5. What if you feel no connection

Two people on a bench. What if you feel no connection

What to do if you feel no connection with the relative you have searched for. Learning to manage your expectations from the outset.

Written from our experience and expertise and also with help from research:

The Adoption Reunion Handbook by Julia Feast, David Howe and Liz Trinder. (Wiley 2004 p.43)

  1. You may not feel an immediate bond with the birth relative when you do eventually meet them. Don’t worry about this. There are no rules about what you should feel.
  2. Its o.k. to be honest with yourself about how you actually do feel. Your immediate response may not be the big love or fantastic emotional high you had imagined, or you may be unimpressed by the person you meet. Give it time and don’t make judgements, this is just a process of adjusting to a stranger and them adjusting to you.
  3. Sometimes our expectations can be very high, and our imaginings may exaggerate outcomes. But people may not meet up to our hopes and dreams in a first meeting. Give people a chance, withdraw and take time to think. Whatever happens, always be polite and kind and this will reduce any possible upset for all concerned. Retreat and talk your feelings over with someone you trust or use our counselling service to reflect and talk things over so that you do not go in the wrong direction with negative reactions.
  4. You may have high hopes, but the relatives you are meeting may not dress like you, think like you, speak like you, act or dream like you. They may not be like you at all. They may have a different lifestyle. It may take time to make sense of these differences. Everyone has the right to their unique way to be in the world and we encourage you to be respectful and mindful of these differences. A polite curiosity may give you more information so that you can formulate a fair appraisal of the person you are meeting. We are often quick to judge others and we advise that above all you suspend your judgements and that you are polite and kind.
  5. You may feel judgemental towards the person you meet, but it is best not to express any criticism at a meeting. Raise all of these issues with a counsellor or your intermediary support worker. In this way you can continue to deal with your feelings, and nobody is offended.
  6. It could be that you may not wish to let this new person be part of your life. But take your time over this decision and talk with someone first. It is best not to react to a first meeting which really needs some reflection and consideration. Everyone needs a chance, and these meetings are very stressful and filled with hopes and fears. It is an opportunity to be mindful and take things slowly without making snap decisions.

Make use of our counselling service. We are here to help you with these complex situations. Don’t feel you are alone just talk to us.

Dr. Joanna North.

Consultant Psychotherapist Adoption.

September 2024.

Joanna North Adoption (Ofsted registered)

Two people on a bench. What if you feel no connection