When a Birth Parent Has a Criminal Record

May 2nd, 2008
Categories: Birthparents, Reunions

I came across this story this morning. A man who was adopted found his birth father. Instead of the touching reunion many adopted children envision, this man found that his biological father was a convicted murderer on Ohio’s Death Row. The son, Sean Baker, is convinced of this biological father’s innocence, even though the man is believed to have been the leader in a prison riot that ended a correctional officer’s life, not to mention the crime that landed him behind bars in the first place (also a murder). Whether or not the man is innocent or not, it merits looking at the fantasy our adopted children can build up about less-than-perfect birth parents. All of us, adopted or not, at some point indulge in the fantasy… [more]

When Adoptees Search For Birth Parents

March 30th, 2008

Many adoptees wished they had waited until they were more mature before searching for their birth parents. Comments like, I would have handled it so much better if I had waited were common. However, as individuals, we all do what we feel we must, when we feel we must. If a teenager is so obsessed with meeting birthparents that he or she cannot concentrate on anything else then it might not be possible to wait. If thoughts of birthparents are becoming so constant that, they are beginning to disrupt your other relationships, then searching immediately might make more sense. Before you begin your search, Danea Gorbett, author of “Adopted Teens Only A Survival Guide to Adolescence,” suggests that you examine your motives. Decide what you want… [more]

Search and Reunion

October 4th, 2006
Categories: Reunions

There are some powerful topics in adoption that are revisited time and again. Search and reunion is one of them. I have always assumed that I would be the one leading the search and reunion charge for my daughters, but as I have read more about the experience I have come to understand that they may not even want me involved in the process. I believe we have established something of a psychological relationship with the reality of their mother so that if my girls choose to go it alone they will be emotionally prepared for the reunion experience. Still, I hope they will let me be a part of such a significant event in their lives. I should probably examine my motive… [more]

Reunion Protocol Continued

March 17th, 2006
Categories: Reunions

I ended my discussion yesterday about supporting your adolescent's reunion with his or her parents with suggestions about making the initial contact a campaign of written exchanges. I emphasized the fact that this method of communication could go on for months. Once you and your child feel you are developing a meaningful rapport with your child's birthparent via this method of communication it is time to move to the next level of contact. Before, I go into the details of this any further, let me now digress and explain the psychobabble rumination about why I developed this particular protocol. Over the years I have seen many previously well-adjusted adoptive families strained to the near breaking point because of reunions gone awry. After listening to some… [more]

Facilitating Reunion For Adolescents

March 17th, 2006
Categories: Reunions

I have read with great interest the many posts here, and on the adoption forums, about the different aspects of reunions. I have not run across anything yet that offers suggestions on specific therapeutic steps parents can take to promote a positive reunion experience. I have a protocol that I have used for years in supporting adoptive parents, who contact me with concerns about the when and the how of supporting their child's reunion efforts. Typically these calls come from the parents of teenaged children who have started to express an interest in meeting their mom or dad. Sometmes the expression of the desire is stated in positive terms. Sometimes a negative exchange has occurred between the child and his or her parents with the child… [more]

When Adoptive Parents Are Compelled to Search

February 26th, 2006
Categories: Reunions

My daughters are getting older, and I am finding that I am the one who is starting to feel the compulsion to initiate The Search. I don't know that I've ever read about that anywhere. Adoptive parents who feel the need to Search, not for their kids'sakes, but, for their own. I am quick to point out that this desire is qualitatively different from a willingness to have an open adoption. I did not want that and I do not at all regret that choice. But, I love my kids so much. So much, that I am starting to feel the need to know more, to experience more, about them. Everything about them. I feel, driven. I asked for pictures of their mother when we… [more]