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Marie Dolfi, LCSW                                            
Specializing in Adoption Counseling, Home Studies and Education        518-281-8884     
Adoption Search, Reunion & Counseling
    The reasons an individual chooses to search for information about their relatives and decide to have a reunion are often based upon an individual’s personality and life experiences. Some individuals are looking for answers and not a relationship. Others want an opportunity to explain the reasons for relinquishment or an opportunity to share how their life has been to their birth parent. Some are hoping for a relationship that was unavailable to them years ago. No matter what the reason someone reaches out to have a reunion, most individuals will share that it one of the most emotional life experiences that they have ever experienced and support was key for helping them with the emotions that come with a search and reunion.

    Due to closed adoptions, adoptees and birth/first parents have spent years wondering about the other’s personalities, what the other person thinks of them, looks like, how the other’s life has been and a hundred other things. All of these thoughts and expectations need to be reassessed and felt when presented with actual information and contact often resulting in a very emotional experience. The reunion experience becomes further emotional when seeing a relative that has similar looks, mannerisms, and interests resulting in an emotional reaction like no other. For those that had hoped for a connection with their relative and did not feel what they wanted after a reunion may find the reunion experience to be unsettling. An additional complication to the search and reunion process is the person conducting the search has had more time to prepare for the reunion than the person who is found. This is especially true for birth/first parents who experienced shame at the time of relinquishment and have not told their family members of the child that was adopted years ago. 

    Individuals in the process of a search and reunion often benefit from not only the support received in counseling but the insights of a therapist who has training specific to search and reunion. Search and reunion counseling can be helpful in the following areas:

Guidance and support in understanding the adoption and relinquishment experiences of the birth/first parent, adopted person and adoptive parent
Provide support and guidance during the frustrating process of obtaining adoption records and conducting a search
Help with sorting out possible outcomes prior to making contact in an effort to prepare for a reunion
Help with talking to family members on desire to do a search and plans for a reunion
Provide insight and support on issues of extended family member’s reaction to a reunion –both the birth/first family and the adopted person’s family
Help with understanding the strong genetic attraction experience that happens with some reunions
Support and guidance in integrating new relationships with existing family relationships
Guidance with determining how to best use or limit Internet and social media contact
Locating support and resources in the adoption community

​Disclaimer: While it is Marie’s hope that you find the information in her website useful and informative please note- the information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. To read the entire disclaimer click here.