Over the years, I have seen both birth and adoptive parents lament over the fact that they have fallen out of touch. Sometimes it has been the fault of the adoptive family. Sometimes it has been the fault of the birth parent. In the case of reunion with an adult adoptee, sometimes the fault has been with that grown child. Fault, of course, is a tricky word.
The truth is that many of these who fell on the side of fault didn’t mean to fall out of contact with their child, their family or their child’s birth family. A missed phone call becomes two missed phone calls. A few unanswered emails sit in an inbox for months on end. Suddenly the party realizes that it has been six months or more since they have had proper contact. Issues like hectic schedules and life changes often come into play. Sometimes there are subconscious issues that make it difficult for one party or the other to reach out. Other times there are real, verbalized issues that the parties can’t seem to get past in an adult like manner. It happens in all relationships.
However, you, as a birth parent, have a great opportunity right in front of you to get out of your contact slump. The holidays are upon us! What’s that mean? Send a card! Send two cards! Send a card with an updated picture of you and your family. Send a card with a newsletter as to what you’ve been doing this year. In fact, even if you don’t normally send newsletters but don’t want the adoptive family to assume that you’re singling them out, create one copy of a newsletter and send it anyway. Just send something.
I know how hard it can be to get out of a lack of communication slump. It’s difficult. There are things like guilt and fear that come into play. Guilt for letting it go so long, even if the majority of fault didn’t fall on your side of the line. Fear of rejection, especially if the majority of fault did fall on your side of the line. Thoughts like those can be paralyzing. Don’t let it stop you this year.
Sending a holiday card, picture and newsletter may not magically heal whatever wounds exist in your relationship. That’s not what I’m suggesting. What I am suggesting is that you take this first step and just send the card. It’s so hard for so many to take that first step, to put yourself out on the line. I encourage you to do so. And soon! Before you know it, the holidays will be gone and you’ll have to come up with another creative way to broach contact again. Utilize the season.