March 09, 2007


A blogging first mom's wonderful account and pictures of finally meeting her son face-to-face yesterday has me thinking about reunion. On the surface, reunion doesn't seem to have much to do with open adoption. Since the point is to have an adopted child grow up in ongoing contact with their first parent(s), there isn't a need for search or reunion. In Puppy's case, both his first mom and dad are in his life, so unless one or both of them closes the adoption from their side, there will never be a time he does not know how to contact them. And our hope is that it will go beyond simply knowing how to reach them--that he will have a solid relationship with them.

For many reasons, most reunions in closed adoptions occur once the child who was adopted reaches adulthood. A whole childhood has passed, one in which the adoptive parents alone filled the parental niches. Reunion rocks that world, and it is perhaps understandable (though regrettable) that adoptive parents' reactions range from selfless support to outright hostility. Their grown children, now independent, are taking the initiative to bring their families of origin back into their lives.

Right now, and throughout Puppy's childhood, it is the adults in his adoption who build and maintain his connection to his families of origin. Because the four of us believe it is in his best interest, we do the hard work of open adoption. His first parents are already integrated into the only life he knows; there will never be a time when he did not know them.

Puppy did not have a voice in that decision. But there will come a time when he slowly crosses into adult independence. At that point, it will be up to him, not us, to maintain those relationships. As I looked at the snapshots of that first mom and her mirror-image son brimming with joy at being in each other's arms again, I realized that I want a version of that for Puppy and his first parents. Not reunion after forced separation, but to one day have a relationship with them that he has chosen. To have them be such an important part of his life that he takes the initative to share his life with them independently of T and me. Right now he shares in the bonds that K, R, T and I will always have with one another. I hope one day he will rejoice in the bonds that he himself has forged with the ones who loved him first.

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