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Most people touched by adoption have suffered grief and loss. The person who was adopted has lost their personal history and family of origin. The birthparents have lost their child, and many adopting parents were never able to have their own children. Adoption and its attendant issues, is very complex, and reunions often uncover all sorts of previously buried thoughts and feelings, which can be highly emotionally charged.

"Loss" from the "Bad Girl" series, Lina Eve

The image of adopted children walking off into the sunset with their perfect adopting parents, to live happily ever after, with no post adoption issues, is as much a fantasy as the myth some adopted people believe, that all their problems will miraculously vanish once they meet their family of origin.

I reunited with my daughter, lost to adoption, in May 1990. Here are some of the things I didn't know, which may have helped us, as we plunged headlong into reunion.

If I was searching now and hoping to find a lost family member, I would start preparing myself before reunion. I would join a support group, and read through their library (and any local one) about adoption issues, the pain and loss of being adopted, about birthmothers and fathers, the adoptive family, and about other reunions stories to discover what may have helped or hindered the reunion experience.

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The internet has become an important resource with many support forums, where adoption issues can be discussed, or for those who are still just testing the wate, can be read in order to glean information. Libraries and internet cafes have public access computers, so this valuable research facility is now readily available.This information hardly existed when my daughter and I were first reunited.

If possible, I would take a counselling course and learn about active listening, and other communication skills. Then, when the first face to face reunion meeting draws near, I would suggest it takes place on neutral ground with just the two of us.

I would take the whole process a LOT more slowly!

-I would take better care of myself, by doing some guided meditation every day, eating nutritiously and putting some time aside for sharing relaxing and fun times with the rest of my loved ones, now knowing how stressful, obsessive and all consuming reunion can be.

Well, that's what I like to think I would do.....but perhaps I would be just as wildly excited. So intoxicated by the unbelievable coming true, that I would rush into it again with all the patience and finesse of a mad cow in a china shop and with as little wisdom and sensitivity....just like last time!!

Wishing all those who are yet to reunite, all the wisdom I lacked, all the patience I never had enough of, all the strength, courage and tolerance you may require and, many times multiplied, the joy I felt at finding my daughter safe and well.


Adoption & Birthmothers


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