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

10 Recommendations for Birth Mothers: With Love From a Birth Mother who knows!

10 Recommendations for Birth Mothers: With Love From a Birth Mother who knows!

10 Recommendations for Birth Mothers
For a Successful and “Responsible” Reunion
By Sarah Burns
18 years in Reunion

1. At the very start, seek professional help or a support group: you can find professional help through individual therapy or find help in support groups. (You WILL need it and it WILL help!)

2. Remember that you and your son/daughter are both reclaiming lost parts of yourselves as you develop a NEW relationship, growing out of an OLD one.

3. Try to understand that the reason your son or daughter may want to reunite with you is to meet his/her own needs, but not necessarily to hear about your pain. You can share that elsewhere.

4. Reclaim your parental role in small but significant ways by stating your hoped-for desires, goals, and preferences. Don’t be afraid, to be honest, and sincere and to be who you are.

5. Do not approach the relationship as a beggar or supplicant (e.g., “with hat in hand’) and never make emotional, financial, or other demands of your child.

6. Know that you can’t do the work for each other. Give the relationship the time, the nurturing, and the respect it needs to be developed or restored. Know that even if you are rejected, you’ll still have established rapport, and your son/daughter will know you care, that you’re there to stay, and you’ll be there for them, no matter what!

7. Don’t pressure your son/daughter to assume that role, or to accept you as their mother or their children’s grandmother – if they are not comfortable with you taking on that role! “Give time time” as things might change and improve and decisions made now might change later.

8. Exercise choice in other areas of your life when you feel you lack control in this one; it will help you practice being more patient, accepting, and empathetic.

9. Let your child know you are sorry you gave them up. Then go on to be the person you are: a competent, caring, attractive woman worthy of respect.

10. Channel your anger and frustration into action to make changes for other women who are considering adoption or who have surrendered a child, so that you can move from being a victim to becoming a brave and proud warrior.


Join a Mothers of Loss Support Group HERE

Join Celia Center’s Support Groups to Hear from An Adoptee’s Point of View HERE

Listen to Birthmother’s Share their stories HERE

Learn more about Reunion in Adoption HERE

Adopt Salon Conference – Mending the Losses, Becoming Whole Again 2012

Adopt Salon Conference – Mending the Losses, Becoming Whole Again 2012

Mending the Losses, Becoming Whole Again Adopt Salon Conference at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles 2012

This 2- day conference took place on

Friday, November 9th & Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Celia Center sponsored this conference and 250 people attended.

 

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Adam Pertman, Parent by Adoption & Exec. Dir. of the National Adoption Institute
Marcy Axness, Adoptee, Child Dev. Specialist
Daniel Heimpel, Journalist, Founder/President of Fostering Media Connections & Volunteer w/Foster Alumni

2 days, 14 presenters, 15 Breakout Sessions

This is a conference designed to educate and inspire those connected by adoption.

*Participants will gain insight into the complex, multifaceted and often embodied issues related to adoption.
*You will gain a clearer understanding of adoption and acquire practical, meaningful tools that can ultimately lead to healing and integration of the adoption experience.

A shift is occurring – be a part of the transformation!

Rethinking Adoption in the 21st Century

Watch Opening Keynote Welcome with Jeanette Yoffe

This conference is recommended for all members of the Foster Care and Adoption Constellation and those treating/working with the Foster Care and Adoption population i.e. Foster Youth Alumni, Adult Adoptees, Adoptive Parents, Foster-Adoptive Parents, Birth Parents, Social Workers, Psychotherapists and anyone connected by Foster Care and Adoption.

Conference Schedule: Session topics included…

#101 From Knowledge to Healing: What the Research Teaches Us~ Presenter: Adam Pertman


#102 Focus on Adoption: An Insider’s Perspective ~ Presenters: Carra Greenberg, J.D. and Sheila Kamen, Ph.D.
#103 Transracial Adoptive Family Training and panel ~ Presenter: Angela Gee, M.A., M.F.T.
#104 The Primal Wound: Author answers questions about her world-renowned book ~ Presenter: Nancy Verrier, M.A., M.F.T.

 


#105 Ten Things Adoptees Want the World to Know- Lesli Johnson
#106 Inside-Out Healing Session ~ Presenters: Craig Hyman and Patrick McMahon
#107 From Loss to Hope: Becoming Parents ~ Presenter: Carole Lieber Wilkins, M.A., M.F.T.
#108 Understanding First Mothers: Realities of Search and Reunion~ Presenter: Mimi Janes

 


#109 “A Falling Out of Everydayness”: Adoption’s Unspoken Stories~ Presenter: Marcy Axness, Ph.D.
#110 Understanding Your Teen Adoptee… with 3 Teen Panelists~ Presenter: Jeanette Yoffe, M.A., M.F.T.
#111 Making the Most of Adoption Reunions ~ Presenter: Marlou Russell, Ph.D.

 


#112 Male Adoptees ~ Presenter: Craig Hyman
#113 Attachment Research and Adoption: Raising Children Who Thrive, Not Just Survive ~ Presenter: Sally Maslansky, M.A., M.F.T.
#115 Coming Home to Self: The Path to Healing for all members of the Constellation ~ Presenter: Nancy Verrier, M.A., M.F.T.