Psychological Issues Faced By Adopted Children And Adults

Recently, one of our readers asked if we would write an article about the difficulties faced by children and adults who were adopted. This is submitted in answer to that request.

Case samples:

All names and places are fictionalized:

A. A woman discovers that her birth mother is alive even though her adoptive parents told her she was dead. In point of fact, her adoptive mother had tried to contact her and the adoptive family from the time she was five years old and onward.

B. A young woman from a war torn Asian nation was adopted by a white American family. She will not search for her parents and family because she is convinced they are dead and she does not wish to "betray" her American parents. She comes to therapy because she has difficulty maintaining intimate relationships and feels quite depressed.

C. An adopted girl is convinced that her parents are her natural parents. However, they are unable to explain to her why she is in their wedding photographs when they had told her she was born a year after they married.

D. A male baby is adopted by a Jewish family and is raised in the Jewish religion. There are no records anywhere of his birth parents and he knows nothing of his genetic origins.

These are just a few of the types of situations that adopted children find themselves confronted with either during childhood or after they enter adulthood.

Other Sources of Information:

Even though a lot more is known today about the importance of the adoptee learning about their natural parents amd their genetic histories, many individual and family issues involving the people who do the adopting, interfere with good child development and adult adjustment.

There are many autobiographical books available, written by those who were adopted and writing about their experiences that provide lots of information about the issues experienced by these people. In addition, a Google search of the internet will yield lots of research studies done on this very issue.

Issues faced by adopted persons:

1. It is very common for those who were adopted to feel rejected and abandoned by their birth parents. This is accompanied by feelings of grief and loss. There is no set time or age when these feeling surface but, sooner or later, they do.

2. Feelings of loss and rejection are often accompanied by a damaged sense of self esteem. There is an understandable tendency to think that "something must be wrong with me for my birth parents to have give me away." It must be understood that these feelings and thoughts are unrelated to the amount of love and support received from the adoptive parents and family.

3. Guilt accompanies loss and grief because the adopted individual believes that they are being disloyal to the people who adopted, loved and raised them. They do not want to hurt or betray their adoptive mother or father. Feelings of guilt and fears of being disloyal were what prevented the girl in case "C" from asking the obvious question, "why am I in your wedding pictures if I was not born yet?"

4. In cases B and D there is a disconnect with the original heritage of the birth parents. For the Asian young woman, raised in a large family with many siblings, the obvious racial differences did come to "haunt her" later on. While she wished to visit the Asian nation of her birth, she was so totally identified with being American, and even "while" that she feared stirring up her past. She, too, did not want to cause any hurt to her adoptive parents. However, it must be said for them, that they encouraged and offered to help her in her search. Despite this encouragement, she was not ready to do any search. Long discussions in therapy never revealed what she feared.

5. According to the great psychologist, Eric Erikson, adolescence involves a search for self identity. While this search is difficult for most teenagers, it presents special problems for adoptee. Assuming they never met their natural parents and family and have no idea of their genetic background, they are left with a gigantic gap in their search to answer the age old question, "Who am I." Of course, the more information available to young people, the less of a gap there is in the information they need to formulate a real sense of themselves. In all of the cases above, a huge gap existed in this information. Except for the Asian young woman, all were denied any information, mostly because the adoptive families, either wittingly or unwittingly, did not provide necessary facts.

6. Missing genetic information is important for obvious medical reasons. It is important for everyone to have knowledge of the medical history because it can provide clues to genetic diseases. For example, in case D, the patient entered psychotherapy unaware that he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His family was unaware of this as well. If more had been known about the birth parents, it might have been possible to predict his childhood problems at home and at school. It was only after entering psychotherapy that he was evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD and appropriately treated for this. The information was relieving to both him and his adoptive parents because everyone now knew that he was never "bad" or "dumb" but afflicted with this disorder of the brain.

7. Many adults who were adopted struggle with fears that they will be disloyal to their adoptive parents if they search for their natural parents. In my experience, the only real exception to this is when adoptive parents make the very deliberate and conscious effort to inform and encourage their child to do a search and to let them know how important that is. Unfortunately, as illustrated in cases A and C, there are people who discourage such a search and even lie to their adopted child about their origins. In the end, lies and distortions never succeed and often result in feelings of anger at the adoptive parent, sometimes causing a breach in the relationship.

Why do a few adoptive parents hide the truth?

There are cases where the adopting family lives in a state of fear that, somehow and someday, they will lose their child. This fear of loss, often irrational, is a powerful motivation to keep the adopted child as close as possible.

The truth is that, adopted children who search for their natural parents, have no reason for shifting their loyalties and feelings. They set out on the search because their is a deep-seated need for most of us to know as much as possible about our history, both racial, cultural, personal and genetic.

Adoption Today:

Much has been learned by past adoption experiences that now make some of helps ease the way for families and adoptee:

1. Triad adoption: In this situation, the birth mother and adoptive parents legally agree to have the birth mother involved in the development of the child. This may take the form of monthly visits all the way to weekly and even daily visits, according to what feels acceptable to all parties.

2. People adopting children from other cultures or racial groups agree to raise the child with knowledge and experience in the background of the adopted child. I know of cases where adoptive parents see to it that their child is raised knowing and practicing both the language, customs and religious rituals of their birth parent.

3. Enlightened adoption agencies now keep all records on file of the children put up for adoption and make those records readily available when and if the adopted person wants to learn of their background. They will even arrange meetings with the birth parents.

Today, adoption is common place and no longer carries with it the dark features of shame that colored it dating back to the 19th century and earlier. This is a positive change in making it possible for everyone to feel more open and assured about the adoption process.

Were you adopted and are you struggling with some or all of these issues? Here are some suggestions that might help:

1. There are many support groups for those who were adopted and need help in coping with their feelings, fears and frustrations. An Internet search can lead you to these types of groups.

2. Psychotherapy is extremely helpful in reducing guilt, anxiety, depression and fear about being adopted. It can also remove some of the internal stumbling blocks to doing a search, if you wish.

3. Read as much as possible about adopted children, families and their experiences.

It does take a certain amount of courage but, go on that search and see what you can learn. Be open about it with your family of adoption. You are not being disloyal or unappreciative by doing that search.

