So you have spent a great deal of effort finally locating a relative, and now have come full circle to making contact and reintroducing yourself to your birth family. There is something unique about family and the relationship we can have with them. In many ways family is for life, even if some may not get along with all family members. The same is true for a family in reunion. There is a time when everyone involved will be testing the waters to feel if this is comfortable.
While making contact the first time can be a challenge, if the relations have graduated to a level where you will be planning a time to meet them face to face, expect that it will be awkward, special, and contagious. Every possible emotion is on the table for all to explore and face. In the beginning it can feel like a honeymoon. Intense and life changing ideas are explored. We have even heard some describe it like coming from a place where everything was black and white and now can be seen in full color.
Like any relationship, nothing is guaranteed to last. Both sides are responsible for putting effort into caring and maturing the conversation to a level that either side is comfortable with maintaining. The expectation is that this commitment is for life, but to some the intensity of bringing someone up to speed with whom they are now and building a trust, genuine enough to last, cannot be done with heads down.
In the majority of reunions we have witnessed many do endure past the honeymoon phase, as long as both parties are equally honest and willing to put the effort into a new person in their lives, then it can take hold. We find that similar biological natures accompanies people who have the potential to like one another. However, it is only half the ingredients to bake a friendship, let alone a new family member.
For adoptees the reality that we must come to terms with is that we are both of the birth family and the adopted family we were raised by. We are not entirely one, or the other. The separation with birth family from the adoptee could be as little as it has taken to get to adulthood, or it may have been half a century or more in the making. Some things will seem extremely familiar and others the complete opposite. Just be prepared to be open and honest, be willing to take things a step at a time and let this new world unfold naturally.
There are many books on reunion that do more justice on the subject than this page of text. Please take a look at our Literature and Links page for more in-depth realizations and wisdom regarding reunions. If one piece of advice can be shared then it would be to come prepared with all the questions you have ever wanted answered. If for some reason people want to pace the relationship to a level of intensity they would feel more comfortable with, we should do our best to honor these wishes.