Roadmap to Reunion: 8 PACTS|National Adoption Conference

Roadmap to Reunion: 8 PACTS|National Adoption Conference

Disclaimer: This article provides a framework for setting boundaries in an adoptee and birthmother or birthfather reunion. So, both parties decide together how the relationship will be and have set goals and expectations entering into the reunion with empathy, understanding and compassion, have an open mind, and respect they will have different narratives entering the reunion. You can’t contract behavior but you can create respectful experiences.



Why do 70% of adoption reunions break down?

Because there’s no roadmap.

The 5 agreements:

Everyone has been victimized.

Everyone has experienced loss.

Each person’s loss incomparable.

Everyone will make mistakes.

Practice forgiveness over, and over and over again.


THE 8 PACTS

  1. GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER: Try to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes before thinking you know why something happened. Respect each other’s experience. We don’t assume we know the other person’s story. Get to know the person first, not focus only on the answers.

  2. ASK PERMISSION: Ask each other permission before sharing important adoption information, regarding photos, letters or birth documents to build trust and control. Respect each other’s emotional bandwidth and emotional vulnerabilities. Write questions down to provide to each other, only answer what you feel comfortable with. As you grow stronger, you can answer more in-depth questions. Ask each other permission first before inviting more people into the relationship.

  3. CREATE LEVEL OF CONTACT: Neither party has the right to control the contact. You get to negotiate the relationship together. It will be hard, but it’s worth it. Ask each other the following questions: How do we connect after reunion? What do we feel comfortable with phone, Facetime, text, email, letters? How about on birthdays and holidays? Gifts or no gifts?

  4. SHARE YOUR STORIES: Provide space for each other to share your individual stories. The retelling can feel re-traumatizing especially for mothers. Use I statements when sharing each other’s pain towards the other “I feel…. I want… because….” Refrain from blaming to lessen re-shaming. No one’s pain is worse than the other.    

  5. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALING: You are not responsible for each other’s wounds. You are self-responsible for your own emotional and psychological pain. You can’t fill each other’s voids. You will regress to the age of relinquishment. It’s ok to attend therapy separately and together at times, and join support groups. You can’t rescue each other from their pain.

  6. RESPECT THE RELATIONSHIP: Commit to the relationship, do not abandon each other or threaten each other. Because both the birthmother and adoptee are fearful of losing each other again. Ghosting is another form of betrayal. Stay in communication, hold regard together that this relationship matters. Take your time.

  7. SHARING WITH OTHERS: Secrets don’t help people, they hurt. Plan together how or when to tell extended family members of your reunion. Come “out of the fog” to support each other if the fear is being “found out”. If you want to have relationships with extended family members- ask each other permission to do so.

  8. RECOGNITION OF YOUR TRUST TREE: Respect the loved ones closest to you, and the other relationships on your trust tree.



E =  What is your expectation?

M = What is your motivation?

B = Make room to Breathe

R =  Respect

A = Accept

C =  Choose to be present and available

E = Embrace the experience

Adult Adoptee Adopt Salon Virtual Support Group  : Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Adult Adoptee Adopt Salon Virtual Support Group : Wednesday, June 22, 2022

FREE monthly open support group for ADULT ADOPTEE MEMBERS of the Adoption Constellation.

A place for Adult Adoptees ONLY to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections. The group is facilitated by Cathy Leckie Koley, Adoptee and Post-Adoption Coach.

2nd WEDNESDAY of the Month
5 pm – 7 pm PST
8 – 10 pm EST

Time and place are also shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.

Cathy Leckie Koley BIO:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor, Adoptee Speaker/ Writer / Educator. After reuniting with her birth family at age 43, Cathy found herself on an unexpected healing journey related to her own relinquishment. The process included yoga, through which she found significant healing, and a new career path. As a yoga teacher since 2012, Cathy teaches others about the adoptee experience, strategies for unearthing and healing adoption wounds, and mind-body practices that help with adoption-related difficulties. Trained in Trauma-Sensitive in 2014 with Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, and David Emerson, author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga. Cathy is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

 

Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group: Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group: Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

FREE monthly open support group called ADOPT SALON CONSTELLATION for all members of the Adoption Constellation: First Birthparents, Adoptees, Former Foster Youth, Foster, Adoptive Parents, and Kinship Families. Ages 18 and above.

A place for the Adoption & Foster Care community to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections.

The group is facilitated by Adoptions/Foster Care Psychotherapist, adult adoptee Cathy Leckie Koley,  Adoptee and Intern

5 – 7 pm Pacific Time
8-10 pm Eastern Time

Time and place are shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.


Cathy Leckie Koley BIO:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor, Adoptee Speaker/ Writer / Educator. After reuniting with her birth family at age 43, Cathy found herself on an unexpected healing journey related to her own relinquishment. The process included yoga, through which she found significant healing, and a new career path. As a yoga teacher since 2012, Cathy teaches others about the adoptee experience, strategies for unearthing and healing adoption wounds, and mind-body practices that help with adoption-related difficulties. Trained in Trauma-Sensitive in 2014 with Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, and David Emerson, author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga. Cathy is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Teen Adopt Salon Support Group : Thursday, April 28, 2022

Teen Adopt Salon Support Group : Thursday, April 28, 2022

FREE monthly open support group for Teen Adoptees and Foster-Adoptees Ages 13-17

A place for teens to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections. We will have GUEST ADULT ADOPTEE’S attend to inspire the teens. If you are an adult adoptee and would like to attend please email info@celiacenter.org 

The group is facilitated by Adoptions/Foster Care Psychotherapist, adult adoptee Jeanette Yoffe, MFT, founder of Celia Center.

7 – 8:30 pm Pacific Time

Time and place are shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.

Teen Adopt Salon Support Group : Thursday, April 28, 2022

Teen Adopt Salon Support Group : Thursday, March 17, 2022

FREE monthly open support group for Teen Adoptees and Foster-Adoptees Ages 13-17

A place for teens to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections. We will have GUEST ADULT ADOPTEE’S attend to inspire the teens. If you are an adult adoptee and would like to attend please email info@celiacenter.org 

The group is facilitated by Adoptions/Foster Care Psychotherapist, adult adoptee Jeanette Yoffe, MFT, founder of Celia Center.

7 – 8:30 pm Pacific Time

Time and place are shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.