Your comments and suggestions are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Comments
  • Nancy

    being an adult woman adopted at 6 weeks old and never knowing my birthparents being told as early as 4 or 5 I was adopted, I never allowed myself to connect to anyone or anything. I have always had feelings of adandonment and low self-esteem as a result.

    It is something that is with you everyday. always wondering who you are and where you came from.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Nancy, have you thought about doing a search for your birth parents?

    Dr. Schwartz

  • nancy

    yes, I think about it all the time. I think my illness prevents me from following though. I think what a failure my life is and think what is the point. before you talk to me about thinking negatively, I must point out that my life IS screwed up.

    nancy

  • Maureen

    I am a 53 year old woman who found out accidentally when I was 14 years old that I had been adopted aged 6 weeks. I felt like my world had collapsed, I adored my adopted parents and they adored me too.

    I had always been an over-emotional child, very clingy and always full of fear that something disasterous would happen to my parents and I would be left alone in the world, even though I had older siblings who would look after me.

    When the truth about my adoption came out, I was fortunate enough to have answers to some of my questions..i.e. who my biological parents were. It turned out my bio mother was my adopted fathers cousin, however I never learned who my biological father was. With the blessings of my parents I met my biological mother when I was 21 years old, I wanted to know who I was, who I looked like. My bio mother was not very forthcoming with answers to my questions re my biological father. I do have some details regarding him on my birth records (which I obtained through social services)

    My wonderful adoptive parents (I hate using that word) are now both deceased. I am very happily married or should be,( that's the problem I am never happy I just have this feeling of apartness) we have two beautiful grown up daughters and we are blessed with three precious grandaughters but I still don't feel part of anything either inside my family circle or outside.

    I often wonder if there are any mental health issues on my bio fathers side as since my teens I have suffered with anxiety & depression I have also been fighting anorexia since the age of 17.

    I am so glad to have found this site. I know there are no answers to my questions but just voicing them has really helped.

    I know I must sound like a spoilt self-centred brat and I do question if that is the problem or could it be something seperate, something connected to my being given up for adoption that causes me to feel cold.

    thank you for reading

  • JP

    Maureen,

    You say, " know there are no answers to my questions but just voicing them has really helped.

    I know I must sound like a spoilt self-centred brat and I do question if that is the problem or could it be something seperate, something connected to my being given up for adoption that causes me to feel cold."

    First, it is my firm belief that there are always answers to questions. Second, ease up on yourself. You don't even remotely sound like a "spoiled, self-centered brat".

    There are so many things about adoption in general and then there are so many things specific to each adoptive situation. It makes perfect sense to me that after an abrupt disconnection from your only source of anything and everything after living in your natural mother's womb - entirely dependent on her for your life, itself, things could easily lead to a general feeling of separateness or disconnection. Whatever physical, emotional, genetic, and mental characteristics your natural mother possesses, and experienced throughout her pregnancy with you, that was what became your entire world and all you knew. It was you. Then, BAM - it is gone - the only connection that entirely enveloped you and defined you. This is not something that can be successfully swept under the carpet and be held in a place in your past that denies it's profound impact.

    My best friend is adopted. He is 56 now. He was raised in an orphanage in italy until he was 6 1/2 years old, at which point he was adopted by an american family and raised in Massachusetts. When he was 41 years old, with my encouragement, he flew to italy to find his natural mother. Within 24 hours of landing on italian soil, he found his mother and discovered he had two sisters, and one brother. They were all placed in orphanages. He spent some time there and created some family gatherings. He never learned who his father was, either. He too had experienced a general sense of disconnection throughout his entire life. When he met his mother, he remembered her as being a woman who used to come to the orphanage on sundays to visit with him, never telling him she was his mother. When he was telling me this story of recognizing her from his early days at the orphanage, he cried. I had known him for many years at this point, yet this was the very first time he had cried since he was 6 1/2 years. That is a long time to remain tearless. Anyway, although he still had some work ahead of him in terms of staying connected to his "new" siblings, natural mother and then properly handling his adopted mother's fierce resentments for having sought out his natural mother, he came to be much more at peace and much more connected to himself and those around him. The change in him was quite beautiful, profound, and impressive. I am leaving out so many details of this story because it would require a short novel to accurately report the details. However, my overall point is that there are absolutely specific answers to your specific questions and opportunities for you to create a deep connection to others, which in truth, begins with a deep connection to yourself. It would make sense that after being so abruptly disconnected from the only connection you had, which was enormously profound, you would hesitate to place yourself in a position that would risk a separation equivalent from the monumental one you painfully experienced when you first entered this world. Giving yourself some in depth and much deserved compassion, love and understanding is much more likely to guide you toward a resolution than deeming yourself as being unreasonable, spoiled, or mentally ill. While others may not understand the depths of your disconnection, offer the understanding to yourself and see where it takes you.

    Peace,

    JP

  • Suzanne

    I was also adopted at an early age I was taken right out of the hospital by my adopted parents. My mother told me when I was 5 that I was adopted. She told me because I was asking where I can from etc. I was confused, didn't understand, and then growing up always had emotional issues, still do, I have always felt like I don't fit in with anyone either side of the family. I was treated differently by my dads side of the family and not in a good way. My moms side accepted me.

    I get depressed, my mom about 4 years ago gave me some information on my birth mother. I had the information for a year or so and my ex husband got his hands on it and burned it. I feel forever lost, forgotten, rejected, dejected, hideous, and most days unstable!

    I hate this feeling have been through too many counselors to even imagine. I stopped going because all I did was cry. I was once diagnosed with dysthymia a low grade depression all the time. And I've always had guilt for wanting to know who my birth parents were I never wanted to betray my real parents.

    At this point I no longer care about anything.

    Suzanne

  • Chris

    I was adopted as a baby and now 64 years later, my sister has found me after believing from the age of 5 that I was dead. She and many other people had been told that I had died suddenly, some of whom I met in later life and who confirmed 'my death'. I know now that as a child I was 'dead' inside, had little or no direction, no aspirations, no identity, was crap at school and could not chose a career path. I am now wondering if this death label was intuitively picked up by me as a child and thus I became one of the living dead so to speak. It is possible that this state is known as 'existential depression'. I was certainly depressed as a child and still suffer from mild depression from time to time. Does anyone know better?

