|I’m talking here with A. who asks: is it wise to consider starting a relationship with my adopted son?”
Starting a relationship with your adopted son is a personal choice
Hi A., Thank you for reaching out. I think what you’re describing is so totally normal. Starting a relationship with your adopted son means changing the dynamic, potentially, and that can be scary. I do have some ideas…
Be honest about how you’re feeling
First, tell your adopted son how you are feeling. I’d start by apologizing for not responding sooner but that you have a lot to process as well. Tell him that so many unexpected emotions have come up for you, and you want to sort them out before starting a dialogue. There’s no rush! He will understand if you tell him that you experienced a lot of grief and sadness and loss and are afraid that this might come up for you again. If it does, you want to be ready for it.
You did not make a mistake
Second, you did not make a mistake. You have no idea what kind of life you could have provided him if you had chosen to parent. The life you have now is not the life the two of you would have had. It’s a romantic notion that adoptive parents can somehow provide a better life for our kids. What they can do is step up to be parents when we aren’t ready to, or don’t have the ability and support to. What could have been is always going to be a fantasy and I wouldn’t waste your time on it. Or beat yourself up with it. Whatever his life has turned out to be, I suspect that he will want some contact with you to fill in missing pieces. If he is upset or angry, it’s probably only because he hasn’t had his questions as to “why” answered by you. Be prepared to answer these honestly.
It’s possible you can have a relationship with your son
Finally, your concern that he will want to move on with his life without you is a possibility. What’s also possible is that you will want to move on without him. You might be surprised to find that seeing him again is all you needed, to talk to him and hear about how he’s doing. And to answer his questions and possibly get closure. In my opinion, this really is the purpose of reuniting. It’s also possible that you two will figure out a way to move forward and develop a closer relationship. I don’t think either of you can know what you want until you actually start talking.
Communication and setting expectations are really important
I also can’t express how important it is to communicate honestly and set expectations. You don’t know what he’s thinking and he doesn’t know what you’re thinking; neither of you likely knows what you want from the other. It’s okay to tell him that you don’t want to rush this and need some time to sort things out and that you’ll be in touch again by the end of the month, or whatever date you choose. Or, you can tell him that you have so much you want to ask him and to share with him, and does he want to hear this or does he have specific questions for you.
I hope this was helpful! If I didn’t address what’s hard for you or what you’re confused about or whatever, please feel free to email me back and ask more specific questions. I’m more than happy to help.
I would also love to hear back from you if this was helpful, what you decide to do, and how it all goes xo
postscript from A: Oh my gosh Megan, it’s like you read my heart. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I know you know this, but it’s very difficult to articulate the complexities of having made a choice to give a child to another through adoption. I do need to set aside romantic notions surrounding what has happened to each of us connected to this experience, as well as preconceptions about how connecting with him is supposed to unfold . Thank you again. You have truly given me a gift today.
The Adoption Resource Center
PO Box 1270 Mendocino, CA 95460
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, EIN 92-1927283. Our services are free to pregnant women considering adoption, birth parents who have placed a child for adoption, adoptees looking for biological families, and birth parents who want to engage a mediator.
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