After all those years, now that your birth child is an adult and is ready to meet you, just how do you prepare to meet your child?
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for since you placed your child for adoption. You make ask yourself, “how can I prepare to visit my birth child” and the truth is, you can in many ways. That long-awaited day when you get to see your birth child, now that she’s old enough to decide she wants to meet you. Your excitement intensifies as you get to see your birth child as an adult face-to-face, and to see just how much he’s grown, and what he’s grown up to be like. But after all those long-awaited years, how exactly do you prepare to visit your birth child?
Setting Up Plans and Activities to Do with Your Birth Child
While talking on the phone, or emailing back and forth with your birth child, you can’t wait to discuss what you want to do once you get there and plan out activities during your visit. But if you’re stuck figuring out what to do, here are some suggestions on what both you and your birth child can do while bonding with each other during the visit:
- Learn about what your child is interested in and ask what he would like to do during your visit. If he’s into sports, offer to take him to a game of his choice. If he’s into music, offer to take him to a concert, even if it’s not exactly your taste in music. If he’s into art, suggest taking him to an art gallery so that he can discuss his favorite works of art with you. If he likes poetry, take him to a poetry meeting or an open mic night so he can share some of his poetry with you. The point is, whatever it is he likes to do, sharing the experience with him will not only bring you both closer, but you can actually both enjoy spending time together with an open mind.
- Look at some of her childhood photos and bring some of your own photos. Looking at photographs can be a great bonding experience and you can see what she was like as a child and she can also see what you were like too. You can make a scrapbook to take along to show her the things she most likely wondered about you as she grew up.
- Go out for coffee, go out for a drink, and set up a lunch or dinner date, to truly get to know him. Put your phone on silent, and keep other distractions away. Keep good eye contact while talking to him, and when he’s talking to you. Also, really listen to what he’s saying, especially on how he feels about finally meeting you. Have good posture, and don’t interrupt or get defensive if he asks why you placed him for adoption. Share your advice with him if he asks for it, and show that you care about him. You’re there to really get to know your birth child, so making a good and loving impression on him will help your bond grow stronger.
- Avoid those yes or no questions; those types of questions lead to dead-end conversations, which leads to awkward silences. Ask open-ended questions like, “What makes you happy?”, “What are you going to school for and what made you choose that major?”, or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. Those types of questions will help your birth child open up to you and it’ll show her that you care what’s going on in her life.
- Take a tour of her neighborhood or city, and ask your birth child what her favorite places are. See what popular attractions are and ask if she’d like to take photos with you there.
- Go to the zoo, the beach, the aquarium, or even a museum. Talk with him about the attractions, and ask him what’s his favorite thing about that place.
- Offer to cook a meal with her. If you love to cook and she doesn’t know how (or vice versa), you can learn to cook a new meal with her. You don’t have to cook a full out fancy meal, but spending time with her while cooking a meal you both can enjoy eating together will mean a lot to her.
- Go shopping. Take time out to shop at your birth child’s favorite shops, and look around to see what he or she likes to buy. Offer to buy some new clothes, some makeup products, a new video game, get something for an apartment or room, or get something your child might need for college. Buy a souvenir to remember your trip, and buy one for your child too. You don’t have to shop till you drop to buy love; just letting your child know you’re enjoying your shopping trip will be something you both will remember.
- Go see a movie with your birth child. You can go see a comedy and both laugh your guts out. Particularly, if your birth child’s a daughter, she might want to see a romance movie with an attractive lead character, and you’ll both have some eye candy to look at and swoon over on the screen. If your birth child’s a son, he might want to can see an action film and both of you can be on the edge of your seats for each suspenseful fast-paced moment. You can see a horror movie and both of you scream and squeeze each other’s hands when a surprising scary moment happens. Watching movies can be a bonding experience because you both can talk about what you both liked and didn’t like about the film afterward, and you can hold onto your ticket stub for memories of the visit. It also helps you know your child’s potential interests.
- Get to know the adoptive parents, and get to know the spouse if there is one. Showing interest in your birth child’s family will mean the world to him or her, and it’ll prove that you want a long-lasting relationship with your birth child.
There are so many fun things you can do while visiting your birth child. Doing any one of these activities will have an unforgettable impact on your birth child, and you as well. And who knows, maybe he or she will ask you about your favorite things to do to also make you feel comfortable and welcome on your visit.
Preparing a Week Before Your Visit
Depending on how far your birth child lives, say if she lives a couple of hours to days away, it’s a good idea to plan out your trip. Make sure your vehicle’s in good working order, has passed inspection, and has a full tank of gas. If you’re taking a train or plane, make sure you’ve gotten your tickets a few months in advance. Familiarize yourself with the travel routes, distances and times, so you know what estimated time you’ll arrive in the city or state your birth child lives in. Choose what to pack and pack accordingly. (Appropriate clothing for the weather, toiletries, chargers, cameras, roadside emergency kit, first aid kit, etc.)
If your trip is longer than a day, you’ll need to have a place to stay. If you’ve been offered to stay at your birth child’s home or at his adoptive parents’ home, be cordial and respectful. You want to be friendly and let the family know how much you appreciate the parents letting you stay for the next day or so. If that isn’t an option, you’ll need to be prepared to stay in either a hotel or a motel. Look up the prices of the lodging, and find the hotel or motel that you can afford–also handy to check out the reviews of the hotel or motel.
When traveling to visit your birth child, you might want to keep some money aside for food. You don’t have to go out to eat anywhere fancy, just make sure you have money for a quick and easy meal, or better yet, you could pack your own lunch, snack or dinner. If you plan on taking your birth child out to a restaurant during your visit, also have money aside to offer to pay for the meals. That way, your birth child can see that you don’t expect her or the adoptive parents to pay for your meal.
Let Work Know If The Visit Is on a Work Day
If you’re scheduled to work the day of the visit with your birth child, let your boss know at least two weeks in advance. You don’t want to risk losing your job, even though seeing your birth child is important. Explain to your boss as to why you’d like the day off and how many days you plan on being off. Let your boss know how thankful you are for having a few days off to see your birth child, and that you’ll be able to go back to work on your next shift after you get back from the visit.
The Day Before The Visit
It’s the night before the visit, and you probably can’t sleep because of the feelings of both exhilaration and nervousness. Be assured that those feelings are okay, and just think of what fun both you and your birth child will have. Think about what he’s told you that his interests are, and work your day’s activities around that. Or, call him and ask what he’d like to do. Maybe he’d like to take you sightseeing in his city to show you his favorite places. Or, he may want to just chat with you over some coffee, to catch up with you, and talk about how his life is going. Whatever you both decide to do, just enjoy spending time with your birth child, even if both of you are nervous at first.
The Day of The Visit
At last, the day is here. Finally, with all the planning done, and the meeting and activities set in place, you’re ready to go and visit your birth child. Double check that you have everything you need for both the visit and the trip. Once you’re ready to go, let your birth child know you’re leaving and will meet her wherever you choose to meet. If you’re driving, make sure your car is filled up, and well maintained. Pack your luggage in your car, and don’t forget the GPS, snacks, and things you’d like to show your birth child. However, your method of travel, travel safely. Be cautious of traffic and delays, and let your birth child and/or adoptive parents be aware of the delay.
You’ve finally made it. Feelings of excitement and nervousness are flowing through your mind, but it’s the time to meet your birth child face-to-face. She’s probably feeling the same way, but she’ll be more than happy to meet you after all this time. Once you get to your meeting place, whatever you do, or whatever feelings of anxiety kick in, don’t flake on your child and not show up; she’ll be heartbroken and feel let down after waiting all this time to see you again. Take several deep breaths and walk over to meet her. Be prepared to embrace her, but don’t be too clingy. Be prepared for tears of joy as you embrace each other, and cherish this moment. Ask her how she is and that you’re so happy to see her.
Truly enjoy your time with him and soak up all the marvelous feelings as you both open up to each other about what has been going on in each other’s lives. Ask him to meet his adoptive family if the family is open to meeting you. Making the time out of your life just to see him, will fill that empty feeling that he had and bring you both close as a birth family. Don’t forget to offer to do some of the activities listed above to make what was a lost connection feel like a unified reunion.
After spending some enjoyable quality time with you, she’ll most likely want to make her own little birth family tradition with you, and she’ll ask you to visit her again real soon.
Kandice Confer is an adopted twin, wife, and mother of two girls who loves spending time with her family and two rabbits. She loves reading and writing inspirational works of literature and loves telling stories.