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Hi Chris,

    Given your age, I rather suspect that people were not open and honest with you about your adoption when you were a child. If that was the case, you may have had strong suspicions that you were adopted. In addition, a lot would have depended on how you were treated by your adoptive parents. Aside from keeping secrets, if that is what they did, they may not have treated you well. All of this is pure speculation on my part.

    Sad to report, it has been my experience that adopted children often feel depressed. I suppose there is always the possibility of an inherited tendency towards depression. But, I agree with you that they and you may experience an existential type of depression.

    Now that you are united with your sister, I hope things will go better for you. Actually, I would be interested in knowing how things are with the two of you and if you have learned more about your natural parents.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Chris

    Hi, comments appreciated. To answer your questions - in UK, when I was born, death was often used as the mechanism for the 'clean break' adoption. Adoptive parents treated me well but were very protective and did not provide much stimulus. This probably linked to affordability. My sister only found me about 6-8 weeks ago after looking for my death and burial records, which of course were non existent! Certainly get on well over phone and through email/letter contact. She says that she regards me as her full brother regardless of reality. I feel the same way about her being my sister. Will be meeting her February 2010 in Australia. She emigrated there with parents in 1952. It was my resurrection, so to speak, that made me think about my mental state as a child/teenager/young man.

  • Chris

    I am 37 years old and have never maintained an intimate relationship for longer than 2 months. I was adopted at 1 year and 3 months old to a strict but loving family. This is starting to bother me a little bit. I go years sometimes without going on even one date. I have many associates but hardly any friends. My comfort zone is to be very content by myself but I think it's becoming unhealthy for me. I'm starting to worry a little. Can this be a fear of intimacy thing?

  • anita silva

    i need your help to find good adoptive parents for me...

    please...

  • Tara (Not my real name)

    Hi, 6 mos ago, I learned from one of my cousins that I was adopted. Well, if it hadn't been for a family misunderstanding, I wouldn't have known about it.

    Apparently, my grandmother and father who both passed away 8 years ago let every family members swore before them (on their death bed) to never tell me the truth about my past.

    My mom wanted to tell me years back but didn't have the courage to do so. She was afraid i'd be a rebel child and leave her.

    I am glad that she didn't tell me about the adoption earlier because God knows what i would've done back then.

    I never felt that i was adopted but I always knew something was up. How people would often say, "You don't look like your mother or your father." But i do look like my grandmother, so I would just tell them that I go after my grandmother. Everyone in the family knew about me, being adopted, but the younger members were kept in the dark of the situation.

    I found out about it when I was 24 years old. It gets depressing at times. I never told anyone about it except for 5 people.

    I was told that my real mother had a relationship with a man who's married... That's all i know. I have a lot of questions in my mind but at the same time, I don't want to find out the answers because I don't know how I will be able to take it.

    The morning after I learned about it, I would look at the mirror and cry my heart out because I felt I was a nobody. I'd cry in the shower.

    But as weeks and months passed, everything went back to normal. I dont want depression to eat my soul out. But I can't fight depression at times, especially when I am alone in my room.

    I just tell myself how lucky and blessed I am. And i would't ask for anything else... except maybe... at times I would like to know...but then again, I don't want to know... :(

    I'm scared to know who my real parents are...

  • Brandi

    i was adopted when i was 8. my life was one of fear and sadness. my husband found my birthfamily about 3 years ago. the funny thing is i thought i would feel better about my life after i learned about thers. but let me tell you i feel even more depressed. i now feel like an outsider trying to belong. they are nice people and we do get along but.....

  • Maddy

    My story resembles a number of stories retold by previous people who have commented.

    I was given up to my parents by my natural parents at 6 weeks. My parents are wonderful - full of love and I am now 39 about to have my own baby (due in a few weeks).

    During my childhood some rather hard-hearted individuals would come up to me and tell me that my mum is not my "real mum" I would go crying to my mum and she'd tell me to ignore them. Then when I was 19 and about to leave home for university (many miles away from home) my uncle told me that I had nothing to worry about as I was going to the same city as my "mum and dad". I had suspected that my uncle and aunt (mum's youngest brother and his wife) could have been my natural parents and this was confirmed.

    I met my uncle and aunt and all hell broke loose, literally. They have 2 elder daughters and 2 younger ones and my uncle and aunt had a huge guilt complex. I could never look upon them as anything other than an uncle and aunt but they wanted more but in a peculiar way. Their behaviour towards me was that they owed me something and I owed them something - neither of which was true. I am an extremely independent person and this pressure was something I rejected totally. 20 years have passed by and we all meet at family occasions but my uncle and aunt's guilt has no bounds and they try to insult my parents as often as they can.

    Last year I was pregnant and didn't want to tell anyone outside of our immediate family circle but my uncle and aunt got wind of this and they tore through the family like a tornado - demanding that they should have been told being my parents. Unfortunately, my poor little one didn't make it and at that juncture, my uncle and aunt didn't even call to offer their support.

    So to all those who are looking for their natural parents, please bear in mind that you may open a Pandora's box that has no lid.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Hi Maddy,

    Wow, yours is quite a story. Through no fault of your own, the pandoras box was created by your entire family's insistance on secrecy. It would have been healthier for everyone to be open and honest with you when you were young so that you could begin to understand. If I have the correct impression, today, no one has actually told you directly that your Uncle and Aunt are your biological parents?

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Anonymous-1

    I have a adopted son who is now 12 years old. He was handed over to us when he was just 2 months old. Our friends,well wishers guided us about informing the child about his adoption. And I started telling him the first time he asked me " Did i come from your stomach?". As years passed, he will ask me the same question and I will always respond No you didnt, but you came from my heart. Today, my son and I had a long chat. He is 12 and he is discussing with me about his interest in girls and then suddenly he popped the question, MOM, am i adopted ?. I said yes. And he says, i wish you told me this earlier.. somehow i hate that word. He had tears in his eyes and he wanted to know about his birth mother. I had no information to give him. And I worry about him so much. Today, in his eyes, i saw a deep sadness that comes with knowing a fact. How I wish i could prevent that ? Please help me help my son..help me - with the right words to say that he is no less and that he is complete ..In pain, a mother.

