folks will either become ashamed, corrected by others, or be too stupid to know how stupid they are, in which case, we have all been taught to make allowances.

If tears or anger threaten to rise, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to regain your composure. Remember that many eyes are upon you. Don’t let ‘em see you sweat! Grace is magnetic. Think on this and if it is determined that rejection of this sort cannot be handled, my advice would be to make different arrangements for the reunion so you and those who want to know you aren’t hurt in cross-fire.  You may make it known to and through your birth parent that you don’t want anyone there who is not in favor of the reunion. Be firm.

And one more thing- gossip happens. You know you’ve been on the wrong end of that truth at some time in your own life. So since it’s inevitable, give them no juicy tidbits. Treat every single one of them with kindness and respect. In the end, the naysayers will either be won over or become embarrassed when others challenge their accusations.

Perhaps this sounds as if I am telling you to have your guard up. I am. God’s Word tells us that above all things, we are to guard our hearts. In doing so, we guard the hearts of others as a bonus.  This first family reunion is not the time to relax. Do not study this ‘foreign family’ and try to become as they are. Be who you are, and for lack of a better term, ‘self-promote’- not via bragging- not via pushing- but by grace. God will give you a magnetic charisma that can only come from His Spirit.  Allowing God’s grace to flow through you brings a two-fold benefit: God is glorified, and because of your association with Him, you get to wear a little halo in the eyes of others.

So let your hair down later allowing some of those precious imperfections to shine through to those who love you. They will find those imperfections precious. Believe me; God’s got your back!

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Current posts tell the chronological story of Cindy’s search. (Names, places changed for family privacy.) Get up to date by clicking here, then read the posts in order, beginning at the bottom of the page. It is the author’s hope that readers find encouragement, inspiration and knowledge for their own journey.

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Photo Credit: Flickr