Forever Family: adoptees’ voices

I’ve tried to approach Forever Family posts from different viewpoints, to make them a diverse look at adoption issues overall.  But in the end they’ve naturally been written from an adoptive parent’s perspective (aka mine).  Even my posts discussing things the kids struggle with are still second hand – my interpretation of their experience. 

I thought I might look for some firsthand resources to explore today.

Searching for these is a double edged sword.  I want to understand how things look through an adoptee’s eyes, especially those in their teens and into adulthood.  What better way to learn what might lie ahead than from someone who was adopted themselves?

But there are some harsh things out there.  People who are not happy about being adoptees.  More than not happy – they feel angry, frustrated, betrayed, wounded.  Their furious sorrow is poignant, cutting like a knife through an adoptive mom’s heart, and the thought that T-man or Bear might ever feel their family was stolen from them pains me to my core.

Here are some pieces I wanted to share with you.

10 Things Adoptees Want You To Know – Lesli Johnson

The author of this Huffington Post article was adopted as an infant during a time when birthmothers were sent away to have their babies in secret.  Lesli is now a therapist who works extensively with the adoption community in an effort to improve the adoption experience for all sides of the triad.

One particularly interesting point Lesli makes is that adoptees are in reunion whether they’re formally searching for their birthparents or not.  That adoptees often “walk through the world looking for their lost ‘twin’ or someone they resemble” to fill out that imagined life where they weren’t adopted.

Please don’t tell me I was lucky to be adopted – Shaaren Pine

Written by an adoptive mom who was an adoptee herself, this article in The Washington Post is a moving testimony to the generational difference in how discussing adoption is approached and the repercussions of denying its long-lasting effects on children.  Shaaren explores the statistics for suicide attempts, counseling needs, and substance abuse among adoptees, demonstrating that refusing to acknowledge the pain in adoption can have disastrous repercussions.

Shaaren notes, “I was trying to understand…why people felt that being upset or angry is an irrational response to living, forever, with no answers.  Can you imagine being the only person in the world you know you’re related to?”  Indeed.

My Own Acre – Baby Girl B.

This is a blog written by a woman who was placed for adoption in 1969 and is now in reunion with her mother.  Some of her posts are raw.  Achingly painful and extraordinarily difficult to read.  But this post in particular really resonated with me – I believe I may, for the first time, truly understand a bit of how it feels to be dropped into what feels like someone else’s life.

To Adoptive Parents: From Adult Adoptees – Adoptee in Recovery

Pamela’s blog, for lack of a better description, is about all things adoption.  She learned she was adopted at five years old and details her journey both as an adoptee and through her search for her biological family.  The blog includes links to a Facebook page where you can ask an adoptee questions, responses to questions like Adoptees, Why Are You So Angry? and Why Adoptees Search, as well as other adoption resources.

The link above is to a post detailing responses to an adoptive parent’s 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?”


Happy Friday, everyone!

8 thoughts on “Forever Family: adoptees’ voices

  1. There is a child nearby who lives with a foster family. Ever since meeting them I’ve been playing the “What if” game in my head…. Thanks for sharing these thoughts from Adoptees. While we are not them and don’t know the feelings personally, it does give us a better understanding of how they feel and what they think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true, we never *really* know another person’s story, but these each gave me a different perspective on an adoptee. The more pieces I gather, the more I understand. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so difficult to read these raw stories, but I do try in an effort to understand what I can do differently as an adoptive parent. But, since I can’t undo what happened, I realize that wiping away the hurt is not something that I can do. Listening seems to be the only thing I can so sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Some days it feels impossible to read one more word about the pain inherent in adoption, but the other option is hiding our heads in the sand. Being open and willing to listen is a wonderful gift for your kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are very useful in making me feel less crazy. I stopped trying to explain to my adopted family why it was necessary to find my biological family. Many of them took everything so personally that one day I just decided not to mention it anymore. These stories very accurately describe all of my feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you found comfort in these. It’s good that there are safe places for adoptees to go — places where no one will judge them for their feelings or actions. I’m sorry your adoptive family didn’t support your search; it’s hard to feel like you have to shut off an entire side of yourself with those who are supposed to be closest to you. Thank you for sharing, KE.

      Liked by 1 person

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