  • Cort

    I was adopted at birth. My birth mom couldn't afford to raise me. She already had one son and one daughter. I guess, technically, I was an accident. I am the product of a one night stand. I am very passionate about life. I see depth. The happiness and the sadness. My adoptive parents (just call them mom and dad) always told me I was adopted and I somehow just grew into it and knew it my whole life. I never thought of how it would be for an adopted child like myself to not be told until later on in life. I'm 18 and I am a senior in high school. I have a Senior Project to do for graduation and I chose the topic of the Psychological Growth of Adopted Children and Adults. Through this project I've come to terms with the weight of being adopted.. Some are lucky, like me. Others aren't so lucky, those who have parents who hide the truth. Why they lie? Who really knows.. I'm meeting my birth sister in August. I'm so nervous... My birth mom should be there if she can afford to fly down... I have no idea how it will turn out.. I still feel young and sometimes vulnerable. But I feel that if I meet her.. Maybe something will come out of it. I have an amazing life with my parents now. They've given me everything from nice clothes to a nice new mustang to private education. I love them. And they respect my feelings in meeting my birth family. I really can't wait. I'm going to go alone. The drive there is roughly 4 hours I think. Gives myself personal time to think before I get there. It brings tears to my eyes, I get so excited. It's funny too, how I'll actually be meeting them when I'm 18.. what are the odds? I pray it all makes sense in the end.

  • Kara

    I'm 39. I was adopted at about 6 weeks old. My adoptive parents always told me and my brother that we were adopted. (He is not my blood). And I was always fine with the explaination that my birth mother was probably too young or not ready etc. So no ill feelings there. But from an early age, I felt like an outsider to the world. I would say it worsened after highschool. But from as long as I can recall, my main issue was(still is) being a "tom boy". By about 5th grade or so, my parents knew, putting a dress on me was like trying to contain an infuriated bull? haha. I was made fun of in school because of being the tom boy. Yet, I didn't want to "play the part" a girl?? It's so frustrating, because being a straight female, this tom boy thing generally isn't attractive to men.

    So, this has played a major role for me feeling like an outsider. I think I have avoided making friends, so as not to "have" to attend social events that require dressing up. Yet I "know" a lot of people. At first glance, I would say they are friends. But yet, I don't feel they are, as I can't get anyone to do stuff with me. Go to lunch, dinner, movie, shows...just anywhere. Yet they do these things with all their other "friends". Also, everyone I know seems to have a significant other(which makes it all that much harder). And I've never had a real significant other ever in my life. I've always felt so weird about this stuff, as I never knew of anyone with these problems...at least that lasted past the teenage years. People usually "blossom" out of it, ya know?

    Both my adoptive parents are deceased(10 and 25 years ago). And my brother and I never got along very well. So 5 years ago I moved 1/2 way across the USA. It's better in some ways. But I hate all holidays, birthday, weekends, evenings...because of the fact I am alone. I have no one to share these times with. I feel like I've really tried to make friends, but it just hasn't happened. No one seems willing to spend time with me?

    So, until about 2 weeks ago, I never thought to associate these problems with the fact that I was adopted. I never felt any burning desire to find my biological parents. And like I said, I've always been fine with the fact they probably were not ready to have a child. But, at nearly 40 years old, I'm really sick of being an outsider. It really does make life so much more difficult, even down to the little every day things that, for everyone else, they don't even give a thought to.

    One common thing I keep reading, is that many adoptees, after locating/meeting their biological parents, seem to be suddenly released from their lifelong issues. So alas, I have finally found a reason that fuels a desire to find my biological parents. I know not to expect this to happen, if I find mine. But I figure, at least try to find them and see if it helps.

  • jennyfer

    I found out from a spiteful neighbor girl during an argument that I was an adopted child. I was 10 years old. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was angry, hurt and felt abandoned. My adoptive mother took in any waiff and stray as a way to make a living. 52 girls, boys, teens, babies, and adults coming and going through my fifteenth year when she died of cancer. I did not cry or miss her, and it has always bothered me that I was so unemotional. I left home when I was 17 after Dad remarried a woman with several children. I lived in a YWCA hostel until I married at age 20, and moved to the United States.

    I am in my late 60's but it has always bothered me that my birth mother gave me away, but she kept my older sister. She and I are not close.

    I have a hard time maintaining friendships.

  • jennyfer

    My birth mother was a nice little old lady. Her life had been poor, working class. My elder sister was happy to meet me. She had known she had a baby sister, but one day when she got home from school the baby was gone, never to return. I found her when I was 29. We are not alike in looks, she said I had always been the pretty one. She had been raised with grandparents, and aunts and uncles who loved her very much, and she always had new cllothes. Most of my clothes were second hand from Jewish families. The extended family members of my adoptive parents treated me a little differently than the other children. I was told at 17 that I was only adopted because my adopted mother was jealous because her sister had a new baby and she felt left out, so she adopted me. Once when I was talking about my adopted father, my adopted uncle told me I did not have a father. Extended family members can be so insensitive to adopted children. I did not fit in except with my adopted mother's mother and step-father. They treated me like one of the family. Gran gave me buttered bread to eat, and grangdad let me help in the garden once.

  • Kate

    Suzanne, I had a response written up and the site rejected it. Anyway - I don't think you should give up your search, it's clear how important it is to you. My parents told me when I was about 5 as well, but I didn't realize how much my adoption affected me until much later. Adoption is a good thing, but I think that in some cases the adoptive parents weren't given the proper information to help them help their children cope with the loss, confusion and hurt involved. It's perfectly natural to want to know your own story. Searching is part of the healing process, something that can help you feel like you've finally established a complete identity. It's not AT ALL a betrayal to your adoptive parents, and I'm sure your mom will understand if you explain to her how important this is to you. I think you should get the info about your birth mother from her again, and start a search. Don't give up.

