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Roots-Birth Family Reunion Meeting Information:
When CSS receives a request from an adult adoptee or the adoptive parents of a minor child adopted from CSS, our social workers will try to contact the birth family where possible to see how they are doing and to evaluate their ability to have a visit. However, it is very important to understand that any contact needs to be welcomed by both sides.
CSS’ policy is not to arrange birth visits for children who are not at least twelve years of age. For all birth mother visits we believe children need to be old enough to understand many life matters, such as dating and sexual attraction, economic and culture factors that might have resulted in their birth mother’s choice to place them for adoption. Understanding why a birth mother makes a decision not to keep a child is not something that a child can understand if they are still young. Prior to puberty they have an even harder time understanding decisions that were made regarding behaviour and life style choices of the birth mother.
Adoptive families need to have a realistic understanding of the life style, behaviours, education, possible criminal activities and current life situations of the individuals who relinquished their parental rights. If they were dependable and able to manage life choices they will be easier to locate and are also more inclined to have stayed in touch with CSS. Other individuals who have not coped well with life choices and have no stable environment are more difficult and sometimes impossible to locate after a few years have passed. CSS does not recommend a face-to face visit if the relinquishing side has criminal behaviour, drug or substance abuse, or mental illness.
A lack of long-term contact does not indicate an unusual reaction and no contact would be normal in this society.
Feasibility of a birth family visit often depends on the reasons for and the situation at the time of relinquishment. Individual circumstances are also too varied to generalize birth parents attitudes regarding face-to face- and/or ongoing contact. There are some cases where birth family visits might be good for all sides. For example if a married couple gave up a child due to a special need they felt unable to handle, because of a low income or large number of children in the family, they might like a visit when the child is older and doing well. However if the child was born to an unwed teenaged mother who wants to keep this a secret from most family and friends and even her current or future husband then a meeting at any time is unlikely. For some birth mothers there may be stigma and potential trouble in any current marriage if the details of adoption have been kept secret. We can try to ask but this type of client usually does not want personal contact.
CSS social work staff will send a letter by registered mail to the birth family’s last known address. They will also call any relatives or family friends whose contact information we might have been given. If necessary, we will also send a social worker to the last known address or relative’s home. Once contact has been made and the birth parent agrees to a visit we will schedule a meeting during your trip to Taiwan. Some times birth parents may decline a face-to-face meeting but may be willing to give our social workers recent photographs to be shared with you when you arrive.
What Happens During a Birth Family Visit:
Families usually meet with birth parents at the CSS counselling office. A CSS Social Worker will also attend the meeting and will serve as an interpreter. Photos are often taken. The meeting usually lasts for about an hour. If it is mutually agreed upon by both sides there may be another meeting, perhaps for a meal at a later date during the trip. At times additional relatives from the birth family may be included at this meeting.
For All Families- Roots Visits:
Travelling to Taiwan provides a special opportunity to reconnect with the culture and birth history of your child.
Visits to the city or area where birth families lived at time of birth can also be facilitated. Some families like to visit the hospital or clinic where their son or daughter was born, in addition to the CSS nursery. Some of these facilities still exist.
Depending upon the age and circumstances of your child’s adoption families can also talk with social work staff who were working at CSS during the time of the adoption.
If we have been unable to arrange a birth family visit or if you have a younger child we can make an effort to obtain photographs and updated information.
Please contact us if you have any questions or we can be of additional support in helping plan your family’s visit to Taiwan.