Rejection. It’s a word that nobody involved in an adoption search wants to think about. Unfortunately, rejection is something that every searcher needs to consider. It happens. It’s terribly sad for all concerned, and can emotionally deeply wound the person being rejected, but it is one of the possible outcomes of any search.

Having personally been through a 7 year search myself, and having held the hands of hundreds of searching adoptees and birthmothers, I know how common it is for searchers to say that they’re prepared for any outcome in their search. The reality is that you can never truly be prepared for rejection. If you’re an adoptee, how can the woman who abandoned you once already abandon you still again? If you’re a birthmother, how can the son or daughter to whom you gave birth totally turn their back on you? There can be so many reasons, and knowing those reasons can help to better prepare you for whatever outcome your search may have.

In my 17 years of working with adoptees, it has been my experience that adoptees most often reject their birth families because of guilt over their adoptive parents, or direct pressure from their parents. There seem to be 2 distinct flavors of adoptive parents, those who understand their child’s need/desire to search, and support it, and those who go into a panic at the very thought of their child searching for their birth family.

Supportive parents understand that by standing behind their son or daughter in their search and possible reunion, they are strengthening bonds of love, and showing that the needs of their child is important to them.

Unsupportive parents have often not had close and loving relationships with their children, and they feel threatened by a potential reunion. Out of fear of losing their child to his/her birth parents, these adoptive parents frequently lay a heavy guilt trip on their kids. Their goal is to strengthen their relationship, but in reality their actions often alienate their children from them, and put up walls of resentment that may never be torn down.

Birthmothers have very different stories. Based again on my experience in working with birthmoms, the reason most often given for a birthmother rejecting her child is that the birth of that child has always been a deep, dark secret. Birthmoms are sometimes so shamed by what they’ve been through that they never tell a living soul about the baby they had and relinquished. They marry, and don’t tell their husband. They have more children, and don’t tell them. To these birthmoms, it’s like it never happened.

Suddenly, out of the blue, a son or daughter calls them on the phone, and they go into instant panic. To tell their husband after so many years that they weren’t honest with them is unthinkable. They can’t figure out any way out of their situation, so they turn away the son or daughter that they desperately want to know, because they’re afraid their family will be torn apart if they don’t.

There is so much pain for a person being rejected that it’s nearly unbearable. No matter how well you may think that you’re prepared for any eventuality in your search, you are not prepared for rejection. I personally lived with this kind of pain for 5 years, before finding an EFT practitioner that could help me to work it through. Thanks to EFT, I can discuss my rejection by my son without emotionally falling apart. Prior to those sessions, I couldn’t even bear to think about that subject.

If you’ve been rejected too, and are feeling that unbearable pain, there can be relief for you too. In situations like this, the relief is so intense that afterward you can’t imagine how you got through each day without EFT.

Don’t do what I did if you’ve been rejected. Get your life back, get your emotional balance back, and learn to smile again.

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Pat Burns is an EFT practitioner in Tallahassee, Florida. Contact Pat at