Your Emotional Toolkit For Successfully Navigating A Search And Reunion

Every search is an emotional journey.

Ashley Foster March 05, 2017
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Before embarking on any new emotional journey, it is important to take a personal inventory. You should consider what expectations you have and where you stand emotionally. There are steps that you can take to promote a successful search and reunion.

Be Ready

It took years for me to reach this step. I had always been curious about who I looked like and what happened to my family. That curiosity grew after I had kids. I wanted to know the whole reason behind why I was placed for adoption. I thought there was no way I had enough information to find anyone. I assumed that no one was looking for me because my info had been on all of the registries online for years. I finally reconciled with myself that I had a right to search for my bio family. You also have that right. You absolutely have the right to know where you came from. You have the right to know your medical history. It took me years to stop worrying about the possibility of disrupting someone else’s life and focus on what was right for me. Work out your issues and be ready to search. When you’re ready, you’ll know.

Be Willing

You have to be willing to do what it takes. You have to put yourself out there. You will feel vulnerable, but that’s OK. It’s part of the process. I had to be willing to take a DNA test. Then I had to admit to myself that I was in over my head with the results and seek help. Once my search angel found my family, I had to be willing to make contact. If you are not ready to do that, you are wasting the energy you have invested. You can’t find all of your answers without making this move. I had to email several different addresses that we found for my birth mom. I got anxious and impatient not knowing if she had received any of them. My search angel and I decided that she would place a call to my paternal grandmother. It was a great first step. You have to be willing to go for it.

Be Prepared

When you get to this point, you have to be prepared for anything. There is an endless list of possible scenarios you may have to face. No matter what you find out you must remain strong. Remember who you are as a person. None of the info you discover defines you. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Before we made contact I had to be emotionally prepared to be rejected by my family. I knew that was a possibility, so I prepared a list of things I wanted to say and questions I wanted to ask. You might only get one shot.

Prepare to be shocked. I found out that my biological dad had died three days before I found them. I found out that my parents had gotten married four months after I was placed for adoption. They went on to have two more children before getting a divorce several years later. I ended up with two full sisters and two half sisters. My emotions were all over the place. I was sad, angry, and confused. I realized though, that all of that happened a long time ago. My father’s death solidified how short life is and that we need to make the most of it.

Be Open

You must be open to what they have to say. You may not like their reaction or it may be hurtful, but you have come all this way and need to hear them out. You also have to be open to possibilities. The situation may present itself much differently than the scene you had in your head, but different is not always bad. Most bio parents carry some guilt around with them. Be open to the idea of forgiveness. Consider allowing them to be unburdened.

Be Patient

In a lot of cases the initial reaction is not ideal. Don’t be discouraged. In most instances, you have had much more time to process the reunion than they have. The thought of their whole life changing suddenly can be overwhelming. Be patient. Give them time to process what is going on, reflect on the past, and hopefully make good choices in the future.

Every search is an emotional journey. It is a very personal experience, and everyone’s search is different. Give yourself the time you need to adjust to new information, and then go for it. Secrets and mysteries hold power over you. Let that power go and set yourself free.

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Ashley Foster

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees' rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at http://ashleysfoster.blogspot.com/.


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