Five things all adoptees want you to know…

02 Jan

1. Probably every adoptee will have issues with the title.  Whether they bristle, roll-their-eyes, sigh deeply, throw their coffee mug at the screen – it’s highly doubtful any adoptee would use this specific title because you can’t say ‘all adoptees’ want you to know, it doesn’t work that way.  Yet, I think there are a few common truths however you feel about being adopted.

2. Other parties in adoption from birthmothers/fathers, adoptive parents, and especially, adoption services providers speaking for us, defining what our story is, feelings are, or must be, to meet their own specific agenda should not be done.  I’ve never met an adoptee that likes to be used as a pawn, spoken for, told how they must feel.

3. Every adoptee has their own story, personality, belief system, family, life, feelings about being adopted, which is our common bond that brings us together.  We all have our own personal views on adoption, being adopted, of course, there will be some over-lap, and guaranteed much disconnect between us about the subject – even as there are common underlying themes that connect to our being adopted.

4. If you’ve met one adoptee, you’ve met one adoptee – that’s it.  Just because you know/met/are related to an adoptee – does not make you an expert on adoptees.  Only an expert on whatever that adoptee decided to share with you about their feelings, at that particular point in their journey.

5. Anything that stereotypes adoptees, used to dismiss our personal life experiences, used to silence us.  Typical dismissive statements may include: would you rather have been aborted, you should be grateful your birthmother chose life (aka see earlier statement, it means the same thing), grow up in an orphanage, biological families have the same issue(s), I know an adoptee who doesn’t feel that way.


I don’t care for list posts – but figured I give a try at shutting down the next person/agency who tried to lump us all into being identical clones…

What would you add, take away, amend?



Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Adoption


Tags: ,

27 responses to “Five things all adoptees want you to know…

  1. eagoodlife

    January 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve never believed there were any experts on adoption! I particularly take issues with those who tell us they are experts, usually to sell a book or services. So agree on the rest. We are individuals with our own stories to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      January 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      You are the only expert on your story – note I had a brain glitch and forgot to tell others they should never do it…sigh…


      • Mei-Ling

        January 9, 2016 at 3:04 am

        Yeah, but even so, in the perspective of “your story”, plenty of people will disregard your opinion and tell you how you should feel anyway. Especially if you were a baby when you were adopted.

        It’s your story, but it’s rarely ever your *narrative.*


    • Judith Land

      January 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      That’s a good point. There are many individual stories to tell on a global scale. Each story of adoption is special and unique. Many of the best stories I have heard are experiences and adventures that are never told because they are unique to the time and place and individuals involved and the outcomes are viewed as personal and private.


  2. ginny09

    January 2, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    It would be great if “every adoptee” could write their top 5, and someone would create a pdf file to be sent to each public policy and lawmaker in every state in the US.


    • TAO

      January 2, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Well, it would certainly be better than others trying define our experience for us…imagine how many pages they’d have to read. I would be interesting if a 1,000 adoptees did it and they ranked the top five by how many said it…


  3. L4R

    January 2, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    We define who is “real” for ourselves. No one else gets to tell us that our adoptive or our biological parents or both are the real parents. And, some of us bristle at the word “real”.

    We can love whomever we want, and we can search or not.

    We have a right to our original birth certificates. We may chose not to obtain them, but all adoptees should have access, if desired.


    • TAO

      January 2, 2016 at 11:07 pm



    • Beth

      January 4, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Agree on “real”. Also agree should have access to the original cert. IF WE WANT. I was adopted a 3 days.


    • Anna Kranti

      January 8, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Amen to that last paragraph. I’m an adoptee myself and have wish I had an original birth certificate from the country I was born in.


  4. maryanne

    January 3, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Happily reunited mom here, not speaking for my son but conveying what he has said to me. Among the great list of people here who cannot speak for all adoptees in point #1, I would include “other adoptees”. Each adoptee should be respected and heard when speaking for themselves about their own life, whether they want to search or not, whether they feel traumatized by adoption or not, whether they liked their adoptive parents or birth parents or not. Nor can any one birthmom speak for ALL birthmoms. We each have our own story and should be able to tell it without someone else telling us we are not typical or “really” must feel differently and are “in denial” if our narrative does not fit the dominant paradigm.

    Also agreeing with L4R’s comment.


    • TAO

      January 3, 2016 at 2:04 pm



    • eagoodlife

      January 3, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      While I agree, here we go again, being told how to behave!!


  5. pj

    January 3, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with above. As an adoptee- amazed at the familiarity of this group while feeling we individually are so unique in our personal experience.


    • TAO

      January 3, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks pj – I think it’s kind of like being members in an exclusive club we can’t leave that binds us together – one way or another…


  6. cb

    January 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    The one thing all adopted people have in common is that they are all born into one family and raised (as *if born into”) another family. This is a concept that every adoptee has their own way of processing and this may evolve throughout an adoptee’s life.


    • eagoodlife

      January 5, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      The other things we have in common are the loss of or mothers and the trauma that goes with it, pain and suffering and often PTSD. As cb says it may take a lifetime to evolve, for some it is decades before we become aware of our loss and/of the physical effects of the breaking of our bonds and the damage to our attachment. Many of us suffer gastro-intestinal problems of one sort and another throughout life, but may not see the connection.


