4 Tips For Balancing Adoption Reunions And Adoptive Family Relationships

Is it possible to have this process pain-free?

Tom Andriola March 31, 2017

Adoptees who are curious about their roots can feel stuck in the middle of a difficult situation. They yearn for that connection to their biological roots, but they are caught in a quandary because they don’t want to cause any pain to their adoptive family, or to their biological family, for that matter. Here are four tips for balancing adoption reunion and adoptive family relationships.

Be Sensitive
1. Be Sensitive

This is an obvious one, of course. But trying to remain conscious about the feelings of both your biological family and your adoptive family is important. As an adoptee, you might wonder where that leaves room for your own needs, which should also be taken into account and are just as valid. That said, being sensitive to all sides does not have to be inconsistent with taking care of your own needs in the process.

Tune In To Other's Cues
2. Tune In To Other's Cues

There’s a fine line between being completely transparent and holding certain information close to the vest. That line may differ based on the relationship between the individuals involved. To determine the line, it’s important to pay attention to the cues of others. Are they the type of person that would be offended? Would he or she feel like you were going behind his or her back if you don’t give a heads up about your search and reunion? Perhaps that person is the type that might like a hint, but does not want to hear anything else about it. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach that’s needed. Tune in to the cues.

Check In With Yourself
3. Check In With Yourself

How are you feeling about the situation? It’s true that you should be sensitive and tune in to others’ cues, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your own needs. You have every right to take care of yourself as part of the process, and you should. It’s emotionally charged by nature. If you are feeling shame or guilt, or other negative emotions brought about by the situation or by some of the individuals involved, be sure to check in with yourself and make sure your own needs are being met too.

Think Through Your Approach
4. Think Through Your Approach

Because adoption reunions and adoptive family relationships can be sensitive in nature, it’s important to think through how you are going to approach your search and reunion as it relates to the connection you have with your adoptive family. While there is no need to kill yourself thinking through every possible set of circumstances and responses, you should think through the process and some potential scenarios and responses just so you are prepared to remain even keel and balanced throughout the process.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.

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