More About Reunion
BENEFITS OF REUNION
The difficulties associated with reunion can be daunting, but the rewards can also be great.
Mothers often feel empowered by telling their stories and learning about the lives of their children. When reunions are successful, joy increases as new relationships with their son/daughter are formed and begin to flourish. Mothers report finding peace of mind knowing what happened to their son/daughter. Many feel liberated from the secrecy and shame of the past which has constrained their lives. Lessening of fear. Even if there is no ongoing contact….”knowing” can be healing and transforming over time.
Adopted persons talk about “filling the hole in themselves”, “becoming whole”, resolving feelings that they have lived with their entire lives. Often, finding out that their mother did not abandon them, but loved them and grieved for them their entire lives gives them a sense of self esteem as they realize they were not “unwanted”, but very much loved and wanted. Adopted persons find mirrors in their new found family members, and some report feeling a true sense of belonging. Finding their history helps shape their future. A sense of relief, they can stop looking. Lessening of fear. As with mothers, “knowing” can have a changing effect on the lives of adopted persons over time.
Adoption Reunion is not a magical cure for life’s problems, but it does have many benefits. There may be disappointments and difficulties along the way, but most who wander into reunion territory are usually glad they did.
WHEN REUNIONS BREAK DOWN
When people enter reunion they each have their own set of coping skills, unhealed wounds, life circumstances and reunion expectations. All of these may influence whether the reunion can weather the Time Out stage or if it cannot. Sometimes one person goes beyond just pulling back – they leave entirely. This can be extremely painful to the other party and bring back feelings of rejection, shame, unworthiness, anger, loss and abandonment.
A reunion relationship may break down when the expectations of both parties are too far apart, or the trauma or pain may be too intense for either one or both parties. This may be temporary in some relationships or permanent in others.
This can be devastating to one or both parties in the reunion. Seek support from others who understand and support you and your situation and/or seek help from a professional counsellor. No matter how a reunion turns out, knowing is important.
GENETIC SEXUAL ATTRACTION (GSA)
On rare occasions reunions can come with a disconcerting consequence. This is a phenomenon known as Genetic Sexual Attraction or GSA. This is a phenomena specifically unique to adoption reunion where a sexual attraction or even a sexual relationship may develop between biological relatives.
This attraction may occur between mother and son, father and daughter, but for the most part it occurs between natural siblings. It is a completely unintended situation which often “blindsides” and confuses reunion participants.
One of the explanations for this attraction is that is can be a natural one… those involved in the adoption reunion are mirrored in their family member. They see similar appearance, likes, dislikes, and can even smell and feel the other’s presence as a family member at the cellular level. These are all very comfortable and attractive qualities and feelings. There is a deep connection, but you are also complete strangers. GSA can be a normal response to a very unusual situation. Keep in mind GSA is rare and rarer still, do people act on it.
For reunited family members who experience it, GSA is often shrouded in secrecy, shame and fear.
If this has affected you or your family, seek a GSA support group. Do seek help for the complex issue from a professional counsellor with knowledge of adoption issues.