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My partner and I have been together 30 years.  When I met her (1984),she told me that she had given up a baby boy for adoption in 1970.  From time to time over our years together, she would mention him in passing, a vague comment wondering how he had turned out in life.  I never experienced my partner as grieving the loss of her son, but now I am seeing things in a new light. About 7 months ago, my partner received an email from her son, who had been searching for her over the last year. Now that my partner and her son are in the reunion process, we find ourselves awash with intense and confusing emotions.  I find myself feeling displaced, excluded, jealous, resentful, hurt- and we fight a lot when I express or act from these feelings. At the same time, I am trying to understand what is happening for my partner and for us as a couple because  I want to support my partner, and I desperately want our relationship to survive. I have been reading a ton about the reunion process, but I have found hardly a mention about the role of the partner.  Jean Strauss has about a page in her book Birthright. In her notes, she sites an article which I am trying to find:  "The Role of the Spouse in the Search and Reunion Process" by Dirck Brown and Lucille Buergers (AdoptNet Magazine- Sept-Oct 1991).  Can you help me find this article and / or any other resources to help me understand my role.  I am struggling to understand (and accept)what my role is. I'm really not sure how I fit in the picture these days.  Thank you so much!

Answer
Heather, family members and loved ones are unsung super heroes in the adoption reunion adventure saga. Your successful support of the process is vital and life changing. I am happy to provide resources and reassurance. Thank you for writing.

The article, "The Role of the Spouse in the Search and Reunion Process," may not be available online. I will check among my network contacts to see if I can locate a copy of the article for you.

You are off to a good start with your research, Heather. The insights you gain will help you to make sense of the chaos. It is a loving and valiant strategy.

Brief readings from the following online resources may help you to see the significance of your position as partner (spouse), or family member of a parent/adult-child reuniting pair.

A Family Affair: The Impact of Reunion on Spouses and Siblings
http://pacer-adoption.org/2014/03/28/3988/
(PACER is the organization founded by Dirck Brown.)

My Birth Father's Wife
http://forums.adoption.com/birth-adoptive-family-relationships/385963-my-birth-f

I am available if you wish to talk with me about your specific situation, Heather. Please let me know if you think I can help further, and thank you for your question.

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Alice Allen, Rev (ULC)

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Adoption Reunion and Reconciliation - "Do I matter to you?" - To adopted persons and their families, it is an especially important question. I offer guidance related to post-adoption search and reunion. Questions about how to search, what to expect of reunion, and where to locate resources are welcome. Please 'View Profile' for more detail.

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Universalist minister and counselor specializing in post-adoption search, reunion, and reconciliation issues. Founder of GrannysCupboard, a ULC ministry that assists individuals who are searching for missing or estranged family and community members. Confidential information provided to GrannysCupboard is not shared without explicit permission. All costs associated with search service are paid by GrannysCupboard. No fees are charged.

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