Adoption reunions have been at the forefront of the “feel good” and “restored faith in humanity” stories that go viral on social media. It warms the heart to see long-lost parents and children reunite. There are often many hugs shared, and many tears shed as a story is seemingly coming to its conclusion. However, these reunion stories have just begun. Now begins the stage of building relationships, which isn’t always easy. It can be even harder when trying to navigate how to introduce your birth mother and adoptive mother while preserving feelings and protecting the relationship you have with both parties.
After the excitement of the reunion is over, the thought of having to introduce your biological mother to your adoptive mother can be nerve wrecking. It is normal for there to be tension, awkwardness, and even jealousy. It may weigh heavily on you, to the point that you feel caught in the middle. If one of the parties involved is for some reason resistant to a reunion, it can make the idea even more difficult.
It is important to give yourself and others around you, time. You are not responsible for catering to their feelings. It may sound harsh, but there needs to be an understanding that you are the main character in this story. While you can certainly be sensitive to each party’s feelings, and make sure that they feel heard, you are not responsible for making them feel okay with the situation or allow them to motivate your feelings. You have to live your life and make decisions that are best for you and your adoption story.
You may choose to delay introducing your birth and adoptive mother if tensions are high. There is no rule of when this has to take place if it has to happen at all. If it is not important to you that they meet, then you can certainly make a choice to let it happen with time. If it is important to you, there are a few steps that you can take to help make the introduction as smooth as possible. Take some time to hear each other feelings and fears. Offer any reassurances you may have based on what you know of each other.
It may be easier for them to get a longer time to know each other on a less intimate platform such as social media or over the phone. If you want to do the meeting in person, it is likely better to do it in a more public venue as a very casual event. Plan to go to brunch together or a short visit for a coffee. Set the stage so that each person feels they can ease into conversation slowly. Don’t force it, but come up with some funny stories or general icebreakers to have a conversation. It is about them getting to know each other, but also about getting rid of the awkwardness that will likely be present.
Regardless of how you plan to introduce your birth and adoptive mom, understand that a relationship may not be reasonable at the moment. However, you should expect and deserve cordiality. In many cases, this may not be an issue. They have bonded already in their love for you. It is only likely that you will have to defeat some initial awkwardness and tension. Take it slow, don’t force it, and introduce them when you feel like it is the right time for all involved.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.