While adoption reunions are often a joyous occasion, and are portrayed in the media as such, they do not always go as expected. It takes an amazing amount of courage to reach out for a reunion from either side, so it can certainly be heartbreaking when one party doesn’t want to reunite. The weight of that rejection can be crushing, and the pain of finding your child only to feel like you have lost them once again can be unbearable.
If you’re thinking about reaching out to your child, the fear that they’ll say no may be stopping you. At the end of the day, the worst they can say is no, and you are left at square one. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to hold out hope that they may one day change their mind. You should not pressure or continue unwanted contact, but feel success knowing the ball is now in their court.
Some children simply may not want a reunion because they’re scared as well or even because they have misinformation. Give them time. When you reach out, let them know you do respect their decision to say no. You may not know what has gone on in their life, and you certainly don’t know what’s going on in their head. A request to reunite can be incredibly unnerving.
When setting forth a request for a reunion, prepare for the possibility that they’ll say no. Write them a letter that says everything you hoped to say. Prepare for the reality that this may be your only contact. Also prepare yourself for the fact that they may one day change their mind. Leave long-term contact information to account for the reality of that “no” that may in fact be a “not yet.” Also understand there is a chance they may never want to reunite. It will be incredibly hard, but either way, you can have a little peace of mind knowing that your child, if they ever doubted it, now knows they are loved and wanted.
Read Latonya and Sheila’s reunion story here.
Written by Lita Jordan