Search and Reunion – Marlou Russell

April 20th, 2007

This article by Marlou Russell addresses some typical search and reunion issues. Marlou Russell, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and MFCC in private practice in Santa Monica, California where she specializes in adoption issues, and is the author of Adoption Wisdom. If you are not familiar with Marlou Russell, I recommend her highly. Although she is helpful to all triad members, she particularly has a great deal of practical advice for adoptive parents. As an adoptee herself, she understands the adoption experience better than most. She has so much wise advice for not only adoptive parents, but counselors who work with all triad members. In the article mentioned above, Marlou discusses many issues that crop up in search and reunions, and offers… [more]

Tips for Birth Parents in Reunion

April 6th, 2007
Categories: General Tips, Reunion

Many birth parents enter reunion clueless about how adoptees feel. Of course, this is somewhat unavoidable if they are not expecting a reunion but are found by their children. However, if you really want to build a relationship that suceeds, I suggest a crash course in learning about adoption and adoptees. When my reunion first began, my son told me that he was reading a book that was mainly about birthmothers. That told me a great deal about his sincere interest in wanting to know me, and to understand me. I immediately purchased the same book, and have been reading about adoption fast and furiously ever since. Here is some of what I have learned: 1. Respect your child's adoptive parents and if you are… [more]

What Does a Good Reunion Look Like? – Part 1

February 20th, 2007

Due to my involvement with the adoption reform community, I know many people who are reunited. Some of the people I know who are in reunion were the searchers, others like me were found. So far, I cannot see any correlation between those who searched and those who were found as far as how satisfying they find may reunion. Nearly all the birth parents that I know seemed to embrace the idea of reunion although to varying degrees. Most of the adoptees I know tend to be searchers, so of course they are interested in reunion. I do hear about adoptees who do not want to be found. A happy reunion - some believe that they do not exist. I know that they do… [more]

Ways to Sabotage a Reunion

February 14th, 2007
Categories: General Tips, Reunion

People entering reunion rarely know much about how the process works best and make errors in judgment sometimes. Although none of the items below are certain to destroy a reunion, they might make the other party ready to retreat and run for the hills. 1. Call the other party on the phone as often as possible. Pay no attention to the time of day or night. Have no concerns as to whether you are calling too much. Ignore their signals if they do not sound glad to hear from you all the time. 2. Insist on being called "mom" by your child if you are a birth mother. If your child wants to call you by your first name, tell them that you… [more]

10 Tops Ways to Survive Reunion

January 10th, 2007
Categories: General Tips, Reunion

Most people who reunite are thrilled for the opportunity. No one ever said reunion was a piece of cake though. If they did....they lied! Maybe I am wrong, I suppose for some people reunion could be easy; I just don't know any. Below are my top ten ways to survive reunion: 1) Find the best adoption therapist that you can afford. If you can find one who is a triad member, so much the better. I met faithfully with an adoptee/therapist during the first year of reunion. Wow, was she helpful! 2) Take lots of long, relaxing bubble baths - preferably with snacks. Bubble baths became routine for me during that first year of reunion. My husband drew baths for me, brought snacks in and pampered… [more]

Don’t Miss the Joy

September 1st, 2006

Adoption is a multi-dimensional experience with aspects, good, bad and somewhere in between. It is inevitable at times to get mired in the complicated issues that adoption may present to us. Nowhere is this more applicable than at reunion. There are issues to work on at reunion generally for both parties. For birth parents, it is common for them to be grieving their loss during reunion. Either they did not grieve enough initially or at all for various reasons. Our society has only recently even acknowledged that loss is present for birth parents and adoptees. Most birth parents do find themselves grieving their loss at the same time that their child comes back into their life. Some birth parents have been… [more]

Slow Down and Enjoy the Ride!

August 31st, 2006

To build a reunion relationship, you need to proceed slowly. When I spoke to my son on the phone that first time, we had a warm and congenial conversation. The words came easily for us. I think that he would agree. Because our first contact was so positive, I was very enthusiastic and ready to shift into high gear with our relationship. I wanted closeness and a connection right away. Although I felt a connection immediately, it takes time to build a relationship, even when the two people are related. Those years apart is a barrier of sorts. When I want something, I tend to charge ahead full speed and go for it. Patience has never been one of my finer qualities… [more]

Judging Your Reunion Relationship – Part 2

June 1st, 2006
Categories: General Tips, Reunion

Another reason comparing your reunion with others is a bad idea is that you can probably always find someone whose situation may have some elements that might be better than yours. However, you do not know their whole story, so, it is hard to adequately judge their relationships. Plus, you can always find some reunions not nearly as good as yours probably as well. Do yourself a favor. Try your hardest to savor each second of your reunion relationship. Consider your time spent with your birth family member as a gift that many people are denied. Instead of trying to rate your relationship and be dissatisfied that it is not all that you wish for, remember that you are one of the… [more]