Council of Natural Mothers' Library
The Adoption Reunion Guide Survival Guide:
Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond
Julie Jarrell Bailey & Lynn N. Giddens, M.A.
Forward by Annette Baran, M.S.W.
In the Forward to this book,
Annette Baran writes that " the reunion experience of birth-parent
and adoptee constructs an unparalleled relationship, and is truly sui
generis, a totally unique emotional experience." This is, of course,
what adoptive parents and the general public do not understand: there
is no natural parallel for a parent to meet their child as an adult. Because
of this, the relationships that are formed when this does happen can be
difficult to understand and difficult to characterize. We have no established
model in our society, only myths and media hype. We are the generation
which is building the reality of adoption reunion.
The book itself is divided into four parts:
Part 1 Preparing for a Reunion: What you Need to Know
Part 2 Practical Advice for
Sidestepping Reunion Pitfalls
Part 3 The Tangled Web of Rights
and Legal Issues
Part 4 More Help for Your Journey
Part 1 discusses the emotional effects and interactions of adoption.
The authors summarize Betty Lifton's explanation for the fantasies adoptees,
natural parents and adoptive parents build of each other under closed
adoption. The emotional trauma of parents who lose their children to adoption
is explained, as are the losses and experiences of adoptees. The explanations
in this section are an excellent summary of current research and experiences
in adoption. Chapter 5 is especially useful in describing the stages of
Part 2 covers common errors in reunion dynamics, and offers assistance
to adoptees and natural parents on handling the many delicate situations
that arise. It is truly a user's guide to reunion.
Part 3 is likely the least useful section for Canadians, as it
covers adoption legislation in the United States. However, the sections
on the Open Records movement are very useful to people new to the issues
and entanglements of the different arguments on both sides, while the
authors' stance is clearly and solidly in support of Open Records.
Part 4 is short, having a concluding chapter and some American
resources for adoptees and natural parents to use in search and reunion.
This book is very, very useful to an adoptee or a natural parent just
beginning to search, or one just contacted by someone searching. There
is much information which will reach to the heart of both the searcher
and the one found. Judy, a mother now searching for her son, said of this
"I find myself reading thoughts I didn't know I had and thoughts
that, if I did know I had, I would never have been able to express. As
I read (often with difficulty, as my eyes fill with tears!), I feel as
though the authors have looked down into my soul and are turning lights
on in every corner of depths which have served to hide shame and guilt.
To say this book is comforting and enlightening is an understatement."
reviewed by Sandra Falconer Pace
New Harbinger Publications,
ISBN 1-57224-228-0 Paperback
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers