We asked the online adult adoptee community to share what they would express to Prospective Adoptive Parents BEFORE they adopted if they had the chance. They knew their responses were going to be posted anonymous for a blog post and were happy to contribute to bring awareness and enlightenment to the adoption community.
Here are their responses
- We are not blank slates. Keep a therapist in reach that is seasoned in issues surrounding adoption. You WILL need them for your child but also for you. If you can’t speak nicely and lovingly towards the biological parents then don’t adopt. Don’t tell them they are your gift from God. God didn’t do that. Also, the term gift is demoralizing… We are not chattel. Join the fight for an adult adoptee to access their original birth records without exception. That will help them to know that their rights as humans matter.
- Don’t adopt the child. Help the family. You can provide a safe home without changing records and removing someone from their family. If the mother and child/baby must be separated, provide every opportunity for visitation even if it has to be supervised. Remind the child that you are guardians and they have a mother and father. Most of these “crackhead whores” whom society has deemed unfit, have had a past where no one helped them. Something awful has to have happened to have made them turn to drugs. Now is your chance to help mother and baby. If you found yourself in temporary trouble, would you want someone to help themselves to your baby? Do unto others….don’t take their baby. Also, don’t take babies from another country to satisfy your desire to raise a baby. Help that country change their old views that shame women for having babies too young, or out of wedlock, or shame the baby for defects and abnormalities or because of their sex. Help countries adopt the model shown in Belgium and other Nordic countries that acknowledge the importance of the mother/baby bond and socially support all mothers to keep their babies. Babies believe they are one with mother for 9 months after birth. Separating them before that messes with the natural stages of development we are supposed to experience. Seems we have more respect for animals and their babies than we do for humans. Also, for the entire pregnancy and for at least 6 weeks post partum, mother’s hormones are raging. Discussing adoption and having them sign anything is ethically wrong. Once a mother had mothered her child for the first 6 weeks and mother has been assessed by her dr to ensure her hormones are back to normal, mother then can decide if she would like to make first contact with an adoption agency/lawyer. Any contact before that is ethically wrong on the part of the agency/lawyer.
- I find it’s sick and twisted anyone, especially the Christian community and angelical leaders PRAY for a baby to be separated from it’s mother. They PRAY for this trauma to happen so they can SELFISHLY have a child to call their own. It disgusts me that any REAL Christian would do this. They need to be praying NO CHILD is ever separated from their mother and go adopt a child from the USA that is in foster care AND/OR help mothers and babies stay together. Why the need for a fresh womb infant? Selfishness IMHO.
- You cannot raise an adopted child the same way you would raise a birth child. I’m adopted and have 2 adopted children. I know what my kids are going to go through when it comes to wanting to know where they come from and all of that. Adoption isn’t easy. Its not fun. Its messy and complicated and not something you can ever understand unless you live it.
- Be aware that your child may exhibit characteristics not usually seen in “biological” children e.g. more than usual aggressiveness or shyness, unexplained fits of temper, sadness, depression, and more. Realize that it isn’t you. Your child has an innate knowledge of who they are even if they don’t know who they are. They know they aren’t who their new family frequently want them to believe they are. When they can understand more than simple concepts, tell them their story. Don’t sugar coat it, don’t belittle where they came from, just tell them their story. Someday they may want to seek out more information, or they may not. Don’t push one way or the other. If they seek their origins don’t feel sad or depressed, or angry, because this happened to them, not you. If you treated them well, raised them well, taught them well, they will love YOU, but you have to remember there is someone else out there that they have a physical connection to, indeed, a connection at the human soul level. Just be kind, thoughtful, and love them. At this point they need it.
- No to adoption. Adoption should never be an option. I don’t care what the situation is, it never warrants adoption. All people have a right to know who they are, who their people are, what their place is. All people have a right to not have to pretend to be someone other than they are, which is what happens in adoption. For children who need care while parents get the help they need, guardianship, fostering and sponsoring only. Never ever adoption. Even if parents don’t seek help, still no to adoption. We are who we are. We should not be made change our name and be told these are your parents now when we already have parents and families.
