By: Carol P. Turesk
Not every individual goes through every stage; they may not be sequential, they may be repeated. The stages are common to the post-reunion period and are normal consequences of reunion.
Characterized by euphoria, joy and sense of being on top of the world
Effort made by parties to find similarity and common interests
Much time spent together in an effort to catch up on each others life with exchanges of photos, letter and gifts.
Preoccupation with other party
Minor negotiations about relationship, ie. What to call birth parent
Some uncertainty about place or role in otherҒs life, frequency of contact, how to introduce each other to friends and family members
One party may pull back to evaluate and process events. The honeymoon is over. Other party may feel confused when this happens. Birth parents may feel hurt, angry, frustrated and frightened if adoptee pulls back and adoptee may feel rejected by birth parent if he/she pulls back
Problems in relationship may develop here due to lack of understanding of the process; society has few role models for this experience
Parties may seek professional help to resolve situation
Confrontation of parties to address status of relationship and its future development
If birth parent initiates confrontation, she/he may fear loss of child again different confronting adopted adult because biological tie is not enough to assure success. In parenting, the element of permanency exists and the bond is not so fragile
If adopted adult confronts birth parents, she/he may fear being rejected by birth parents
Characterized by adopted adult or birth parents really moving away from the other, not just pulling back
Can be extremely painful for either party with feelings of anger, loss and rejection
Can occur if expectations are too rigid and differences between parties are too great
Characterized by earnest negotiations between parties; roles, differences, issues continue to be worked on, but the relationship is more solid and settled with few ups and downs because agreement has been reached in many areas
Re-negotiations occur as life changes and growth takes place and new relationship roles emerge
California Website:
Other great websites to check out:
I'm glad this was put on this site. I had never seen the breakdown of how the reunion can have the different levels. I guess that for some (some like me) this is how it goes. I cant say I like it. It seems almost unfare. When you have expectations and things start so good you think it will keep heading in the "good direction" maybe with a few bumps but, in any relationship it seems there are some bumps. I hope and even can say I pray that things dont get any worse. Does this mean that the old saying, (the newness will ware off) may prove to be true? Surely not what I was wanting to happen. I'd say we have reached the in the middle stage. Has this happened for many adoptee/b-parent relationships? Is there something you can do to get things going back in the right direction? Or is this part of how the process goes?
Each reunion can be different depending on the individuals involved in the reunion. Here is some advice from Dr. Phil that you might find helpful:
Advice For Reuniting With A Biological Relative
by Dr. Phil:
Reconnecting with a long lost loved one can be a powerful experience, and therefore you need to plan for it. Dr. Phil gives advice on preparing for both the reunion, and the relationship afterward.
Think about the reasons you want to reunite with your parent, child or sibling. Remember, they have a family and so do you. You can't turn the clock back or expect to fill the role that you have not played all these years. You are adults, strangers with genetic ties, coming together to build a relationship. Be realistic about the role that you feel you can play in their life and vice versa.
׷ You must go into the reunion with realistic expectancies, not fanciful hopes. If you make someone out to be perfect, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. People get hurt when they have unrealistic expectations, and those expectancies are dashed. These unrealistic expectancies can set you up for failure. It is not what happens in people's lives that upsets them, it's whether or not what what happens in their lives is what they expected that upsets them. Don't allow yourself to think that everything in your life will suddenly be resolved overnight once you reunite, or you will be let down.
A reunion is an event, but the relationship is a process that needs time to unfold. You have to really work to build a relationship and you have to be patient. Start out with the goal of finding something that is comfortable for everybody, and don't put any pressure on yourself.
׷ Allow a natural evolution of things to take place. Like all relationships, expect your relationship with the person you have reunited to go up and down. Your best chance for having a good relationship long term is to take it slow and move at a measured pace. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Be patient and let it unfold naturally, so that it will be lasting. You don't want to do anything that would cause this coming together to separate you again.