  • Ka.p

    My parents told me I was adopted when I was 5. I didn't feel like I could talk to them about it, and had myself convinced it wasn't an issue until very recently, anyway. Even throughout my search for my birth mother and meeting her and some extended family, I STILL somehow didn't consciously acknowledge that my adoption was a source of emotional distress/had a lasting impact my psychology until this past birthday. I'd been in contact with my birth mother for 3 years at that point, and she spaced my birthday and didn't email or anything. I finally acknowledged these impacts when I realized how upset I was and how totally rejected I felt that she had forgotten my birthday. It was strange to realize I had "an issue," but it also shed some light on some of my personal problems - I've always had trouble deciding what to do with my life. I'm currently unemployed and "searching" for something, but I don't know if I'll ever find it. It's a huge source of stress for me - this idea of committing to a career path. I know I can always change jobs/careers, but I still can't bring myself to choose something. I don't want to settle for anything mundane, I feel like I need to make something of myself and do something really important and meaningful with my life, and I just can't. I think I'm worried I won't be good enough or will fail at whatever I try. I was thinking about all this today and it prompted me to email my birth mother and finally ask her about the circumstances of my birth and my birth father. I'm just hoping that the more I piece together, the more things will fall into place in the areas of my life that I suspect are influenced by my having been adopted.

  • Adoptee

    I never had any issues of abandonment, but as I grew older, and realized the sacrifice my birth mother made, I knew that I wanted to thank her and had no expectations outside of that. I am 24, started searching 2 weeks ago, and within a week found my half brother. He informed me that my birth mother passed away in 2000 at the age of 37. I did not know this woman but I feel extreme sadness despite that.

  • Pamela Wages

    Dr. Schwartz, I am seeking the research that was conducted before 1963, when I gave birth to a child I conceived thru rape. I gave my baby the gift of life, with so very much love. But, I was 14 years old and through counselling relinquished her for adoption, because I had no choice. My mother would not let me keep her. She has found me. I am sad because I feel that she harbors so much anger toward me and the son I had much later in life, and kept. She works as a "CASA" volunteer and has taken my son and then his son through the courts where she does her work. I really feel like I am being raped over and over again. I realize that she has deep problems because I gave her up for adoption. I would do anything to heal the hurt and pain that we both feel. I need a "mediator" for helping us to find something of value that we can cherish. I want the destruction to stop. I do not know where to turn. I am 61 yrs old.

  • Sherri Jean

    I always wondered why I feel like two people. My birth was stolen from me and then another identity was given to me. Why can't they just have adoption papers and maybe that would help get rid of some of the shame....

  • Sharon

    I am a 47 year old woman who was adopted at birth. I struggled with many of the issues listed by Dr. Schwartz above and am super happy to report that I have overcome them. I now have a clear sense of my identity and, as a result, a positive and stable sense of self-esteem. It took me decades to do it, but I'm here and I feel LIBERATED!! It IS possible to be free from the shackles of adoption identity and I'd love to talk to anyone who desires to be free of them.

    I'll join the community support forums and look forward to talking to anyone who needs support!

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Hi,

    There are some things about your situation that I am unable to understand. For instance, how can the child you gave up for adoption so many, many years ago be dragging your son through the courts? She has no legal standing and there is no issue, or there should not be an issue.

    Apparently, this person has aroused more than a little guilt in you because you attribute her problems to your giving her up for adoption. That is something you are assuming. In fact, how do you know she has problems and how do you know that she is the person you gave up for adoption when she was a baby?

    In point of fact, if you do not want to see this woman you do not need to. You were 14 years old at the time you gave birth to her. You were the birth mother but not the mother who raised her. It appears that she is being problematic when there is no need for problems. If you do not want her in your life, you do not have to have her.

    If you do want to have her in your life, then it needs to be on a basis of getting to know one another and not based on guilt. However, you first need to establish that she is indeed the person you gave up for adoption decades ago.

    Again, you were only 14 years old at the time of her birth. You were a child yourself. You did not harm her and you do not "owe her" anything. If she was your birth baby and you want to get to know her, then, fine, but not based on guilt or harm.

    Good luck

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Anonymous-2

    I am 39 years old and was adopted when I was 6 months old. I was in foster care until the adoption. Throughout my life I have felt lost and alone. My adoptive mom always said that I was so loving but I am not. I have only imitated what I thought I should be like. I am unemotional and unattached to everyone, but I am able to fake all the emotions to make my family believe I am loving. Being adopted was never an issure until the last year. For the first time I actually grieved for the loss of my real parents and felt great sadness. Adoption is not a happily ever after.....

  • jessie c.

    i've been dating a 31 yearold man who was adopted as an infant. First off he is an amazing person, but has abandonment issues as well as fear of having a long term relationship. He expresses his desire for one and became very clingy and needy very early on. A month after he first started talking marriage he became distant from me and made it seem as though the attn from one woman was not enough for him eventually forcing me to discontinue the relationship. Is there anyone who has experienced something relative? How can I understand how or why a relationship with not even a disagreement got to this point? ... BTW i'm not the first he jumps from relationship to relationship within a matter of day in between. This has been going on his entire dating life.

  • Kerry

    I was adopted as an infant after a string of abusive foster parents, my adoptive family are the most loving, kind, amazing parents I could have ever wished for, I chose quite early on that I could either pity myself for a mum who was unable to care and provide for me, or feel an overwhelming sense of fortune that I was loved enough to be put up for adoption so that I was not blindly raised within a possibly potentially horrible environment.I think that adopted kids are a miracle and were chosen by God and matched to their parents. Think of how many babies are created by accident, parents give birth, and live to resent their kidsbecause their "lives" are cut short, and then think of the couples who cannot concieve but would anything for a chance to hold a beautiful baby in their arms, those are the parents who truly deserve children, and I think instead of feeling sorry for myself, I made the choice when I was 7 to love myself, and to be eternally grateful that my biological mum loved me enough to carry me for 9 months, to be finally torn apart and given to someone else, picture how hard that would have been.If I ever have a glimpse of self pity anywhere in my soul, I remember how incredibly lucky I am, to be hand picked, and perfectly matched to my wonderul parents. Adoption is not the representation of "abandonement"but of extreme kindness,and while some handle adoption differently, I feel that life is too short, we only have a limited time here on earth, and in the end, family is what counts, family is all that counts. Love and family, ultimately is all that matters. Kerry, NZ

  • Michael

    Kerry,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I'm doing a research paper on adoption and it's affect on relationships, or at least my relationships. I've been reading so much about abandonment, loss and depression that I was actually feeling down so it was great to see your perspective. I too feel very luck to have been adopted by loving parents. I noticed you are from New Zealand! I was born in Christchurch, adopted as an infant and raised in the United States. I have dual citizenships. Just wanted to say thanks for the positive message.

