How to Deal With Meeting Biological Parents

BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

As an adoptee, meeting your biological parents can be an emotional and stressful time because despite sharing DNA with these people, you are essentially meeting strangers. Many fears and expectations exist that are related to meeting with the people who made you. It is important to recognize them and learn how to manage them to prepare for your reunion.

Reduce Expectations and Fantasies

It is normal to have wondered who your birth parents are and what they are like, but try not to have any expectations, says Brenda McCreight, registered clinical social worker and therapist. Discourage yourself from focusing too much on the birth parents you pictured when you were growing up. “These are going to be flesh and blood people and they’re not going to be like the fantasy and the expectations," says McCreight. "It may be better or it may be worse.” Avoid any expectations about what type of relationship the meeting will lead to. It may lead to a relationship or it may be the only meeting that happens. "There just might not be enough there to form a relationship," McCreight adds.

Acknowledge Your Fears

The most common feeling adoptees have before a reunion is a fear of rejection. It would be best to bring up this topic with a counselor. Usually, an adoptee will cognitively understand that the fact that she was given up for adoption was not her fault or a rejection of who she is, but emotionally, the fear and feeling of rejection lingers. An adoptee’s ability to deal with whatever the outcome of the meeting is depends on how well their adoption experience was.

Seek Counseling

Before the meeting, it might be a good idea to seek counseling. Seeing a professional can help you deal with emotional issues you may have and can better prepare you for the reunion. Depending on how the reunion goes, you may even need counseling after the meeting. Generally, an adoptee’s fantasy of their birth parents never turns out to be the reality, which turns into disappointment. This results in the adoptee grieving the fantasy of their biological parents that they have lived with for years.

Get Support

Having the support of your loved ones can help you get through an emotion-filled meeting with your biological parents. Including adoptive parents in the process of finding and meeting biological parents is encouraged, according to the American Adoption Congress. Getting emotional support from your family can make a difference in how you go in to the reunion and how you come out of it.You can also look up a support group for adoptees in your area or the area of your birth, to find people who are in a similar situation.