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Manage your Expectations 

Post-Reunions

 

Managing Expectations

 

Now that they have met the person they were searching for, the searcher may be on a high, which may last for some time. Reality, however, has a habit of bringing people back to earth with the recognition that normal daily living does continue, people need to go to work, be parents and so on.

 

As the euphoria wears off and reality dawns, it is normal for people to experience feelings of anti-climax. Perhaps after a second meeting, in a more relaxed environment, you may realise that you have little in common and see no point in continuing the relationship.

 

All relationships are built on shared experiences. Be aware, however, that taking time to build new relationships after reunion will necessarily mean taking time away from sustaining other relationships (spouses, family and friends) that are probably equally important to you.

 

  • Some people find they have an immediate rapport when they first meet the person they were searching for. They seem able to lay the foundations for a strong and long-lasting friendship.

  • Often people are simply confused about how they feel.

  • The best thing to do is to let the relationship develop slowly and naturally. Don’t make hasty decisions and don’t jump to conclusions. Any initial tensions may dissolve as the relationship proceeds.

  • If, after a few meetings, you decide to cease contact, be honest and tell the other party. Do not leave vague promises to write or phone or visit and don’t give false hope. It will be healthier for both parties to be as honest as possible at all times. However, leave the door open for renewal of contact in the future, should circumstances change.

  • If you are worried about privacy issues, it is better to make this known to the other party, rather than simply cutting off contact.

  • The need for privacy ought to be respected at all times; however, most people find that the long-term (sometimes lifelong) emotional stress of maintaining secrets often outweighs the short-term impact of honesty.

  • It’s normal for contact frequency to reduce after a year or so. Don’t be discouraged by this, simply negotiate a level of contact that is mutually acceptable. 

  • It is important to remember that the decision to search and make contact carries with it the need to accept responsibility for the impact your decision may have on the other person’s life.

  • It is possible you will want to incorporate your newly found relative into your life. Patience and understanding will again lead to positive outcomes. It’s best to not rush anyone, especially where the existence of an adoptee has previously been a secret. How and when to tell others remains a choice for that person.

  • Late-discovery adoptees may be angry that their adoptive parents and other relatives had not told them they were adopted. Special efforts may be required to rebuild trust. Often, members of the extended family are grateful that they no longer have to carry the burden of secrets. See the desire to keep secrets for what it was, a human failing, often based on fear and doubt, and usually motivated by an over-paternalistic love for the child.