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"Best" age for reunion(15 Posts)
My son is 10. He was adopted at 1 day old when were living overseas. (We're still overseas now but in a different country.) He is becoming increasingly upset about wanting to meet his Birth Mum. He says he has a hole in the middle of his heart that he can't fill until he meets her and that he's scared she'll die before he does.
His birth country is quite old-fashioned in that adoptions are closed and there is no expectation that children will try to trace their birth parents. We were told that if we were nice to him he wouldn't want to. There is also a huge stigma around teenage pregnancy, so I think there's a pretty good chance that BM has kept his existence a secret and would not want to see him anyway. We did meet her briefly at the time and she didn't seem bothered about relinquishing him, although her attitude may have changed. And there is some family criminal stuff going on.
So I'm concerned that my sensitive wee boy is not mature enough to handle potential rejection and other reunion complications, but on the other hand I'm wondering if I'm wrong.
We're thinking that as a start we might hire a PI to track her down to get more info about where she is in her life now.
In the meantime, I'd appreciate your thoughts and any books/websites you'd recommend for research.
This is a really hard one (about which I know literally nothing) but I don't want you to go unanswered.
It struck me that you have sort of framed your problem as 'shall I track down ds's bm to make his bad feeling go away or not?' and that part of the problem is that even if you find her, she wants to be in contact, it's all handled brilliantly etc (which seems unlikely anyway) it probably won't do what he/you think it will.
Might you be better off working out how you can help him with these big terrible feelings?
What a heartbreaking phrase: a hole in the middle of his heart. And really eloquent too.
I agree with conserve, it may be that finding birth mum helps him but the reality, as you've identified could be a mile away from that and maybe trying to help him with that emotional need might help him deal with whatever comes from future contact. But it feels like something you may need professional support with - is that available through your LA or agency?
Thanks guys. You've hit the nail on the head in that it probably won't make the bad feelings go away but I feel I need to do something. At the moment he says he doesn't want to talk to anyone other than us. I've just qualified as a counsellor (and chose adoption for a lot of my assignment topics) but this has me a bit stumped. I'll continue to offer him counselling as it would be better in the long term for him to talk to someone else.
Best age for reunion? Well I was in my late 20s and early 30s and found it pretty tough.
Not sure Id have coped at 10.
I know. The plan was always to wait until he's late teens but I keep wondering if we're doing more harm by waiting. We had a very bad experience with an adoption counsellor who said we were "pathetic" for waiting until he was older and I think it's making us doubt ourselves.
Your counsellor said you were pathetic
Maybe if you traced her, you could see if she would be willing to exchange letters? That might fill the hole a bit without an actual meeting? Is there an organisation in your country who could help facilitate that?
Yeah I posted on here about the counsellor at the time, possibly under another name (changed post Jeffrey). She told my husband in the first session that he was pathetic for wanting to wait until he was older and said that next time he was in the birth country on business he should go knock on BM's door to see if she's "nice". Needless to say I complained about the counsellor but since she's the head honcho didn't get very far.
PP: I don't think there'd be any helpful agency in birth country, since they don't expect/encourage tracing. I'm wary of the adoption organisation here, having met that counsellor.
Will ponder further and concentrate on support for him in dealing with his feelings.
How much does he know about her/the circumstances of his adoption?
I'm wondering if maybe what he's feeling as a 'hole in his heart' might be the same kind of hole that in the UK we try to bridge with life story work/letterbox/memory boxes etc. Not that I'm sure where that would leave you anyway, but maybe worth a thought or a read around those kind of areas.
I'm not sure what country your child was adopted from but I am on some US based FB groups that have parents and adoptees from all different countries. I bet there is someone with experience of your DS' country if you wanted to message me, I could send you some links to the groups.
Do you not think aged 10 may be still too young.
Krist1na I was much the same age as you and concur. OP I think it's really confusing for a child. Ideally maybe a book with some information, which he can get out and put away, physically and metaphorically, would be best. In 10 years might the birth country have changed at all and. E able to at least give you a resume? I can't see any reunion at his age ending in anything more than confusion. Rather than a hole in my heart I identified with something I once heard which was "a happy adoption can still feel like a beautiful pair of Italian shoes which don't quite fit" I certainly feel whole after tracing but would not have coped at 10!
I am adopted. And remember feeling the same way at his age.
With hindsight it the hole came from the sadness of "being rejected". It is very painful for a young child who does not yet understand the adult world to feel rejected and sad. And very normal for him to think a reunion will solve this. It won't.
I would avoid any face to face contact at this age. Reunion is very very complex and hard for adults let alone a 10 year old.
I have thought about what I would have wanted / needed at that age.
I think to have a letter from the BM explaining a little about his birth family - the reasons for his adoption and if she feels able to tell him she loves him could be an enormous comfort.
I would though encourage you to try to see if letterbox letters can be set up without telling him yet to see if a) the BM is open to this or b) the letters are appropriate for him to see/read. For him to know that you are trying this be then for his BM to not want or be able to so this would be another loss.
Can you also help him to feel connected to his country of origin. Maybe plan a trip there for had is teens when he older and more able to handle the many emotions he will experiece.
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