When adoptive parents are supportive of the process it strengthens the bond between them and their children. Adoptive parents are the real heroes. They are the ones that have stepped up and filled the void for these children. Adoptive parents should not take it personally when their child wants to find his/her birth parents. The search is not about rejection. It is part of human nature to want to know who we are and where we come from.
California Website:
Other great websites to check out:
Thank you for the added advice. Dr. Phill certinatly does seem to be up to snuff on alot of the issues that go on in every day life. I think the more you can understand how the triad works with all involved the better you can be prepared. I do feel I have done a great amount of sole searching in regards to my search / reunion. In all, concidering the fact that I have tryed to be realistic in my expectations. I feel I was better prepared for the reunion than my b-mother seemed to be. I think that there are still some things that she herself had not concidered / delt with after all these years. I feel that is why I decided to see what I could find on my computer that would help me understand better what she is going through. I fully agree that it is a time issue. There are alot of things that need to be faced. Some little and some really big. It needs to be sorted through for ones self before they open, what quite possibly could be, A Pandoras Box of sorts. Emotions can be a really funny thing and reunions have a way of bringing emotions to light that one may not have realised could come into play. Honesty can be really hard for some to. Honesty builds trust. Though it can also be a hard reality. All people deal with things on different levels and that tends to make some reunions really hard. Well this isnt a perfect world so we all have to deal with it as best we can. Sometimes as it unfolds. I hope for others as well as for myself that are reunions / searches unfold as best as they can.
I am a re-united adoptee who has a relastionship problem
with two of her birth brothers who are 65 yrs. old and 59 yrs.
old I am 48 yrs. old. We all live in different States and do
have access to each other's phone number's in the being
my brother's would speak to me on the phone and exchange
letters, then for no reason, out of the blue they won't speak
to me on the phone and one brother returned my letters. They
will not let me know why? I found my oldest birth brother in
1994 and my other brother I found him in 2003. What can
I do about this ? They say to give it time but my brother's are
getting up there in age and time runs out, no one lives for
ever. Upset and discussed, any other advice ?:confused:
That's an accurate assessment, I termed my stages as "surreality, reality, aftermath."
I spent two years searching for my birthmother, I did everything in my power to "prep" for reunion.
Prepwork included prayer, research, reading a variety of other adoptee reunion stories, and more prayer. I learned (through the experiences of others) to scale down expectations to the point of not having any at all (easier letdown, huh?) and to be careful what I wished for because it could come true.
I found my birthmother in June, 2002, met face to face in November of that year (spent my daughter's first birthday at birthmother's house five states away from home). All was fine, albeit surreal, adjusting to new people but otherwise okay.
Then we went home. Reality set in, birthmother wanted us to relocate. I considered it but was ultimately unwilling to uproot. She took that as a personal affront which it wasn't at all; I was 36 years old and had an established residence, employment, familial and social group, et al.
She read that as defiance, rejection; her harassment escalated to threats of false child abuse reports against me unless I relinquished my child to her (her reasoning was that since she couldn't raise me, by default she should raise my daughter).
I called her bluff, since I worked in a state office relative to the Department of Children and Families, I gave her the names and phone numbers necessary to file a report. Included was a list of penalties for filing false charges.
Her response? She was "just mad" and wanted to "piss" me off.
The aftermath: she didn't piss me off, she cut me off, or rather I chose to sever the relationship. I respect my child and myself and refuse to interact with anyone disrespecting us.
I've no hard feelings, the only feeling I have is indifference, no love/hate/like, just "she is what she is." She gave birth to me but isn't my parent.
She once mentioned she'd suffered from depression and was in/out of therapy for years; more therapy coupled with Anger Management would be in order for me to consider any degree of a relationship with her.
Still, I've no regrets in searching and discovering, it's something I needed to do and I'm better off for having done so. I don't regret anything, there are lessons to be learned regardless of negative or positive outcome.