- I am an adoptee and I adopted a baby. I also have two biological children. My son and I share the challenges, sadness, happiness and hope of being adopted. I tell him his birth parents loved him so much and we talk about them whenever he wants. I also make sure he understands reunion can be painful, especially when secondary abandonment/rejection occurs. But, he knows I will help him search and we will never stop helping him whatever he decides to do. Respect, patience, love and compassion can help all adoptees. I was rejected after 20 years of reunion and he knows the entire story. He and I share so much because I want him to be educated and exposed to the good and bad so he is ready for whatever comes his way. Thanks for this sight.
- I am not a gift. Yes, I am a gift from God as all babies are, but PLEASE DO NOT REFER TO ME AS A GIFT! It makes me feel like a piece of property with a hefty price tag attached. It makes me feel like I’m not even human. – From A Christian.
- Don’t do it. Be a positive part of a child’s life without forcing them to address you with the fake title of Mom or Dad. Don’t take away someone’s name, heritage, or family for your own ego. Be a guardian to an older foster child, a volunteer with Big Brothers – Big Sisters, or a doting aunt or uncle. If you’re infertile, I’m sorry about that but adoption will not solve it. It causes more harm than you can imagine.
- I am an adoptee, and while I have had a terrible experience I still see the beauty in it and don’t discount it. All children need to be cared for. If you are adopting to fill a void for yourself, please do not adopt. If you think adopting a child is going to fulfill a fantasy you already hold, please do not adopt. Emotional intelligence is KEY, but even more essential in the case of adoption. Codependency and family dysfunction are certainly NOT suitable conditions. Be prepared to assist and empathize with a child navigating an extreme amount of loss, rejection, grief, control and identity issues, otherwise you will be setting your child up for failure. When you decide to tell your child they are adopted, already be prepared in knowing what emotions and reactions are expected to arise, and have a plan in place for how you will help them cope with them. Parents should find many ways to openly acknowledge and honor the child’s feelings surrounding adoption and initiate healthy loving conversations. I think having “rituals” in place, where the parents can hold space for the child and honor the loss and feelings would be tremendously beneficial, that way the child can integrate their truth into reality and not repress it.
- Deal with your infertility issues before you adopt. We are not your infertility counselors. I’m not interested in your Infertility, I’m interested in my real mother and my real father and my brothers and sisters. We will never share DNA, medical history, mirroring, and probably not athletic, music, and education choices. That does not make me defective. I may be rejected by your favorite relatives; will you choose them or me? Adoption has more losses for a child than infertility has for you. The losses are permanent. You can no more replace a mother than an adopted baby can replace your dream child. It’s a recipe for disaster. Adoption is not a one time event – it’s a daily reminder of a catastrophic loss for the adoptee. I personally will never love you more than my bio mother, but I can learn to love you – that’s up to you and how hard you are willing to work.
- Don’t adopt the child with some pre-conceived idea of what that child should be. Don’t adopt that child if you don’t think you have it in you to love them just as if you were their biological parents. Don’t adopt them thinking they will complete you somehow, and then resent them when they don’t complete you. Do some serious soul searching. What are your goals and expectations from adoption? Also, learn about the child’s heritage and raise them with some knowledge of that and incorporate some of the traditions of their heritage into their upbringing.
- Don’t take the identity off the child. Tell it as it really is from day one. None of our children are ours to keep or own they will all leave when they want to. But every child must have the same rights to knowledge, identity, genetics, original name even. You cannot make them into something there not. You are lying to yourself if you think you can. And if you cant have children then there is a message in that. Love them but set them free.
- Why aren’t you adopting from Foster Care?
- Dont Adopt. Why are you really doing it. To conform to society? To look the same as your friends? To fill a void? Help keep marriage together? Desperate for a Baby? That is the worst reason of all.
- I would ask are you prepared to have a child that is grieving for someone that can never be you
- Personally for me I never and still do not feel like I’m a part of their family. My advice would be only give a child to a couple who has no other bio child as u can never compete with that love. The next would be for the child to have access to a councilor while growing up to talk though the everyday things that come with being adopted. I had good parents growing up and since have had contact with my birth parents but the wounds of being adopted run deep.
- Adoption as a last resort but if it’s necessary, complete honesty/openness, answer every question and become experts in separation trauma with appropriate expert therapists available as early as is required.
- Consider what the worst case scenario you can imagine could happen and then take a long hard look at your life to make sure you could handle that or that you could find help handling that. Adopted kids don’t necessarily have more issues than other kids, but we do have different issues than other kids. You might consider seeking out a therapist that is well versed in adoption issues before you adopt so you can get some kind of idea before you go through the process.
