9. Where and how to meet

Pouring tea. first meeting with birth relative

Organising your First Meeting with a previously unknown birth relative.

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)

Talk to us about this if you need help.

There is no perfect venue for meeting your long lost relative, but often a neutral space such as hotel or restaurant can be a good start. A cup of tea or drink can be a good distraction or an ice breaker, whereas a sit-down formal meal may be too much for the occasion.

It all depends really on how well you feel you know the correspondent and how private you wish to keep your details. Sometimes with long-distance meetings our clients will meet the relative halfway so that you both bear the cost of travel.

If you don’t like public places, it is possible to book private meeting rooms at low cost i.e. Premier Inn and Holiday Inn often have meeting rooms by the hour.

The first meeting should only be for a few hours at first in order to give everyone a chance to withdraw and reflect on their experience which may be overwhelming. First meetings are often very intense emotionally, and you might wish to retreat and take a break.

For long distance travel – don’t leave travel until the last minute, and you may want to make accommodation arrangements so that you can relax and take your time before travelling home. It is inadvisable to stay in the home of the relative you are meeting for a first time. This may be too much too soon.

It can be helpful to have a third party with you such as partner or friend. Ensure that they are aware that a first meeting might be stressful or unusual, as you may not want them feeling left out.

Remember the golden rules to be polite and friendly. Do not give out personal information or ask for personal contact details at this stage until both parties are confident that all is well to proceed further.

Talk with us if this is difficult to organize and we will help you.

Dr. Joanna North.

Consultant Psychotherapist Adoption.

September 2024.

Joanna North Adoption (Ofsted registered)

Pouring tea. first meeting with birth relative