    Michael-US-California

  • J.C.

    I am 27 yrs old I was in long term foster care with my adopted sister and I lived with my adoptive mother sense I was 2yrs old. I always had self esteem issues and my adopted mother was verbally abusive because she said she could not hit me. Anyway, She was retired when she became a foster parent now she has Alzheimers and she is in a nursing home. I am upset I had to go through the loosing a parentual figure a second time later on in life! I was really sad and depressed I began drinking and cussing out my ex becuase he wasn't supportive towards me it's like he didn't care and he was tired of hearing me talk about how I felt about the whole situation. I really don't know my real family. All I know is I was the only child out of 5 who was put up for adoption. Now you should understand part of my self esteem issues..The nursing home took my adopted mom's house for payment so I had to drop out of college and I am now forced to work two dead end jobs to support myself. I am all alone, I have no friends, I have no boyfriend, I hate my life, and myself for being adopted!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous-3

    wow its good to finally hear a story similar to mine. i hate it when ppl say "life is what u make it" because our inner beliefs and thoughts about ourselves which were created when young affect us all the time. i also started drinking and screwed up relationships. i lost 2 mums, my real one and then was "moved on" at 12 from my second.

    i totally get what ur feeling and i'm so sorry. i know one thing though "everything passes" and i firmly believe we do have God who loves us and is a father to the fatherless.

  • adopted one

    it's 5 oclock in the morning here - and I can't sleep... another horrible altercation with my adoptive family... I swear they try to create ways to hurt me... even now.

    I was adopted as a baby - now 43 years old - never a moments peace - never a word of love offered to me. I was a replacement for a deceased child.. she was only gone 3 months and my adoptive mother took it upon herself to pick me up. Rules were a lot different then, no questions asked. I'm her therapy dog. Her 4 natural children were plain cruel to me. Can't blame them I suppose... they were only being loyal to their deceased sister. Certainly not my fault though. My parents were equally horrid and desperately poor. They should never just release a child to adoption and never check back... how is a young child supposed to cope?

    I'm glad the rules have changed, because I wouldn't wish my life on anyone. I've been tormented by these people my entire life. Being adopted in the best of circumstances creates issues anyway ... but these people were horrid. No, I was never beaten... but I have never belonged anywhere. I walked alone. Repeatedly reminded that I wasn't "REALLY part of the family - not really..." I wish someone understood my sense of humour... that I looked like someone... or was just like Aunt so and so... I still fantasize about it and I'm an adult!

    I can say that the healing began the day my son was born. He looks like me... laughs like me... has my cowlick... and he's mine forever. No one will ever seperate us... I just wish I had a great family to offer him. Most of my "family" ignores him too.... guess they don't see him as family either.

    to all of you out there who may read this... peace comes in small doses... take comfort where you can. We all feel horrible crippling abandonment... and there was nothing in place for us, so now we have to survive... give yourself a break... it isn't your fault.

    If we had been born to loving parents, we would not have ever known the pain we all feel now. The sad truth is, very few families are perfect... very few parents have perfect love...

    I hope all of you find peace someday... myself included.

    Thanks for having a forum for us... every drop of compassion counts.

  • Pru

    My adoptive parents actually bought me when I was 22 months old. This was in the mid 50's when there weren't many rules and regs. if you wanted to adopt "privately."

    They were abusive, mentally, physically, and my adoptive dad, sexually. Dad felt that molesting me was okay since we were not related by blood. I developed an addiction to alcohol, depression, anxiety. I'm doing okay now that my parents are dead.

  • sarah

    im 22 now. i found out i was adopted when i was 16. no one told me, i found the documents relating to the adoption in my home. i didnt tell anyone except a close friend. i didnt feel anything about it. it didnt upset me, neither did i feel like i had unanswered questions.

    after finding my natural sister last year things sarted to unravel. i have no job. no prospects. i have no real friends anymore as they are all going to university or busy with their jobs. i find social situations hard, tend to avoid them, especially if there is alot of people. i want a job, but i dont feel good enough to work in the environments i want to. i feel sorry for myself alot of the time, and angry about alot of things. i dont feel pain when it comes to other people. my grandmother has cancer and i know shes going to be gone soon but i feel numb. my best friend who has been there for me through thick and thin is leaving in 2 weeks and i feel nothing, and the worst is, i cheated on my partner of 3 years, who is my saviour, but i felt no remorse, even when he found out. i wish i was normal. i dont know who i am or what im doing and i know i have to figure this out but i dont have any idea how.

  • h.l.

    I identify with so many of the posts I felt I had to say something.

    I'm a 46 year old male who was given up for adoption at two years old. I had a sister who had just been born and we were both given up at the same time. My birth parents (who were very young...15-ish) could not afford to feed us. A relative spilled the beans on my adoption when I was eight. I can't remember being particularly traumatized, but I had a lot of questions that I was afraid to ask my adoptive parents for fear of insulting them. They provided a wonderful home for me throughout my life and I have no issues with them.

    My issues didn't really surface until I started having problems with my marriage. I felt numb and isolated. I had made mistakes that had hurt someone else, yet I had no concept of remorse or regret. This started to concern me as I thought I was emotionally insulated from everyone.

    Looking back, I know I've kept family, friends and lovers at arm's length. I've always maintained a safe distance from them. No one gets 100% of me...only what I want to give them. This can create problems with relationships as I was not always honest and the words "I love you" was something I just said because I thought that's what they wanted to hear.