- Read the book primal wound.
- Keep seeking advice from adult adoptees, we have lived it. We know more about adoption than anyone in the equation.
- I would tell them to be aware and mindful of the challenges that will arise. Loving and raising a child as your own , as beautiful as it is, does not erase the trauma of being adopted. I would tell the parents to be open and as honest as possible when you and the child are ready for that conversation. I would also tell parents adopting a child to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. As an adoptee myself, I just wanted my parents ,who raised me from six months old to listen. That’s it. It is a challenging but rewarding journey if the necessary steps are taken to make sure that the child is taken care of physically, mentally and emotionally.
- We aren’t “heroes”, we aren’t “chosen”, or “special”, you are not their savior, you are their parent. That’s all. Don’t treat us differently, be understanding, listen when they need to get their feelings out and allow them an outlet to do so. If they want to find their family, let them, support them and love them.
- Know what issues an adopted children will face. Remember that they have lost their first family and make sure you reassure they are loved no matter what. Talk about both families. Never say how lucky or blest they are. Listen and listen some more
- I am not your child…..I am a child in your care. I cannot and will not replace the child you wish came from your womb. I am not responsible from whence I came, and if I had a choice I would be with my own tribe. I can learn to love you with care that takes into consideration the trauma of my loss. As I grow I will have questions I have every right to have answered with the truth, the real truth, not the “Rose coloured glasses” truth. I am not perfect, I am not anymore blessed by adoption than you are by infertility. I am as important as any future children you may have, your own or someone else’s. I do not look like you and if we share any common traits, enjoy my uniqueness and don’t take credit for something you or I had no control over. I am special because I exist and you are special because you gave me a chance to be myself.
- Do not adopt a baby/toddler because of your infertility problem or your selfishness to have a baby that is not yours. If you wish to help a child, foster older children in the foster care system until their families get themselves together to take care of Their child. I am an adoptee and the only place i belonged in this world was in my birth mother’s arms. No woman will ever replace a birth mother. You want to help, help the poor mother keep her baby.
- Before bedtime : expect that challenging times hard difficult ones will always be there adoption is a trauma for the adopted children and will always be a part of their lives in 1 way or another.
- Since most adoptions today are open ones an adoptive family would have to feel comfortable with sharing the child with their biological parent(s).
- Adopt for the right reason.
An adoptive parent reached out to me and ask me one question…
“What do adult adoptees feel can be done by society and their adoptive parents to make their journeys not so painful? How can we HELP them?”
Here are over 30 responses.
To all the brave adult adoptees, thank you for sharing your feelings with the world so we can help others understand how it feels to be adopted.
- Please don’t tell adoptees like me to be grateful and that we should thank our lucky stars that we were “rescued” from a life in an orphanage. Please don’t say we are “hurting” our adopters by seeking the truth of our origins. After being in reunion for 6 years and after a lifetime of lies about my blood ties, I have learned the truth and I realize the lengths to which adopters and adoption trafficker$ will go to procure a newborn. My adopters were (and still are) abusive, self-absorbed alcoholics who only wanted the appearance of normal couple with a child: the perfect family. The RCC helped and continues to help adopters at the expense of the blood family. I have nothing to be grateful for and nothing to feel guilty about. People who use those lines to make adoptees stop looking for and/or having healthy relationships with their natural/bio families are manipulative baby trafficker$ living in a fantasy world. The “As if born to” and “In the best interests of the child” are myths perpetrated to cover up the real motives of these slick business people. Take the money and lies out of the system and it will disappear.
- I agree with what everyone else says about helping existing adoptees. But going forward I will dare suggest that the best way to help future adoptees is to not create adoptees in the first place. Focus on family preservation. Also, perhaps even offer better/more birth control education and free birth control in high school. If you’re not going to take care of your child, don’t create one. As someone who was very careful and never once had an accidental pregnancy, I really don’t understand how some people can be so careless, especially repeatedly. It’s not fair that the child pays for the irresponsibility of others.
- There should be provisions in the law to UN-adopt oneself as an adult; especially if there was abuse or they are deceased. Otherwise we feel like slaves. As adults we should have the right to define who is our family when a legal contract was made about us when we were a minor. It is like gay people not allowed to marry. I have a 25 year reunion, both my adopted parents have passed away, but I don’t legally belong to my birth parents. We should have he right to define who is family as an adult. It is the only legal contract as an adult that one cannot get out of. It is a human rights violation. As ‘if born to’ is a big lie.
