Endless cycle of non-adopted knowing all.

24 Sep

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen these types of comments shown below in italics that are made in response to someone talking about the hard parts of being adopted, and that, the feelings are not necessarily once and done. I thought we’d been there, done that, and had entered the new age of not using a single adoptee as the voice of all adoptees and all things being adopted. Instead, it’s me choosing to avoid people who speak to what they don’t know, haven’t experienced.

“Adoptees don’t suffer lifelong trauma being adopted.”

Some do, some don’t, some revisit the trauma throughout their lifetime when an event triggers further reflecting and carry-on in between. Some never felt different, until they did. What I do know is that we aren’t a monolith, some will say the above quote is correct, others would disagree, still others would find the middle ground. And many of them will note how they felt at a particular stage of life and that they now find themselves standing in a new understanding of this adopted life.

And all of them are correct.

I can say that for me, feelings about being adopted have been processed over and over. My lived experiences triggered diving deeper each time; when I a gave birth and met the first person I was related to, when my son passed away, to each parent passing on, to all sorts of processing when I found out my mother had already passed on, then when my father passed to a certain extent.

We process being adopted in our own way, everyday lived events can trigger them, being let go at your job, breakups in your personal life, not getting the promotion, the loss of a parent – regardless of which parent (adopted or first). It’s amazing how something not related to being adopted can still trigger adoption processing, but it can if it centers around loss. As a child I remember sitting on the floor in the shower crying my eyes out, it was my go to place where I was able to just let it all out and no one knew about it. As an adult, the phrase everyone leaves, not if, but when echoes through my mind when I get triggered by something in my life.

If you don’t think being adopted can be hard at times, you’re fooling yourself.

Fast forward to now that I’m old, most of those feelings have found a place to live inside, but the ramifications of being adopted haven’t fully abated, I can still get upset by some aspects of my story. My self-confidence still isn’t what it should be, and it stems from feeling like I was not being good enough to be kept, that little devil sitting on my shoulder waiting to pounce and remind me. And yes, I know my mother really had no choice, that I didn’t do anything to cause it, but that doesn’t matter, logic loses out to a feeling you can’t remember not having.

“Some adopted children are deeply grateful and love their adoptive parents and say they are their true parents because they did the work.”


If you aren’t adopted, nix the word grateful from your lexicon when it has anything to do with adoption and adoptees, (I despise that word and that is still thrown at adoptees all the time). But seriously, if you are good folks and do parenting well, even if you didn’t have much in common personality or interest wise, isn’t it common sense that you’d have a decent relationship with your children? Honestly, this statement is infantilizing, and based on the wording, it is asked to adult adoptees, not adopted children because you’d likely just ask them if they loved their mommy and daddy. And yes, adult adoptees have been asked if they have a good relationship, love, etc., about their relationship with their parents, and are still asked that by random adoptive parents. If you ever see that happen, turn it around on the asker and ask them the same question they just asked a grown-ass adoptee. It usually shuts them down.

Feelings ebb and flow throughout life, something that changed the course of our life will be revisited when triggered by a comment, an event happens, just like it will for the non-adopted.


Posted by on September 24, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Endless cycle of non-adopted knowing all.

  1. Franceen George

    September 24, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    I love your blog! It is here, in this blog, that I found the Senate Kefauver Hearings from 1955, that my father testified in under an assumed name, and the information in there led me to the final stages of my search for my biological family! In last week’s blog you mentioned the book “On Being Adopted…..” and I bought that book and am reading it now. Very very informative and soothing for me to read.

    This is an important comment/post for me because I just turned 70 this month and next month I am traveling to Montreal to meet my biological family for the first time in my life. This is going to be interesting, how I handle it emotionally. My husband is unable to come so I will be doing this alone (which scares me). I am in agreement with you that the “trauma” (or whatever term for emotional issues one might choose) comes and goes throughout ones life, driven by events of many kinds. I lost both of my only blood relatives that I knew of (two daughters) in separate car accidents so I understand the trauma that is above and beyond the normal grief of once again having no blood relatives in my life.

    Whenever I would go to the Dr’s and got asked all those family medical history questions, and would cross out the section and write a big “UNKNOWN – ADOPTED” it brought up emotions of “why can’t I know this?” I always brushed it off with, “maybe I don’t want to know anyway.” And oh, I still have no family history, but am surely going to ask next month!

    I went through a good portion of my “middle life” – 30’s & 40s – with comparatively little adoption-driven effect that I acknowledged as being related to adoption. But then I started searching in earnest when my father died at age 98 in 2010, my mother having been long gone, and my husband (my rock and my pillar of resolve) died. I was left with no immediate family, no family nearby, and a lot of available time. The emotional ups and downs then began.

