The Reality of Reunions: Denise and David

Reuniting After 36 Years
Dr. Phil talks reunited guests and talks about expectations of reuninons.
Denise placed her son up for adoption 36 years ago and has not seen him since that day. With the help of a private investigator, Lynn-Marie Carty at, she was able to locate him. The day has finally come for her to meet her son for the first time, and she wonders how and if she can fit in to his life.

Dr. Phil asks Denise, "What do you envision happening once you meet your son?"

"I envision us learning about each other and possibly, hopefully becoming friends, and just taking time to get to know each other," she says.

Dr. Phil makes sure she understands that he has a loving adoptive mother and family. "That role is filled," he says, "so what is the role that you think you can realistically..."

Denise responds, "I have been able to speak to him on the phone a couple of times, just the little connection that we have had already, I feel we have a lot of similarities, and I think that there can be a bond ... maybe not a mother/son bond, but some type of a close friendship bond."


Dr. Phil cautions Denise, "It is in a sense two strangers coming together, two adults coming together to build a relationship, but there is a maternal bond there ... and that takes it beyond strangers in a fast hurry because that is there and you can't deny that. At the same time, he is now an adult. He has been married and divorced and has a life ... all of these things that put you in a different position. You are OK with that and willing to accept that and start working from there?"

Denise replies, "I hope so."

Dr. Phil explains, "You need to be because I don't want you to be disappointed. I want you to go in with realistic expectations. Because as we were just talking about ... You see what unrealistic expectancies can do. It can set you up for failure, and we certainly don't want that to happen."


Dr. Phil speaks with Nina, David's biological sister, asking her how she feels after seeing David on videotape. She responds, "I am very anxious to meet him also."

Dr. Phil introduces David, and he is reunited with his birth mother and sister.

Dr. Phil introduces Bill, Linda and Lori, David's adoptive parents and adopted sister, and asks them how they feel about the reunion. Linda answers, "I think so much of Denise for all the effort that she put in locating David ... I really think the world of her for it. Thank you so much Denise. You just added to his life I'm sure."

Bill explains, "I think it's a great opportunity for them both to meet each other and spend time together. I myself am grateful for Denise. Maybe she enjoyed the moment, but we have enjoyed the entire time of raising him."
Dr. Phil reminds everyone, "There is a natural process that takes place here and nobody has to push into each other's lives, nobody has to feel like they have an agenda here. Just to allow a natural evolution of things to take place. You may have some intensity and some flourish in the beginning as you pull all this together, but then you just let it evolve ... Remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint ... The reunion is an event, but the relationship that springs from it is a process, and you have to prepare for it."