Adoptee and birth relative reunions result from successful adoption searches. This term may loosely refer to any intentional contact between the two post-placement. But it more often refers to a reunion (or first meeting) with hopes of building a relationship with that person.
A reunion can be a bittersweet victory. Adoption searches can be financially and emotionally draining and some may take months or years of attempted contact before an actual reunion is made.
Once reunited, the parties may experience an overwhelming emotional change that is often compared to the Kubler-Ross "Five Stages of Grief."
When first reunited, parties will likely feel euphoric about the search coming to fruition and to have the chance to have questions answered. They may spend an excessive amount of time together reconnecting but, as with anything in excess, the parties may feel the need to distance themselves from one another. This time may be spent in denial of the reunion and can quickly lead to anger or guilt toward themselves or the other person. Because of these feelings, the parties may choose to not confront their problem. By rationalizing their decision without confronting it, the parties can make reunion more difficult to understand and this can lead to depression, which only ends when the circumstances of the reunion is accepted.
Sometimes this means that both parties reunite again and choose to maintain a relationship. Other times, a reunion can only provide a deeper, resolved understanding of a searcher's self.