This article was taken from the Georgia Agape web site.
Search and Reunion
The term “search and reunion” refers to the efforts of adoptees, birth parents or their family members to seek some kind of contact with a blood relative touched personally by adoption. An adopted person may wish to seek contact with a birth mother. A sibling of an adopted child may wish to seek contact with an adopted sibling. A birth mother may wish to seek contact with a child she placed for adoption.
Search and reunion efforts usually involve those who were part of adoption plans which included little, if any, openness. Current adoption practices involving a significant level of openness often negate a need for search and reunion.
Each state has laws regulating the requirements for search and reunion. Some are more restrictive than others. Some state laws give rights to adoptees and birth parents to do a certain level of searching. Prior to openness in adoptions becoming the norm in adoption practices, there were over 500 search support groups in the United States. There are also a few national search services.
There are several reasons why people decide to search and there are many emotional and social dynamics involved which can get fairly complicated. It often requires much sensitivity, diplomacy and cautious judgment to handle these situations well.
As can be anticipated, searching is viewed from many perspectives. Some view having information about, and contact with, their birth families as being a moral right of theirs. Some are open to having contact while others are hesitant. Some refuse to allow contact while others go overboard and force themselves on the other party. Some say searches should only occur after an adopted child reaches a certain age. Some put off searching in fear of appearing disloyal to their adoptive parents.
Yes, there are many dynamics involved. AGAPE provides help and support through this process with those whose adoptions occurred through our agency. Counseling prior to embarking on a search is recommended and can be very helpful. All of this underscores the value of working with an agency that will be around for many years to come in order to be available to help with this process.
This is a very important topic with much at stake. Because of this, birth mothers considering adoption would do well to anticipate their situation and consider the factors involved as they choose an agency to work with for an adoption placement.