- Acknowledge that we suffered a loss.
- I wrote a book about it and out in public talking and talking to raise awareness…come on….why hide.
- Don’t make us feel guilty for wanting to know where we come from.
- Grief and loss needs to be part of the discussion from the start!! most of us are born into grief yet it is ignored. Talking about being adopted cannot be a onetime discussion. Acknowledging adoption is not the same as acknowledging the grief and loss. Adoptees are a special needs population in my opinion and we have different needs than non-adoptees
- Society can try to acknowledge our pain and loss, and stop telling us we should be thankful we weren’t aborted, and someone took us in when our own families didn’t want us. Help is grieve our losses at an early age, so we aren’t numbing the pain as we grow up with substances, and develop unhealthy ways to cope. We don’t know what to do as children. Read THE PRIMAL WOUND. Get educated and keep reading this page on how we feel.
- You can’t teach your children not to lie, but expect adoption lies to be okay. Lying is never okay.
- After a certain age…adoptees should have access to the adoption records…
- Talk, talk talk. Don’t assume – or expect the child to be first to raise the subject! Too many exclaim ‘she didn’t say anything’ well, you know what? Kids need help to articulate the feelings they have.
- There needs to be transparency with adoption. Agencies aren’t as open as they should be, and put the BM before the adoptee when it comes to information, the lack of which inhibits closure.
- The MAIN and most important thing that society can do to help us is to RECOGNIZE that adoption means LOSS, is painful, that it is NOT a win-win arrangement, and that it should be a LAST RESORT.
- Society needs to recognize the fact that in order to be adopted, we had to lose EVERYTHING, and that our loss and our pain are REAL, even if we don’t remember the adoption process or what happened prior to it.
- They need to recognize that their attitudes towards adoptees needs to change. We are NOT perpetual children who should never have the right to make our own life decisions, and expectations that we OWE it to our adoptive parents never to search, reunite, and know or embrace our TRUE identities is a form of slavery!
- They need to stop telling us that we were given up because we were unloved or unwanted, or because our mothers were selfish, or because our mothers loved us so much that they wanted better for us. They DON’T KNOW why any of us were given up, so they need to STOP MAKING IGNORANT ASSUMPTIONS.
- They need to stop telling us to be grateful. They need to stop telling us that our adoptive parents’ feelings are more important that our happiness. They need to stop telling us that our natural parents’ anonymity is more important that our happiness. They need to stop telling us that we have an obligation to go along with the secrets and lies. They need to stop telling us how they think we should feel.
- Then, they need to recognize that MOST adoptions are NOT necessary. They need to know how most of us are acquired through coercion, or force, or because our natural mothers were not given enough help to allow them to keep us and how so very few are actually aware of all of their options. And they need to know that we deserve the right to know and embrace our own true identities from the very beginning, regardless of who raises us and regardless of whether or not we have contact with our natural families.Once society realizes and begins to accept that our loss and pain are real. they will also begin to see all the travesties that are done to adoptees, and will begin to see current adoption practices as offensive and barbaric.
- Awareness of society to not call us special and lucky and tell us we should be grateful towards our adoptive parents because otherwise we would have been homeless without them. This puts such a stigma on us and piles on the guilt if we are experiencing any trauma or troubles with our adoptive families and causes us to feel at fault when we should not be made to feel this way. Better counseling for the birthparents and adoptive parents to make them aware of the identity issues that adoptees go through, perhaps some mandatory reading even before things are final of books that resonate with adoptees such as the primal wound to ensure that they all understand a little more of the perspective of the unborn child who cannot speak for themselves. Meetings with adult adoptees for the birthparents and adoptive parents so that they can hear an adult adoptees perspective as well. In general more education for everyone. Extreme encouragement for more identity type information to be made available as the adoptee grows up and for the birthparents to keep in touch with the adoptive parents and vice versa to help everyone with the trauma that they experience which will also help the birthparents know that their child is ok and healthy and thriving.. Adoptive parents to be implored to not ever put the children in the position to be made to feel like they shouldn’t ask questions or want to search for their origins and birthparents. The adoptive parents should aid the child in their search and put the child’s feelings first, regardless of whether it feels like betrayal to them. The adoptee had no choice in their destiny and they should be allowed to make choices unimpeded and without guilt and shame laid upon them. Support from adoptive parents towards movement of more open records for adoptees rather than the shroud of secrecy and shame that adoption was based on when I was born (1977).