    If anyone out there is experiencing this, or is subjected to someone's behavior like this, I'm beginning to unravel the facts and the abandonment issues I've had from adoption seems to be where it started.

  • Anonymous-4

    Hello,

    I am a 41 y/o married female hoping to adopt. I have been unable to get pregnant. I am a medical professional and wanted to consider the emotional future of my adopted son or daughter before I proceed in trying to adopt. I wanted to get the prespective of an adult whom has been adopted. What I am reading on this forum is alot of heartache from the adopted adults, dispite some of you being raised by loving adoptive parents. My question is what about the adoptive parents' feelings? My parents are both now in their 90's and raised me on " unconditional love" that is what I would give my child. I was raised that you only have "one" mother. What about when an adopted child turns 18 and decides to seek his " birth parents" and potentionally develop a relationship, and call someone else "mom". Talk about abandonment, how is that suppose to make an "adoptive" parent feel?? I can only imagine.. I would be crushed. For anyone on here that was raised by abusive adoptive parents I give you my deepest sympathy, they did not deserve you. But is there anyone on here that is happy they where given the chance at a happy life, and actually feel bonded to thier adoptive parents?? Any comments will be appreciated.

  • Julie

    Hello there,

    I hope my post will help with some of your questions and concerns. I was given up for adoption at the age of 3 along with my brother and sister. We were all seperated and put into foster care. A while after my sister and i were adopted by a family, while my brother was adopted by another. My sister and i went through some trauma in our new home, so we were once again seperated and adopted out again. The parents i have now are awesome. Because of them, i did get a second chance at life and am very thankfull to them. They raised me well, and they tried to be open to me about my birth parents. Of course its going to be hard for any adopted parent to talk about with their new child. When i was 19 i met my birth mom, it was weird, and exciting. I thought my dreams had come true, and they did for the moment. Come to realize, she had not changed. I do not talk to her anymore, but would like to do so if she had her life in order. I do not regret meeting her, because it did make me feel whole. Now im dealing with calling my birth dad or not. My husband told me that i met my birth dad about 10 years ago, but i do not remember that. He thinks that i suffered soo much when i was little that i blocked out meeting him. I really want to call him, but im scared, i dont know what will happen. Scared of what i might remember. But i also feel that if i dont talk to him and give him a chance it will be too late. I dont want that. Over all my life has been great. I have a great family with 3 kids, and plan on adopting inthe future. My parents gave me the world, and i owe them my whole life. Adoption saved me, saved me from hurt, pain, and maybe death. Without adoption and my parents i would not have my beautifull family i have today.

  • Anonymous-4

    Thanks so much for your response. I hope that you are able to keep in touch with your siblings and that they are doing well also. I really want to adopt a child I guess I just don't want to ever go through the pain of losing them back to thier birth parents. Don't get me wrong if the birthparents where good people I would not mind them being in my childs life. It's just when the child hears the word "mom" I want him to immediately think of me. The one that loved and cared for him his entire life. I just want them to always know they where loved. I wish you luck with meeting your father if you decide it is the right thing to do. God Bless and thanks again.

  • Julie

    I recently called my birth dad, and took my kids to meet him. The experience was overwhelming, but also a relief. He did not seem to welcoming of me and my kids. Thats ok by me, at least i made the step to get to know him, and see if i had been missing out on a relationship with him. My family is my life, if he cant accept my kids, then he doesnt need to be in my life. I will not continue to have a relationship with him. If i did, there would be no way that i could call him dad. Hes not my dad, he was a sperm donor. He did not raise me, with good morals, teach me from right and wrong. Hes never been there for me. The way i see it is, my parents now, they have earned the right to be called mom and dad. I have never looked at my parents as adopted parents. When i get curious about my family history, i dont look to my birth parents. I want to know about my real family, the family who raised me. I may not be their blood relation, but to me, I'am! I recetly called my dad, and told him i talked to my birth dad. He was ok by this. I told him, that no matter what, he is the best father i could ever have. Once again, hes the one who raised me, and I could never call someone else dad.

    I think you are doing a great thing, if you decide to adopt. Sure you are going to have concerned feelings. But i think that is ok. Every child needs a home. When the time comes to talk to your child about their birth parents, remember to be open minded. Make sure you are ready for the talk, cause us adoptees, we have alot of questions..lol. You need to consider their feelings as well as yours.

    I do stay in touch with my sister. Only sad part is we never see each other. I think since i was 10 i have seen her maybe 7 times. I think the only true heartache i have ever felt about being adopted is that, i want to have that special relationship with my sister and brother. Theres nothing like growing up, knowing you have siblings and you cant see them. My birth parents took that away from me, and i could never forgive them for that. And come to find out, i have 2 more brothers i never knew about and have never met. I just found this out this year.

    Good luck and God Bless.

  • Anonymous-5

    Im someone looking at this from a different point of view. My husband had a very brief fling when he was in his teens. The result was a daughter who they adopted out at a yr old after the mother couldn't cope. He was very upset at the time and had left letters for her in her adoption file hoping she would find him. This yr she has done just that. She is now in her late 20s. He was obviously thrilled as she is his only child. But it has been a really tough time for us. He has found it hard to cope with, as by his own admittance he has no maternal feelings for her, which he feels guilty about. It has caused alot of upset and arguments in our family (i have children from a previous marriage). Its as if she is his 'new family' has nothing to do with us. We have been pushed out. It has now got to a point where our marriage is in jeopody. The sad thing is that he knows that the best they can ever be is friends as she has had a fantastic life with her adopted parents. So looking for biological parents can do alot of damage if not handled correctly. I would advise any person looking for parents not to go all guns blazing, to think of everyone that could be hurt in both parties involved. Get help with a mediator who knows how to deal with these sentative first months.