      • Mei-Ling

        January 9, 2016 at 3:05 am

        “The other things we have in common are the loss of or mothers and the trauma that goes with it, pain and suffering and often PTSD.”

        However a large number of adopted adults do not believe they “lost” anything, nor is there any trauma in relation to their adoptions.


  7. Lynne Miller

    January 5, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    It’s wrong for anyone inside or outside the adoptee’s world to make sweeping statements about the experience of being adopted. Until you walk in my shoes, don’t assume you know what I experienced. Seems we all agree that everyone’s adoption story is unique and (usually) interesting. Regarding CB’s point, I would add that being born into one family and raised by another can lead to feelings of not fitting in….in both families. Not all adoptees feel like outsiders in their families of course, but many of us do.


    • beth62

      January 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      That’s one thing I have experienced, and have realized, 15 years after being a welcomed family member of my biological families and 54 years after being a welcomed family member of my Adopted family. I am not a 100% member of either – like others that were not adopted are.

      While I do not feel like an outsider, I do not feel completely like an insider.

      Because I am not.

      My many younger siblings, which includes my Adopted parents children of birth that they raised, and my biological parents children of birth that they raised, have not experienced this “not completely an insider feeling” that I and my children have experienced.
      My siblings do acknowledge this as a real thing for me, and feel the same about the subject as I do – because it’s reality, the truth, a fact.

      And that’s okay. It only makes good sense, to deny it would be silly, or dreaming or simply just wanting it to be different, wanting to make it be the same – when it simply is just different.


      • Lynne Miller

        January 11, 2016 at 7:08 pm

        Growing up with my adoptive parents, I would have liked to have felt like I belonged but I always felt like a square peg in a round hole. Now I feel comfortable as an outsider. It’s what I know and it feels ok.


        • beth62

          January 11, 2016 at 11:01 pm

          Once I figured out a square peg does not fit in a round hole, and it’s not supposed to, doesnt have to – I’ve been much more comfortable with my outsiderness!

          And when I found out my square peg didn’t fit so well in the square hole either, understandably, and doesn’t have too either – I really became comfortable with myself, where ever I am.


  8. beth62

    January 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    A couple of things I, as one Adoptee, would like to put out there…

    Adoptees grow into adults. (Hopefully) Many of us are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80+ years old. Some may even be enjoying their retirement, their marriage, maybe even their divorce.

    Many Adoptees have children of their own, many have grandchildren, even greatgrandchildren. They too may live with Adoption in their lives, sometimes as a benefit, sometimes as a hinderence, sometimes both.

    Many Adoptees have jobs, diplomas, careers, are business owners, members of the military, own cars, boats, homes, drive and may even vote. Not to mention all of the other things people typically have and do. Including genetic and non-genetic medical issues. Adoptees evolve as they age just like people that are not Adopted do.

    Many Adoptees, most likely the majority, are denied the information listed on their original Records of Birth.

    Foster kids are not Adoptees.

    Guardianship is not Adoption.

    Being raised by grandparents, step-parent or other family members is not Adoption – unless a legal Adoption has occured.

    Raising an Adopted person, a biologically related person, a non-adopted non-related person can be the same or similar in many ways. It’s also very different in many ways – it’s important to know and accept that fact.

    Adoption is not the same. It’s “as-if” the same – which means different than the same, not the same, but legally and possibly socially “as if” the same.

    Adoption doesn’t happen instantly, in a few days, weeks or even months – no matter with who or where someone may live.

    Adoption happens in Court, with a Judge and official documents.

    Adoption is not to be taken lightly. It’s not a children’s fairy tale – it serious life changing business for all involved.


    • TAO

      January 7, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Spot on Beth…the age thing is something I think folks forget. I think it hurts trying to change legislation, especially when they say adopted children – yeah, especially the 80 year olds…but the public thinks child…and the rabbit hole has been dived into on both sides of the coin.

      Happy New Years…


  9. pj

    January 8, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    We all evolve as we age and as does our adoption journey…it just never ends.


  10. Beth62

    January 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    11 times so far this year IRL I have heard people use the term “adopted kids” when talking about adults who are Adopted and/or Adopted people in general.

    I’ve heard two people claim the minor niece and the cousin that are staying with them indefinately as Adopted – when they are not Adopted and there is no plan in the future for them ever to be Adopted.

    I called everyone on it, every time.
    They did not like that at all. Some attempted to argue it………lol………with me……
    Some were offended that I corrected them.
    Including my own father with his fragile know it all I’m never wrong ego.
    I highly doubt that he will mistakenly refer to me and those like me as “kids” again 🙂

    I’ve decided to try to always capitalize the word Adoption from now on.
    My, our, kind of Adoption calls for that I believe.
    It’s not just a word, it’s a Legal Thing.
    It’s different than adopting an attitude, a new way of doing something, a plan, a highway…

    I’m an adoptee who was and is adopted.
    I’m an Adoptee who was and is Adopted.


  11. HerdingChickens

    January 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    #6 adoptees are more than just “adoptees.” They are people first and this is just one piece, one aspect, of who they are.
    I love this blog. Can’t wait for more!



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