Julia Feast (Search and Reunion Consultant) gives expert video advice on: What happens when people contact their birth family?; Does searching for birth family change the relationship in adoptive families?; Do people usually get a positive? and more...
What happens when people contact their birth family?
When contact's made with a birth family member, there is a range of emotions that people will encounter. Excitement, joy, happiness, fear, concern, anxiety - so it is difficult to say what one person is going to encounter. But they need to be prepared for the different emotions and complexities that contact and reunions may bring for them and their families, as well as all the benefits it may bring.
Does searching for birth family change the relationship in adoptive families?
Adoptive parents can often be concerned that if their son or daughter locates and finds and develops a relationship with the birth family, that it will change the relation they've had with their child. But research has shown that this is not the case, that often relationships can be enhanced because the adoptive person can identify exactly the good things and the positive things they've got from their adoptive family, and also the good things and positive things they've got from their birth family.
Do people usually get a positive?
When adopted people approach their birth families, they don't really know what kind of response they're going to get. But from research studies and from anecdotal information, the majority of people receive a positive response from a birth family member or from a birth parent and can develop very good relationships. But for some people making contact means that they receive a negative response where the birth parent doesn't want to have any contact. However, that being said, a lot of people who have searched and found and contacted birth relatives who have ended up with rejection or a negative response will still say that the journey of finding out was important because they're living with reality about their situation and not fantasy.
Do these new relationships last in the long term?
Research is showing when adoptees make contact with their birth relatives, some very good relationships can develop and to be long lasting. But sometimes relationships flounder like any relationships. In life, you have to work at them and for some adoptive people contact with their birth family may not last. That is what we know from research, a lot of them do.