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Relationship Stages After Reunion
Of Adoptee and Birth Parents
These stages are common to the post- reunion period and are normal consequences of the reunion. Not every person goes through every stage. The stages may not be in this sequence, and they may be repeated.

Honeymoon Stage

. Characterized by euphoria, joy and sense of being on top of the world.
. Both parties make an effort to find similarity and common interests.

. Much time is spent together in an effort to catch up on each other’s lives, with exchanges of photos, letters and gifts.
. Preoccupation with the other party.
. Minor negotiations about relationship, such as what to call a birth parent.
. Some uncertainty about role or place in the other’s life—issues such as frequency of contact, how to introduce the other to family and friends.


Tme-Out Stage

. One party may pull back to evaluate and process events. The honeymoon is over.

. The other party may feel confused when this occurs. A birth parent may feel hurt, angry, frustrated and frightened if the adoptee pulls back. Adoptees may feel rejected if the birth parent pulls back.

. At this point, relationship problems may develop because of a lack of understanding about the process. Society has few role models for this experience.

. Parties may need professional help to resolve this situation.


Showdown Stage

. Confrontation of parties to address status of the relationship and its future development.
. If birth parent initiates confrontation, he or she may fear the loss of the child again. Confronting an adopted adult is different because the biological tie is not enough to ensure a successful relationship. In parenting, the element of permanence exists, and the bond is not so fragile.

. If the adopted adult confronts the birth parents, she or he may fear being rejected by them.

Disengagement Stage

. Characterized by adopted adults or brith parents really moving away from the other—not just pulling back.
. This can be extremely painful for either party with feelings of anger, loss and rejection.

. This can occur if expectations are too rigid and differences between parties are too great.

Solidifying Stage

. Characterized by earnest negations between parties—about roles and different issues that continue to be worked on. But the relationship is more solid and settled with few ups and downs because agreement has been reached in many areas.

. Re-negotiations occur as life changes and growth take places, and new relationships roles emerge.


Three Generations
Three Generations
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