All adoptees have a different story to tell. What may be true for one may be different for another. In my story, the ups greatly outweigh the downs. Still though, there are a certain amount of challenges involved in merging an adoptive family with a biological one. Unfortunately, there is no clear set of instructions to follow. You just have to do the best you can.

There are sure to be some ups and downs after finding your birth family. They will vary based on your story. I have been in reunion for a year and a half. Here are my ups, which may seem trivial to those who aren’t adopted:

I know my back story.

For many adoptees, their stories began at the hospital where they were born. That leaves a lifetime of speculation about what took place before that. For most adoptees, finding their birth parents gives them the details they need to understand what led them to that hospital to be adopted in the first place.

I have my medical history.

Adoptees often have medical history that is seriously lacking pertinent information. A lot can change in a family’s health over a couple of decades. It puts my mind at ease, especially when it comes to my kids, to know what runs in our family. Early detection is so important when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of an illness.

I have people who look like me.

This may seem like an insignificant detail to some, but it’s common for adoptees to wonder if they resemble any particular family members. Throughout our lives, many of us have looked at strangers who share similar features and wonder if there is any relation. Now I know that I look just like my birth mom, and my sisters look like me.

I have more relatives to share my life with.

It brings me great joy, especially now that I have kids, to have new relatives to share experiences and milestones with. I love that my kids can make them things and spend holidays with them. It’s very fulfilling to have them in my life.

The downs range in severity and, in my story, are not enough to outweigh the positive impact that finding my birth family has had on my life.

My biological family was not all living.

My birth father passed away three days before I found them. Usually by the time adoptees search for their family, they are adults. Decades have passed and often there are members of the family who are no longer with us.

I don’t live near my birth family.

I live on opposite ends of the state from some and across the country from others. It’s not uncommon for families to live apart, and with new technology communication is easier than it once was. Usually, though, the moves apart occur years after the relationship has been solidified, not during the introductory period. The space from family I desperately want to spend time with can be rough.

Missed beginnings can be sad.

I was raised with two adopted sisters. They always felt like my “real” siblings. Still, when I see old photos of my biological sisters, it makes me sad. I can’t help but think that I was supposed to be in them, with my smiling face alongside theirs. It also makes me sad that they missed my wedding and the births of my children.

It’s sometimes difficult to navigate the family dynamic.

It is hard to know what level of communication is best for each member of the family. Am I messaging too much? Am I not calling enough? It’s sometimes hard to know just where and how you fit in.

Reunion is not always easy, but life rarely is. At the end of the day, though, they are my family. We would do anything for each other. If I had it to do all over, knowing then what I know now, I would absolutely do it again, only a lot sooner.

If you want to find your birth parents or family visit the new adoption search and reunion website.