Unraveling reunion-Age  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How old is old enough? So many seem to jump into a reunion when they are young, 18 or so. I took longer. I was 28 when I found Lori. At 18 I had a baby of my own and I was focused on her not my personal things. I wanted to do what I could for my daughter. After some half hearted attempts I finally found put forth serious effort to find her. I felt in a much better emotional state of mind and believed I could handle it. Lucky for me, it worked.

So my question is...is there such a thing as too young for reunion? I fully back giving adoptees their info at adulthood, it is ours and we should have it. But emotionally are 18 year olds ready for such a life changing event? So much is new to them, responsibilities and expectations that have never rested on their shoulders in the past. Then adding a reunion, sometimes it can be simply too much.
I truly feel that if a reunion takes place at 18 and fails, then it should be tried again later. So much changes through our 20s, life forks in so many ways, its no surprise so many falter and fizzle out. Maturity comes from experience and at 18, you have limited experience. I don't care how you were raised, events you have faced, you are still limited in the ins and outs of the real world.

Speaking from my personal experience, I am almost fully convinced if I had reunited when I was 18-Lori and I would not have a relationship now. I can't speak for her, but I was not mature enough to tackle any of that. NO way...

So that brings us to an impass, do you or don't you?

Even though I willingly admit I would not have been able to properly cope with reunion at a young age, I also only have one huge regret in my life. One thing that if given the chance I would change. That is waiting to find Lori and Jim. Missing those years I could have had with them. It makes me so sad to look back and see that I could have had them sooner.
So...damned if you do damned if you don't....or something along that line.

I dont have the answers on what is the proper age, the safe age, the average age that reunion should take place. But I can say that if a reunion does not go well the first time around and years pass, then maybe a second chance should be given. So much can happen in a just a few short years. A life can change dramatically. If you don't succeed the first time around, don't compeletely turn write it off forever. I'm not condoning beating the dead horse, it can be exhausting to keep trying and put yourself out there time and time again. You do have to know when to walk away, for your own sanity. But people change. Events alter views and sometimes time can give a new perspective on things, or help heal some open wounds.

I wish I could be 100% comfortable with telling people to jump on the reunion train at 18. But I'm not. What I am comfortable saying is at 18, be very honest with yourself and prepare for any outcome. And don't lose hope, if at first you dont succeed, try again. LATER. Don't write it off as done forever. I know I am not the same person I was 15 years ago and neither is anyone else.

Next post to come in a few days. Until then, chime in, let's hear your views.

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11 comments: to “ Unraveling reunion-Age

  • birthmothertalks
    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 12:18:00 PM PDT  

    I know right where my daughter is, but if I follow the laws within my state, I can't contact her until she is 21 years of age.She can't contact me until then unless her parents give her the information. I so badly want a reunion sooner rather than later, but I will do my best to wait for her. I am hoping with the new way lots of adoption are going with open adoption that in years to come there won't be a reason to reunite, because everyone will already know one another.

  • rachael
    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 7:32:00 PM PDT  

    IM GLAD YOU CAME BACK!!

    yes i do hope one day things will be different. and i sympathize with you. i hope your wait goes by quickly and you have a wonderful experience.

  • cedartrees
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 7:30:00 PM PDT  

    "birthmothertalks", I do not know any state that places a default restraining order against natural parents such that they are not permitted to contact their child until that child is a certain age. (But I have heard of many agencies telling this to mothers.) This restriction would violate your Constitutional right to Freedom of Association. Which state do you live in? I'm interested in seeing the legislation.

  • *Peach*
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 2:35:00 AM PDT  

    I was reunited at the age of 21 or 22, as I searched immediately after graduating from college. I admit, I was not prepared at all. But I don't know if I ever would have been, actually. It would have been good to have had support groups and known other adoptees and first moms, but it took the years of "thawing out" emotionally to walk through the many layers of my own adoption issues, and reunion was one of the keys to this, in my opinion. Knowing.

  • rachael
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 3:41:00 AM PDT  

    cedar i think you are right. i have never heard of laws that legally forbid her from contacting her. but they are told that. lori was, and she had no reason NOT to believe them.

    and peach...knowing is absolutely the first step, and you may be right, age might not have anything to do with it. the emotional journey of reunion might just exceed any age limitations.

  • maybe
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 9:00:00 AM PDT  

    I think age can be an important factor, but some are more able to handle the tough emotional work of reunion at younger ages....others are not. Seems like it depends on emotional IQ in addition to age.

    Thankfully, the web has made it easier to prepare for reunion. Without the many resources I found online I would have been completely lost in how to handle reunion. I'm hoping my son is also using the web as a resource for working through reunion.

    Many people say "get help" before you attempt reunion, which I think means "seek counseling" (and we all know how lousy therapists can be when it comes to adoption issues).

    Young people are so comfortable using the internet - I hope this will help the younger kids who attempt reunion earlier.

  • Being Me
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM PDT  

    Joy and I have been in reunion longer than we were apart. The early years were rough. A lot of that was because neither of us knew what to expect. We had no preparation or reference points back then. Her youth and my ignorance were made for learning the hard way. The internet and much greater openness can ease reunion now.

  • cedartrees
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 2:12:00 PM PDT  

    I found and reunited with my son when he was 19, and for us it was not a moment too soon. Two decades apart was too much for the both of us. Not that this works for everybody, as everyone is different, but it worked for us.

    It is interesting that adoptees are cautioned by many agencies not to reunite until they are "much older" and "more mature" (a.k.a. mid-to-late 30s), yet the same agencies consider young moms "old enough" at age 15 or less to sign away their children, often without counselling or with agency brainwashing such that the moms never hear of any alternatives! :( I wonder if this signals part of society's attitude about adoptees being "perpetual children" -- or is it done to "protect" adoptive parents?

    "But emotionally are 18 year olds ready for such a life changing event?'

    Corrolary: At 18, is a mother ready to surrender her baby, for this life-changing event?

  • rachael
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 4:48:00 PM PDT  

    being me....is that you justice?? thanks for adding input! and i agree..the internet is a very useful tool

    now...cedartrees, this is exactly what im talking about. what age is too young? for either reunion or for the decision of relinquishment?
    yes i agree that LOGICALLY being older is the better choice, but you also lose precious time. that is my biggest regret-waiting sooo long.
    im so happy it worked out for you early. that is fantastic.

    so, from this i can see that age is defintely a case by case issue. for some it works out wonderfully early-for others more maturity is needed.

    beginning the next topic soon. great insights guys!!!

  • Lori A
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 5:39:00 PM PDT  

    I had prepared my whole life for the day Rachael and I met again, and I still wasn't prepared either. I think somehow it depends on how much you want it. I had to revisit a lot of painful memories. At too many points I was 16 again, but I made it out the other side. I stuck with it because I wanted more than anything to find out WHO she was. After all the years apart I wanted to know her, and I was willing to drudge through as much crap as necessary to find the answers to all the questions she and I had for so many years.

    Although it seems to have worked out for us that we were both older when we reunited, what worries me is that some will take this to heart and wait to long and have "no" chance at reunion because the other person passed away. I don't want to be responsible for that. So the dilema still remains.

  • rachael
    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 8:10:00 PM PDT  

    i agree lori....i think this subject is a draw. i truly believe there have been some great points brought up, but for both ways.

    definitely a case by case subject. we worked out well later on, cedartrees worked out well early.

 

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