Archive for March 31st, 2011
More than 127,000 kids are adopted in the United States each year. Of course, adopted children are loved and cared for just like other children, but it’s natural for people who’ve been adopted to wonder about their birth families, or biological families, and where they came from. This curiosity often becomes more intense as people grow, learn, and reach the milestones like college that signal a step into adult life.
It’s common for people who’ve been adopted to want to know more about their birth history. Usually a big question is why the birth parents placed their child for adoption. And, now that we know the role genes play in many diseases, lots of people want to know about their health history. When people are curious about their birth family, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their adoptive family or feel close to them. This curiosity, which can feel quite intense, is a normal part of development. It’s common for people to just want to figure out more about themselves by meeting their birth families. Emotionally, this can be a challenging time. It’s important to prepare yourself and your family for any and all possibilities. Finding out about birth families has both advantages and disadvantages. But lots of people feel it’s better to know than not know, even if what they discover is not what they expected.
There are some common stages that occur when an adopted child is reunited with her birth family. Not every individual goes through every stage and they may not be sequential, or they may be repeated. The following stages are common to post-reunion period and are normal consequences of reunion.
1. Honeymoon Stage
a. Characterized by euphoria, joy, sense of being on top of the world.
b. Effort made by parties to find similarity and common interests.
c. Much time spent together in an effort to catch up on each other’s life with exchanges of photos, letters, and gifts.
d. Preoccupation with other party.
e. Minor negotiations about relationship, i.e., what to call birth- parent.
f. Some uncertainty about place or role in other’s life. Frequency of contact, how to introduce each other to friends and family members.
2. Time-out Stage
a. One party may pull back to evaluate and process events. The honeymoon is over.
b. Other party may feel confused when (a) occurs. Birth-parent may feel hurt, angry, frustrated and frightened if adoptee pulls back and adoptee may feel rejected by birth-parent if she/he pulls back.
c. Problems in relationship may develop here due to lack of understanding of the process; society has few role models for this experience.
d. Parties may need professional help to resolve situation.
3. Showdown Stage
a. Confrontation of parties to address status of relationship and its future development.
b. 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.
c. If adopted adult confronts birth-parents, she/he may fear being rejected by birth-parents.
4. Disengagement Stage
a. Characterized by adopted adult or birth-parents really moving away from the other – not just pulling back.
b. Can be extremely painful for either party with feelings of anger, loss, and rejection.
c. Can occur if expectations are too rigid and differences between parties are too great.
5. Solidifying Stage
a. 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.
b. Re-negotiations occur as life changes and growth takes place and new relationship roles emerge.
Adopted people who were loved and did attach to adoptive families, display much more emotional stability throughout the reunion process. They find it easier to bond and have no need to run and hide from the affections of the found family. Rather, they revel in it, and are able to do this because they have found themselves in familiar territory. Their search was based in a need for identify, the need to know where they came from, rather than driven by an unfulfilled need to be loved. Consequently they accept new affection with a graciousness that originates in the confidence of emotional security, as if it is their right. They display the self-esteem that originates in self-love. They are unafraid of rejection – they don’t know what it is. Finding a trusted person to talk to — a family member, friend, or counselor — can help when it comes to figuring things out. It can also help to talk to others who were adopted or to join a local or online support group.
Some additional resources that may offer you some information are:
Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons
Issues Facing Adult AdopteesRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )