Adoption Search Tips - Reunion Tips Advice for your search.... Future Warp en-US Susan Friel-Williams Adoption Search Tips 0.000000 0.000000 Successful Search? Reunion advice for Adoptees <p><a title="Successful Search? Reunion advice for Adoptees" href=""><img style="float: left;" title="Successful Search? Reunion advice for Adoptees" src="" alt="Successful Search? Reunion advice for Adoptees" width="342" height="191" /></a> If you are an adoptee who has initiated a successful search, you may be confused at what comes next in the reunion process.&nbsp; Most adoptees who start a search NEVER expect to be welcomed by the targeted birth family member.&nbsp; I know when I was facing that all important telephone call to my own birth father, the last thing I expected him to say was, "Hi, I guess I'm your Dad, what took you so long to call me?"</p> <p>After talking to thousands of adoptees facing the same scenario, one thing is clear.&nbsp; We NEVER expected to be welcomed, and most of us only planned for what to do when our contact was rejected. This leaves us totally at a loss on the steps to take to reintegrate our birth family members into our present lives with as little disruption as possible to our existing family.&nbsp; The Staff at Search Quest would like to offer the following advice:</p> <p>START SLOW &nbsp; Take baby steps! &nbsp; Your reunion will be a roller coaster of emotions - just be aware of that.&nbsp; Some days you will want all of this NOW and the next day you will want none of it.&nbsp; You will experience extreme highs and extreme lows.&nbsp; This IS normal.&nbsp; You will wonder what happened to your old way of life....that seemed less complicated.&nbsp; You 'used' to know everyone in your life and all their quirks, but now you have a whole new set of people you are related too and you have to get to know them over time. Reunion does not happen overnight or in one phone call.&nbsp; It's a gradual process and can take as long as two years so pace yourself.</p> <p>Do not immediately ask EVERY question you have always had about your birth and adoption.&nbsp; Write down what questions you have and then ask them over time.&nbsp; If you are about to make first contact by phone please be aware that you will probably NOT remember half of your initial conversation.&nbsp;&nbsp; The whole event will have a surreal quality to it.&nbsp; Some adoptees have described the first call as an almost 6th sense out of body experience.</p> <p>Be prepared for your call.&nbsp; Have a pad and paper handy with your more pressing questions already written down but remember your birth family member will also have questions.&nbsp; Make sure you have something to drink handy (preferably non alcoholic).&nbsp; Reunion is a give and take and integration of thoughts and emotions and ideas. You may want to limit phone access to maybe a cell phone to begin with, then add home phone.&nbsp; E-mail is also a perfect way to start getting to know one another so exchange your email addresses or Facebook pages!</p> <p>The #1 question that we get here at Search Quest America on making the first contact call is, "What do I say?"</p> <p>My answer is always, "Say Hello!"&nbsp; Everything after that will come naturally.&nbsp; Be prepared for tears.&nbsp; Even the gruffest adoptees tear up during reunion.&nbsp; If you are contacting your birth parents, he or she may be very worried that you are ANGRY at them for placing you for adoption.&nbsp; You are going to need to reassure them that is not the case.&nbsp; Even if your adoptive home life left something to be desired it's best not to unload past baggage on them in the first call.&nbsp; Most birth parents either did not have a choice in the matter, or were doing what they felt was best for you by providing you with a 2 parent family to grow up in.</p> <p>When meeting in person for the first time - we suggest you do not stay with your birth family.&nbsp; A hotel is the best place to stay so you can rest and regroup.&nbsp; This will allow you to have some space just for downtime and contemplation.&nbsp; Take a friend or spouse only.&nbsp; Meet in a place central to both parties and set a time limit - a few hours will be enough.&nbsp; Take pictures of you and your adoptive family or children (copies if possible) to give to your birth family.&nbsp; Don't be surprised if you and your birth mother end up comparing hands, fingers, toes, or other features.&nbsp; It's part of the discovery process and can be very 'grounding' to an adoptee to finally find 'someone' they look like.</p> <p>Adoptees tend to be not give up or give away YOU for new-found family.&nbsp; It is very common to want to focus only on your reunion and put everything else on hold while you process the event, but your family and co-workers may not understand why you are ignoring them and can feel 'left out' of the whole process.&nbsp; Spouses, in particular, need lots of one-on-one time because they are naturally concerned about your well-being and don't want you to be hurt.</p> <p>Remember, there is just one of you and lots of them!&nbsp; Everyone will want to touch you and hug you and you will be overwhelmed - remind yourself you cannot get to know them all at once.&nbsp; Guard your private space and allow yourself time to take a mental time out.&nbsp; You may not like everyone you meet - just because they are your birth family - they may not become your best friends.&nbsp; Again - take it slow - give it time.&nbsp; Remember, knowing the answers...good or bad, is always better than not knowing and forever wondering.</p> <p>Good Luck in your Quest!</p> <p>Patty Lawrence and&nbsp;Susan E. Friel-Williams</p> <p><img style="margin-right: 5px; margin-left: 5px;" title="Susan Friel-Williams" src="" alt="Susan Friel-Williams" width="72" height="60" /> Susan E. Friel-Williams<br /> CEO, Case Manager and Licensed Investigator<br /><a title="Search Quest America" href="" target="_blank">Search Quest America</a></p> 3, 17 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Reunion Tips Susan 0 Adoptees - In Search Of Self <p><a title="Adoptees - In Search Of Self" href=""><img style="float: left;" title="Adoptees - In Search of 'Self'" src="" alt="Adoptees - In Search of 'Self'" width="342" height="191" /></a> We are often asked 'why' adoptees come to a point in their lives that they start a search for biological family.&nbsp; The best answer to that question is that they are in search of 'self'.&nbsp; Soren Kierkegaard said this, "Life must be understood backwards, but... it must be lived forwards".&nbsp; When you are adopted and you do not know the beginning of your personal story, nothing that comes afterward makes any sense, and until you find out your own answers you never understand why.</p> <p>An adoptee once explained his feelings this way.&nbsp; "Imagine that you are running late to the most exciting 'new release' movie in the theater.&nbsp; You rush up to the ticket counter, pay for the tickets, grab your popcorn and pop at the concession stand and rush into the theater only to discover that the movie has already started.&nbsp; You quickly become engrossed in what's happening on the screen, but it's a bit confusing because the characters keep referring back to something that happened in the first 10 minutes that you missed.&nbsp; You turn to the person sitting next to you and ask, "What did I miss?"&nbsp; They frown at the interruption and tell you that it doesn't really matter, just watch and you'll figure it out.&nbsp; You turn to the person on the other side and ask the same question.&nbsp; She tells you "Don't worry about what you missed, just enjoy the rest of the movie." Well, in life, without searching for the first part of their story, an adoptee can 'never' figure out the rest of the 'movie' and they are left with a disquieting and nagging sense that they have missed something crucial in their own personal story.</p> <p>Statistics have shown that men and women choose different times, age wise, to take their first tentative steps to discover their beginnings.&nbsp; Women usually start searching at a younger age, often contacting their adoption agencies or asking their parents for information as soon as they turn 18.&nbsp; Men, on the other hand, seem to start a serious search for answers only after they are married and are contemplating starting a family.&nbsp; The one trait common to both men and women is that they start a search, run into difficulty, and stop searching for a period of time.&nbsp; Then, a few months or a few years later, something happens in their life such as a birth of a child, or a medical dilemma that requires family medical history, and the search starts again.</p> <p>Rarely is an adoptee in search of 'new' or different parents.&nbsp; The need to locate or make a connection with biological family is more about finally make sense of who they are as an individual.&nbsp; In the mid 1950's and early 1960's, most adoption agencies or social service placements tried to 'match' the adoptive family with a child from similar ethnic, social and religious backgrounds.&nbsp; This practice, although not always effective, did place the child into what was hoped would be an instinctual familiar environment.&nbsp; However as wonderful and as loving as the adoptive family was to the adoptee, the adoptee often felt as if they were disassociated; on the outside looking in to what could be theirs if they only 'fit in' better.&nbsp; As examples, a child was placed with a boisterous outgoing athletic family prefers a quiet nook in a corner reading a good book rather than play sports games with everyone else.&nbsp; Or a child with impressive musical or artistic talent is placed in a hard working blue collar family who has 'no time' for such frivolous pursuits and discouraged the adoptee from doing so.</p> <p>In addition, many children were placed in families with distinctly different physical characteristics.&nbsp; Blonde children were placed with dark haired families, and always 'stood out' as different.&nbsp; With the advent of adoption placements for bi-racial or foreign born children, the differences between the children and their parents, grandparents and other family members became more pronounced.&nbsp; Although the adoptees know they were loved and wanted, almost all wish to look at another face similar to their own to feel a special connection with their birth.</p> <p>In the past two years it's become apparent that not only the adoptee feels this 'lack of self', but the adoptee's children and grandchildren do also.&nbsp; Several of our more recent cases&nbsp; at <a title="Search Quest America" href="" target="_blank">Search Quest America</a> have been initiated by the children and grandchildren of adoptees in hope to solve not only their own family mystery but to discover their origins.</p> <p>If you were adopted and have never had the desire to search personally, ask your children and grandchildren how they feel.&nbsp; You may be surprised at their interest.&nbsp; If this is the case, start your search now.&nbsp; If something were to happen to you, and your family tried to start a search, in many states they would not be able to gather enough information through proper channels to accomplish a search.&nbsp; An adoptee can request and receive information.&nbsp; The survivors in a family may not have that legal right.</p> <p>If you are an adoptive parent, please do not feel threatened by your son or daughter's interests in finding their origins.&nbsp; Every week I hear from someone taking their first steps in search who were born fifty or sixty years ago.&nbsp; Their reasons for not searching sooner 'always' have to do with not wanting to hurt their parents, or because they promised to 'not' search until after their parents have passed.&nbsp; How much better could it be to work together, as a team, to discover the answers?</p> <p>In conclusion, I would like to assure you that it is absolutely normal to want to know your origins.&nbsp; Genealogy is one of the fastest growing pursuits in the world.&nbsp; It is so popular that there is a new show on TV that takes celebrities on a genealogical journey through their family history to discover their own story.&nbsp; The show is called, "Who Do You Think You Are?" and it airs on Friday nights.</p> <p>I am a reluctant and somewhat jealous fan, because for an adoptee stuck in an adoption system that still endorses 'sealed records', it is a lifelong struggle to find a 'sense of self'.'s not as easy as they make it look on TV.</p> <p>Good Luck in your Quest!</p> <p><img style="margin-right: 5px; margin-left: 5px;" title="Susan Friel-Williams" src="" alt="Susan Friel-Williams" width="72" height="60" /> Susan E. Friel-Williams<br /> CEO, Case Manager and Licensed Investigator<br /><a title="Search Quest America" href="" target="_blank">Search Quest America</a></p> 7, 26 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Reunion Tips Susan 0