Sometimes when birth parents or adoptees begin their search, they are initially met with a negative response. Negative meaning a “no contact” demand or a general disinterest in communication. Sometimes birth mothers who initially refuse contact change their minds once they have had time to process the information and think about the situation. Adoptees also may need some extra time to decide if contact is something that they are interested in at the current time.
Some birth parents refuse contact because they are afraid to deal with their issues. After all, those birth parents who are dealing with issues like reunion are most likely from the closed adoption era. They were therefore likely told to “move on” and “forget” about their child. They are afraid to tell others. They are afraid of rejection. They are afraid that reunion will be difficult, both with the relinquished child and with others involved in the family’s immediate life. There are many fears. These fears, of course, are understandable especially when the birth mother or father have not had any form of counseling on the matter.
One important thing to remember is that if one member refuses contact, you are also free to contact other birth family members. For birth parents, that might then be your relinquished child’s adoptive parents or their siblings. Similarly, some adoptees have connected with other family members if their birth mother or father refuses contact. In the end, as many adoptees will tell you, family is what you make it out to be. Other biological siblings, biological grandparents and cousins can be great sources of contact, information and, in the end, relationships.
Personally, I think that any birth mother or father who has refused contact needs to get into therapy. Pronto! In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to do so even if contact was happily received. Reunion can be difficult even under the best circumstances. Communication errors can cause hurt feelings. Knowing how to view the situation from the other’s shoes through the impartial eyes of a counselor or therapist can make a huge and positive difference in a reunion.
When it comes down to it, birth parents who have been sought out by their relinquished child must realize that the child is not doing so in order to create upheaval. They don’t want to ruin your life. They often time want answers to question that only you can provide. I believe that we owe our children, at the very least, those answers. It is one way to provide our children with the respect that they deserve.