Reunions can be beautiful and life-giving, but they can also be incredibly scary and harrowing for a child who’s been adopted. This can be especially true for a child who has only recently found out they were adopted. Reunions can occur for many different reasons. An adoptive parent might feel it is time for the child to meet their birth family or may have changed their mind about having a closed adoption. The child may discover by accident, through documentation or a relative, that were adopted. The child may have a medical crisis that would require donation from a blood relative. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to discern the best way to approach reunion. It can be especially difficult for those who have chosen not to tell their child they were adopted.
How to Tell the Child
While truthfulness and openness in adoption are becoming the norm, there are many private and valid reasons why an adoption might be kept from a child initially. However, adoption is ever-changing. Before trying to figure out how to approach the reunion, the adoptive parents must decide how to tell the child they are adopted. There are many ways to do this and many opinions on how to do it best. This will vary based on the child and the circumstances under which they were placed. Regardless, the best approach is to tell the truth and offer the facts. Some refer to this as a “Come to Jesus” moment. The adoptive parents will need to provide all the information they have, be upfront, and leave their opinions out of it. They should also answer any questions the child has as truthfully as possible.
How to Talk about Reunion
After the child has been informed of the adoption, reunion can be brought to the table. Unless there is a medical emergency that requires the reunion to take place, it is vital that the child be given that choice. It comes down to the fact that the child’s life is their life and their story is their story. Especially if the child has just discovered they were adopted, they may need time to process the information.
Pushing a reunion on a child can be incredibly confusing. On the same note, hindering a reunion that a child wants can be equally detrimental. There is no easy way to broach this scenario. A child finding out that they are adopted and then having a reunion proposition thrust upon them can be a lot to handle at any age. Remain truthful and open, and let the child take the lead as you listen and honor their needs.
Written by Lita Jordan