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After the Search is Completed

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How to Initiate Contact

There are three ways of making the first contact: a letter, a phone call, or a face-to-face meeting. The most powerful contact is between the people involved in the relinquishment and adoption. A third party, whether a search angel or a professional searcher, contacting the person you are looking for can "triangulate" the contact and is generally not the best way to start a relationship.

Relatives should not be contacted first because they may not be aware of the relinquishment and adoption. Relating your adoption connection to an unknowing relative could jeopardize your reunion. It's important to realize that the most crucial part of the reunion is the first contact and if it isn't done right it can forever alter the outcome of the reunion.

I strongly encourage everyone to send a letter for the first contact and not to call or knock on a door. A letter is considerate and it gives the person who receives your letter an equal opportunity to prepare himself or herself emotionally to consider your request. A letter has the advantage of being read many times while the reader contemplates the impact the contents of the message will have on their current life.

Write several drafts of your letter until you are comfortable with the contents. I would recommend not making the letter too long or too emotional. Put the letter aside for a few days before mailing in case you think of something that you want to change. An adoptee should include a family picture if married or a casual snapshot if single. A birth parent should include a picture taken about the time of the adoptee's birth and a current snapshot.

The following is a sample letter that an adoptee might write:

Date:

Dear:

Perhaps the best way to begin my letter is to first establish my identity. I was born in (hospital, city, county, state) on (day, month, year) and was relinquished for adoption following my birth. I was known at birth as ____________. My birthmother's maiden name was __________ and my birthfather's name was_________.

My adopted name is ______________________ and (include some information about yourself such as children; education; career; hobbies; etc.)

My research into my biological origins has led me to you. Please be assured that I do not desire anything from you other than the opportunity to correspond with you now or to possibly meet you some day in the future if that is agreeable with you. It is not my desire to invade your life in any way. I will respect your privacy and will honor your decision whatever way it goes. I would, however, appreciate the opportunity to receive a letter from you indicating your feelings, either way, so that I am at least able to know I have contacted you successfully.

Sincerely,

Name:

Address:

Phone number:

Email address:

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