May 4th, 2007
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Categories: Adoptees, How to...

When there is a reunion between a birth parent and their child (adult or not), a child might need certain things from their parent. They may be able to articulate what they want or need. It is possible that they have some clear and concise gaps that they hope that their parents can fill in for them.

These gaps might be as simple as answering questions, or they could be more complex. There might be some specific emotional voids that they expect their birth parents to fill. The possibilities are numerous.

However, it is more likely that they are uncertain themselves what they might need from their birth parents. After getting to know their parent a bit, they might have clearer expectations. A one time phone call or meeting could satisfy their curiosity and be enough for them.


If there seems to be a connection, the adoptee might want to develop a relationship with their birth parent. Many adoptees and birth parents enter reunion without a clear idea of what they expect or hope to happen. It is often extremely difficult to know for certain until you meet that other person.

A strong connection could be evident from day one, or the first conversation might prove awkward and indicate that you have little in common except your blood relationship. The more common finding, however, is that you are much alike. If a bond seems likely from the beginning, that fact may help to clarify what type of relationship might be possible.

How can you really know what your child needs from you other than unconditional love and honest answers to their questions? How can you figure out what your child expects from you? There are two main ways to help you determine what your child needs or wants from your relationship:

1) Listen to their clues. Pay attention to what they say and do. Some of the clues that they send out may be very subtle. Others will be more obvious. However,if you listen carefully, there probably are some ways to determine what your child needs or wants from reunion.

2) Talk to them and ask them what they need and want. Open and frank discussions are not always possible because both parties must be willing to let down their guards and take risks. Nonetheless, it is well worth it to be direct, and sometimes ask hard questions. You need to be as tactful and sensitive as possible, but communicating honestly does help build a relationship.

For more resources:

The Recovery Process, Post-Reunion

Definition of Post-Reunion Issues.

Photo By Jan Baker 2007

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