    My story of how I was adopted, how I was never told and accidentally found out, and that Kefauver hearing transcript, really got the emotions fired up and I resolved to make my search my #1 life priority. I remarried, retired, and got serious with my search, did DNA at multiple companies, hired geneticists and genealogists, private detectives and attended RootsTech Convention. It worked, and yes, it was a roller coaster ride emotionally. I found all my original family, both sides and many many of them, in January 2020, right before the pandemic shut us all down. They are all in Quebec, so no travel was possible and the language barrier prevented talking on the phone, UNTIL NOW!!!!

    Then my newly found half-sister died in an accident in Feb 2020 – more trauma and emotion, never got to meet her. I also have a half-brother, nephews, first cousins, friends of the family, even some uncles and aunts. Many of us are getting on in the years and so I worry constantly (more emotion).

    I have talked to other Black Market International Adoptees, and I really can’t say that I’ve ever heard one say “oh, being adopted never bothered me”, or “trauma, what’s that? No, never”………. I think everyone who is adopted, no matter when or how they found out, no matter how wonderful their adoptive parents and family are/were, no matter what kind or how old a person they are, no matter their genetics, no matter what race, creed, religion, nationality, or how much education they have, all have had some form of “trauma” (strong word) or emotional feelings (less strong) concerning their adoption. Some are more open about it, some may not even realize what might have been caused by adoption and its circumstances.

    I know when I found out at age 15 it was very traumatic and my reaction/actions at that time were very severe – at age 15 EVERYTHING is traumatic, LOL! But that “age of adoption trauma” lasted forever in my teenage view, but in the end it was only a tiny spec in life. By age 23 I was fully “over it”, living a normal life, much like any well-adjusted un-adopted person. (There were, of course, hidden adoption related issues, which were never acknowledged until many years later – like 40 yrs later! – Hint: Separation Anxiety).

    SO, with regard to what people say to you about your adoption, I try to ignore them and know that there isn’t much I can do to change their view. My current father-in-law has repeatedly said “You had a good life with your adopted family, why do you care who your biological family is?” WOW, I was stupefied when he said that! My only reaction was unexpressed to his face, “You have no way of knowing what it is like to be adopted, so don’t presume to know what I should or shouldn’t feel or do!” ……….I expressed that to my husband who probably told him my reaction. He believes what he believes and there is no way he can walk in my shoes, so it’s a moot discussion!

    Thanks for your blog! One day I will write the book that everyone tells me I should write. Hope you’ll mention it here – if ever it happens.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TAO

      September 24, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      So happy to hear from you Franceen, excited for your trip to Montreal, was there as a child but haven’t gone back since. Do pop in and tell us how it went.

      When you are there, remember to breathe, to be kind to yourself and do whatever works for you to stay grounded. Good luck – you are getting something you always wanted. Let us know when you are back.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Franceen George

    September 24, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    I will surely do that! Thanks for your support and encouragement!


    • TAO

      September 24, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      Safe trip


  3. Dannie

    September 25, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Yeah my 12 yo is definitely not feeling grateful for anything at the moment 😛 so I’ll settle for a good relationship when she’s past the adolescent slump. As a parent I wish for no aftershocks of trauma but as an adult now, I know that some things can’t be shielded from our loved ones no matter what, so best to support in their lifelong search for their whole self.


    • TAO

      September 25, 2021 at 2:53 am

      The age I remember well, hope it’s easier for her than it was for me. Just remember to breathe.


  4. Jill Daviau

    September 25, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    I hate when I speak up for myself and say, “Actually, as an adoptee and I do feel I have lifelong trauma,” the response is usually, “Sorry you’re so miserable and bitter.” I’m not “miserable and bitter.” I wish society could acknowledge the trauma adoptees may experience without thinking that we’re “miserable and bitter.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      September 25, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      I know Jill, drives me batty – I do think the many adoptee voices are creating a better future for those coming behind us. But it’s a never-ending grind to change even one mind.


  5. Mj

    September 28, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    I know it to be true that adoptees are “thrown” the word, grateful still to this day. They are obligated by their adoptive parents to feel grateful that they were adopted as though their very worth was dependent on that attitude – Not all AP’s are this senseless – there are many I’ve come into contact with who understand how damaging that can be to their adopted child(ren). Sadly, those AP’s who are not trauma-informed cause further trauma by using such language. I can speak to my personal experience of an adoptee – I have sought support for trauma caused by my adoption on and off because, as you mention, things come up at different times in our lives. We become more aware or sense into things more deeply at different times in our lives. And that’s okay – adoption is a developmental process. I truly wish that more AP’s would seek training and education in trauma and attachment as well as adoptees so they can more fully understand how trauma affects the brain and body.

    Liked by 1 person

    • legitimatebastard

      September 29, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      I love your last statements: “… adoption is a developmental process. I truly wish that more AP’s would seek training and education in trauma and attachment as well as adoptees so they can more fully understand how trauma affects the brain and body.”

      This should be mandatory at evey adoption agency. Every adoption attorney. Every delivery doctor an nurse.

      Wishful thinking…

      Liked by 1 person


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