- Adoptees should have identity rights. We should know our cultural and medical history at time if adoption so we don’t feel like aliens. Adoptive parents need to normalize and facilitate adoption conversations throughout developmental milestones. Be supportive of openness, it makes us feel more loved, that you love everything we belong to, our history, culture, connections; understand our life began before we met you.
- Open adoptions and acknowledge adoption as a last resort and a sad thing for the child.
- Please stop treating us like were a piece of property. We aren’t YOURS! We are human beings.
- Adoptive parents could support us by putting more emphasis on family preservation whenever possible, with the understanding that adoption always has far-reaching consequences that are best avoided. It would ease my mind a lot to see society finally trying to do better for children. As far as how they could help those of us who have already gone through it, just listening and not discounting what we say would be a huge start. Recognize us as the *true* adoption experts and learn from us.
- Adoptive parents could support us by validating our feelings.
- I was lied to when I was told by family that I was willingly gave up for adoption, when I was actually a forced adoption. To me that’s a pretty big lie. Adoptive parents can support us by stopping the lies.
- “I’m so sorry you lost your family’” would have gone a long way. That kind of acknowledgment would have meant so much.
- Firstly, the “adoption industry” as we know it needs to be abolished. The money needs to be taken out of adoption. A complete overhaul with family preservation as the main focus with adoption being an act of last resort. As a society, if we started to view adoption as a last resort, an option that is painful and fraught with problems and lifelong issues for the adoptee, the nuclear option so to say- i think we could make strides. Instead the adoption industry pushes an agenda of “it’s about love” when in reality that is just a marketing propaganda.
- Society: open records, which, whether we choose to search or not, gives us the freedom as adults to decide. My biggest annoyance was feeling controlled by society/ adults in general. Feeling made to feel like a worthless child by the law. Adoptive parents: no judging of birth family who may have a diff lifestyle/ set of norms. Being open and honest without being condescending toward us would help us.
- Get them to therapy for infancy abandonment issues as soon as feasibly possible. It’s the buried trauma that needs to be addressed.
- Open records, medical records and health history given to adoptee at time of birth. Mandatory parenting classes for the A-parents, as well as for the adoptee. Counseling and support groups etc. should be continued throughout the life o Tell us the truth, as much of it as you know. Accept that we are grieving, we have suffered a loss that you can’t replace. We don’t want replacement parents so much as we need caregivers – especially applicable to older children who can remember our original parents. Give us a safe place to be alone and don’t try to force attachment if we don’t want it.as the adoptee.
- Adoptive parents need to realize that we’re adopted to be almost as good as a natural born baby & it just isn’t that easy. As soon as you tell the child he/she is adopted that separates the family.
- Industry/money out of adoption, open records at age 18 at the latest, adoption as a last resort and for the CHILD, not because adopters think they’re entitled to be parents. If we’re wishing big, we need to change society so people don’t feel like they have to have a child. Infertility rates are increasing at an incredible speed. We know there’s already an incredible amount of demand for babies, or even older kids as people get more desperate. That demand is only going to get worse over the next decade plus. I fear we are heading back into baby scoop era theft of children. Only this time they’re using “child protective services” and they’re reaching above the newborn age to try to meet demand.
- Demand an end to the secrecy and lies in adoption. No person should ever have their name and history removed from them. Ever. If .the want to be adoptive parents knew this going in that would take so much of the pain away/ Then again, the majority of them would not want to adopt thus “orphans” would not be created to meet their demand.
- Give all of us our Original Birth Certificates (OBC’S) already!!
- Please stop saying “Love is all we need” & “Love trumps all”. Love is not all we need. We need our history, our OBC, our TRUTH, and acknowledgement of our losses in order to feel WHOLE as a person & to be able to heal and move forward with our lives.
If you are an adoptee and have anything you would like to share or add your voice matters, please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to add to this collaboration please email email@example.com OR leave your comment here.
Thank you for having the willingness to learn from us and thank you for reading how it feels to be adopted. ❤