Guest Blog: You don't know what you've lost 'til you've found it!

Some thoughts on Mother/ Adult Child reunions.

After more than 30 years of talking to and guiding adoptees and their birth parents while in search, and while in reunion, I’m starting to get the “long” view of how these interactions and intersections work. And of course, like most things in life, as soon as you try to pin something down and try to make a definite statement about it, the thing slips away and changes and you have to consider yet another twist to the story and its analysis.

I say all this because I have learned over time that the “event” -- the reunion with the lost relative -- while almost making one crazy at the beginning, inevitably morphs into something different. My answer to that most common of adoption questions “How long will it take for my reunion and relationship to become normal?” has changed as well. In my early years I would have said “a year or so," later it would have been “five to ten years”, and my thoughts and experiences now suggest “a life-time." It is a life-long process which I see in my own life and in the several thousand reunions I have been part of.

The second most common question I've encountered is “I’m a nice person. So why won’t my birthmother/birth son/birth daughter respond to me, want to know me, stop ignoring me?”

Let me start by saying that I am not a psychologist. I am not a social worker. I came to the subject of adoption and reunion through my own personal journey begun in 1986. I am a very happily reunited birth mother and after finding my daughter way back then, I just stayed with an organization called Parent Finders to help others. Some reunions I have been involved with very closely – weekly for years. Other reunions I have checked in on occasionally and noted their progress. While others I may hear from only a few times throughout the process. Those long years have given me invaluable insight into how reunions can and cannot work. Please understand that obviously the statements I make are not EVERYONE’S story! But this is what I have seen.

The Deep Freeze

Many mothers and adoptees suffer for years. Let’s start with mother; often young, often unsupported emotionally, sometimes abandoned by the birth father, and most usually without financial and medical backing. For h