Thinking About A Search?

Many have described this process as an “emotional roller coaster ride”, a journey to find the “pieces of a puzzle”, a way to heal a “wounded heart”. Others began the process to learn medical, social and genetic information and may not experience strong emotions. Whatever your reasons for trying to make contact, there are important things to do before you begin:

1. Talk with someone who is familiar with the issues of search and reunion. Adoption influences people throughout their lifetime. Issues around loss, rejection, identity, mastery/control, guilt/shame and intimacy impact how people think about themselves, their families and their places in society (Silverstein and Kaplan, 1982). When a person begins a search, these emotions may intensify.

2. Plan how you will handle whatever you find. The time to plan is now while you are calm and you can think clearly. Consider the following in making your decisions:


    • Are your family members supportive?
    • Do you have support systems other than family? Who are they?
    • If you do not have the support of family and friends, how will you
    • handle the intensity of a search?
    • Do you need help telling family members, including children?


      • How much time and money can you dedicate per week/month for search?
      • The search often becomes an obsession. How will you handle this tendency?

The Search

    • Are you prepared for a negative response from authority figures who you approach for information?
    • Are you prepared to argue, cite regulation or law, appeal decisions?
    • Have you a search diary? Have you listed all your questions, adding the answers as you learn them? Will you note even conflicting information?


    • When you have identified the person you seek, are you ready for the possibility of:
      • No contact?
      • One or two contacts and then nothing further?
      • Contact with the person you are seeking, but no contact with other family members. For example, you cannot meet siblings.
      • The person is ready for you to be part of his/her life, and is ready for a relationship.
      • How will you feel and what will you do in each of the above circumstances?
      • Are you prepared to meet the needs of the found person? If not, why not?
      • How will you make contact?
      • Will this relationship be the same or different than other relationships you have? Why?
      • Can you sit down and talk about it with the found person? Why or why not? Is the problem with you, him/her, or both of you?


      3. Learn everything you can about adoption, search and reunion to understand the other person’s perspectives and feelings while accepting your own thoughts and feelings. Short articles, poems, books, videos and tapes on a variety of topics are available. Copies of short articles and poems are free. Books, tapes and videos can be borrowed for a period of two weeks with a $30 refundable deposit through the agency.

      4. Remember whatever occurs is a matter of choice for everyone. We are all different and people’s responses will depend on what they are ready to do.

      Good Luck. Please call 207.942.7211 if I can help in any way.