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After either a long, tedious search or a quick search online, you have found your birth family. You probably went through, and are still going through, a lot of emotions, including happiness, confusion, joy, sadness, or even anger. All of these feelings are normal. Undoubtedly the next question you ask yourself is what do you do now? So you've found them online or you know how to contact them, but do you actually contact them right away? And if you do, what do you say?
Give it Some Thought
Initiating contact is a pivotal part of reunion process, and it's not to be taken too lightly. Instead of writing the first thing that comes to your head, take some time to think out what you want to say exactly. Remember, essentially this will be that person's first impression of you. If you hit the wrong tone, you may not even get a response or the potential relationship will be over before it even begins.
Be completely upfront from the beginning. Tell them who you are and how you found them. This will help them to put the pieces together on their end. Because of reunion scams out there, they may be hesitant to believe you. However, if you provide verifiable information, they can look into it and feel secure in your honesty.
Don't Let the Flood Gates Open
While it's important to be honest and upfront with your initial contact, that doesn't mean you should tell them everything you've ever felt for the last thirty, forty, or fifty years. Save that for later in the relationship. What you feel, no matter the emotion, is justified and important, but there is a time and place for everything, and initial contact is neither the time nor the place. Save that for when trust has been established.
Leave the Next Step Open
As eager as you are to begin a relationship, the other person may be a bit hesitant. Remember, you've had time to process that you've found the person you were looking for. The other person hasn't yet, but they will. So, let them make the next move. If they're interested in meeting or talking or emailing, they'll let you know. You don't want to pressure them if they're not ready. That would only overwhelm them, and they might push against this potential relationship.
The process of initiating contact will be different for everyone, but most will follow the basic "rules" above. These rules aren't set in stone, but they are good guidelines to follow in the beginning of an adoption-related relationship. Trust yourself and your instincts, but remember that every relationship requires two sides. If the other person isn't ready to start a relationship, you need to respect that decision, just as they should respect your decision for initiating contact. Always be polite when initiating contact, and stand back until the other person is ready to move forward. Then, and only then, can a reconnection work.
Being adopted was no big deal for me. It was my reality. As a teenager and young adult I was often asked, “Why do you care?” While this sounds like an innocent question it... more
I have been searching for my son since I was 18 years old. I gave him up for Adoption when he was just shy of a year, because I was not capable at the time of taking care... more
Remember that your search can help you figure out more about yourself, but it can also bring additional complications. Make sure you're ready for both outcomes.
"It took 3 years, but I was finally reunited with my son I placed for adoption in 1975. So don't give up. Keep your profile updated if you move. I put my profile on Adoption.com in 2010 and my son found me in 2013.Thank you, Adoption.com." - Deborah
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.