In discovering my original grandparents, I’ve learned to be a part of both the adoptive and original families. This may be disconcerting to some of my adoptive family, aunts, an uncle and some cousins but I don’t love them less. I recognize we share life experiences that I can never actually share with my original family relations no matter how much I learn about our history – and I have learned a lot.
Though I’m not an adoptee, I have experienced some degree of “reunion” and it has been much more than simply restoring a connection that was lost, it is about trying to become acquainted with “new” family members and nurturing relationships that will continue for me until the day I die.
There are reforms taking place within the practice of adoption today that haven’t stabilized but are allowing for more flexibility within the unique family system in which the adoptee is the center. Whether they opt for an open adoption or not – every adoptive parent needs to be aware that the possibility an adoptee will seek reunion fundamentally exists.
Closed adoption enforces a rigid boundary upon adoptees by automatically excluding the original family from the adoptive family’s boundaries. That was the case for my adoptee parents. Thankfully, that has not been the case for my niece and nephew (both given up for adoption by my two sisters). Not that theirs were open adoptions, they were not.
What changed is their adoptive parents accepted it as a sacred duty to assist these adopted children in discovering their original family members when they were ready to request that for themselves. Thanking all that is good.