FIRST CALL GUIDELINES
are some more suggestions for making that first phone call...
is unknown, and credit will be granted if the author identifies
him or herself.]
Contact: The Phone Call
are no set rules for first contact, either by phone or by letter.
However, there are some standard procedures that seem to have
worked in the past for many facing what you are facing at the
moment. Here are some suggestions based on past experiences:
be extremely polite. I know you're scared to death, and you may
think that you can't do this, but you can. Ask for the personyou
are seeking. Once you have a good idea that you've got the right
party, identify yourself by name, state your location ("I live
in Colorado") and ask the party to whom you are speaking to write
down your area code and phone number, in case you are unexpectedly
disconnected. On several occasions, both the party calling and
the party receiving the calls have been so excited that they "forgot"
to exchange this information, so if you do it first, you won't
forget later. Once you've identified yourself, ask the party you
are speaking to if he/she is XXXX. Also ask if it is a good time
to speak to them.... or would they prefer you call back. Tell
them that you have something of a personal nature to discuss with
them, but before you feel comfortable disclosing personal information,
you'd like to determine if they are indeed the correct party you
are trying to reach.
what YOU KNOW, from your research or your non-identifying information,
to verify that you do have the right person. You could ask, "Are
you the XXXX who used to live in XXXX? Were your parents' names
XXXX and XXXX? Do you have 2 brothers and 2 sisters? Was your
maiden name SMITH ??" (Just kidding, but you catch my meaning).
Once you get at least 3 affirmative answers, you can be pretty
sure that you've got the right person, so now it's time for the
say something like, "M'am, the reason I am calling, is that I
was born on such-n-such a date in (City, State) and my name at
birth was (if you have the birthname, give it) or if all you have
is Baby Girl Smith ..... use that. If there is silence .... proceed
with, "I have been searching for you for a very long time, and
have reason to believe that you may have some personal knowledge
of that day in my life. I understand that my contact with you
today may have come as a surprise, and if you need to think about
this and call me back I will understand, but I hope that you welcome
hearing from me because you have been in my thoughts for many
IS NO SET response .... everyone reacts in a different manner
when contacted. Many original mothers expect to "someday" hear
from their lost child, but many harbor that as a "what if" and
not as a "what now" scenario. They could be shocked, confused
and at a loss as to what to say or how to respond. Treat them
lovingly. Most expect adoptees to be "angry" at them. Why I have
no idea .... but that IS THE MOST common thing we've heard. "Are
you MAD at me?" The best response is from the heart. If you say
something like, "Of course not. I know you did what you had to
do then in my best interests!" it might ease their initial fears.
Gauge the reaction of the party you are calling. If he/she seems
open and friendly, have a list of questions ready that you might
want to ask. Sometimes it is NOT a good idea to ask, at this particular
moment in time, anything about your other birthparent. You might
ask what happened leading to your relinquishment.
I said earlier, there ARE NO set rules for first contact. You
have some ideas now on what to say and how to say it, but here
are some other tips (not necessarily in order of importance).
1. If they say
this is NOT a good time to talk, ask for a more convenient
time when you can call. Don't wait for them to suggest a time,
but ask if tomorrow morning or tomorrow night would be better.
Give them an option so that they are in control of the situation
....but also make your intent to call back perfectly clear.
2. Have a list
of questions ready just in case they're absolutely thrilled
to hear from you! This is a good time to get those initial
questions out of the way.
3. Ask if you
can get updated medical information ~~ this is also a good
time to try to figure out where you got that "nose" and your
hair and eye color. If this is a "good call," the party you
are speaking to is going to be just as curious about YOU as
you are about them. They may willingly provide information,
or they may be somewhat hesitant on what they are telling
4. Have a pad
of paper and pen handy, so that you can record the information
you are getting. Believe me, if you are like the rest of us,
unless you write this all down you won't remember half of
what you're learning.
5. Ask if you
can write, exchange pictures, or possibly even MEET sometime.
This is, of course, our ultimate goal, but if the birthparent/family
member is uncertain on what you want in a relationship ....
this will clarify your intent on establishing some type of
a reunion goal.