  • Barbara

    I was adopted at birth. A-mom divorced A-dad when I was 3. I grew up very very poor. Always had to feel like I had to be the perfect person. Was molested by 1 boyfriend and another person lived in a bad environment. Was allowed to be adopted again by a different father at 14 didn't know I was adopted. Found out when he left my a-mom after 20 years he threaten he was going to tell me so she did. I was 33. However, She didn't really have much information and I can't believe what I was told. She even said my birth mom was ugly. I know this was because she was obsessed by me. I stood by her until she passed away 5 years ago her real son's didn't even come and help when she died. They abandon me too. Now I don't like all these adoption information restrictions. I need to know who gave birth to me wether they want a relationship or not. I can't afford lawyers or the system. The whole situation makes me sick. I know my adopted mom loved me but I feel empty. Don't know were my looks came from. Don't know my name. Can't believe my place or date of birth are true. I have no one but my children now and I was always told I had to be a good mother even before I knew I was adopted. I try to tell my children the truth at all times. My relationship with men has been difficult also. People and their lies and secrets suck.

  • tilly

    I have an older brother who was adopted before I was born. Neither of us know much about it other that our birth mum was very young when she had him and that seems to be the reason he was adopted. His family seem to have provided a nice life for him and at the moment I dont know much more than that. Myself and my other younger siblings were born later (I will call him Jay) and we all stayed with our birth mum. I found growing up a struggle and had a very unstable up bringing. When i was 19 I went to visit my big brother for the first time and we got on really well. However, on returning home he dropped contact with me and I was devistated. 10 yrs on I contacted him again and in the last few months we have seen each other 3 times. Its bought up alot of emotion for me and I wonder for me too? We get on well and i finally feel i belong somewhere. I miss him all the time and wih I lived nearer. He says he feels the same, but sometimes he wont text me or return my calls. He makes up silly excuses and i feel let down and hurt. Im reading up on how it might be feeling because Im struggling to understand and want to help him. I love him and feel sad that I wasnt placed with him and his adoptive family. At least then we would have had each other. I love him so much I hurt and Im cared he will leave me again like he did ten years ago. He said he wont and the only reason he dropped contact last time was because he was young and we both loved each other in a way we probably shouldnt. Its all confusing and Im praying that in time it will all be ok. It feels so complicated and scarey. I just want to be near him. And im desperate for him to love me back.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Hi Tilly,

    Sadly, its impossible to undo the past. In cases like your own, sometimes people are willing to open themselves up and connect. In other case, they are not. For some reason your brother is not. The best I can advise is that you try not to take it personally. This is a problem he is struggling with and has nothing to do with you. I can only speculate that relating to you may be too painful for him because it brings back the past.

    In my opinion, its important to get on with your life, live it fully, have satisfying relationships with friends in the present and enjoy your life. Remember the old saying, " We pick our friends but not our families?"

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Anonymous-6

    You use the term "natural" to describe biologically related families. This is deeply insensitive to those of us who believe there is nothing unnatural about our adopted families. And you work with adoptees?! Really, show some sensitivity!!

  • Allan N. Schwartz

    I am always willing to listen when I make an error and to correct it if there is an error. .

    Yes, the term "biological" makes more sense than natural. That was my error. I would otherwise have thanked you but, given the spirit in which it was pointed out to me, I will not but only tell you to watch your languate.

    I also want to point out that your thinking is in error. My use of the word "natural" in no way implies that parents who adopt are "unnatural." Think before you make loud statements.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • HH

    I haven't read any article or books regarding psycological issues facing adopted children until now. Really appreciate your shared wisdom and so many stories here. Now I finally know that I am not alone (in my entire life I've never met with any other individuals having similar life experience like I do).

    I was adopted several days after birth because my biological family badly needed a boy (probably still the same in rural areas in China) and they'd already had two daughters. Yes, my birth parents never appologized to me for their choice, and blamed their parents and other relatives instead for giving me up for adoption.

    It's a topic my parents never discuss with me in my family, and they're obviously hurt and probably felt betrayed when my biological sister found me twenty years after in my college junior (which is understandable considering my parents had little education in China).

    At age 32, I've experienced similar emotional issues possibly facing many other adoptees. Felt abandoned, alone, frustration, depressed, lack of security. My best friends are friends I know for over ten years or more. I always tend to maintain a safe distance from others to avoid being hurt and make sure mutual admiration is there before making any friends.

    Luckily my adoptive parents whom I always think are my real parents treat me very well (I firmly believe parents are those who raise you, not someone accidentally give you birth), although they themselves constantly fight with each other over little things, which has become part of their live and their "hobby" because of my father's explosive temper. I have a great husband (my first real boy-friend), a lovely kid and yes, they're my whole world, plus a decent career in the United States. Sometimes I felt guilty toward my mom because she has a fear of me leaving her behind, emotionally, as I'm her only child. But my husband and I always make sure she is at least financially safe and secure.

    Re-connecting with my biological family has proven to be a tough job - trust can be built only when it has never been substantially damaged. It becomes worse when you feel like an outsider trying to belong and your biological siblings might accidentally do something to make you feel like you're indeed an outsider and sometimes purposefully when you're doing something they're not looking for.

    My experience tells me that it's great to know whom you are, where you're from, and that might be just enough. Don't expect too much from a family which abandoned you in the first place and don't expect them to even love you or your kid(s). Everything happens for a reason, and don't blame yourself for other people's mistakes. Be positive about others because not many folks in the world would do what our birth parents have done. We're whole right after our birth. Life can never be perfect. I feel blessed for what I have in my life. Only need to work on getting rid of my resentment toward my birth parents and their family. Or should I say, forget that I'm an adopted child. God bless you!

  • tilly

    Dear Dr Schwartz,

    thank you for your reply. I only just got it. I'm trying so hard to enjoy my friends and family but Christmas is a hard time of year. I saw my brother again last week. It was meant to be our 1st Christmas together, and I pinned so much hope on it being the best ever. However, after spending some time with him and trying to make it special for us both, I just feel let down and completely desperate and confused. We get on so well and have moe in common with each other than anyone else we know, yet now I've returned home he has again barred my calls and emails. Its crazy and I don't understand. I was hoping to meet his girlfriend and father but it seems he wants to keep me away. It makes me feel like a reject and we fell out because of my 'questioning'. Its almost like he loves me and wants to be with me, but wont let me in. Is this normal? I keep crying all the time. I love him so much and just want to be near him. He says such nice things to me like the best thing about me is that I'm alive, yet he shuts me out and wont let me in too closely. Is there anyting I can do? Should I persue out relationship or should I leave him to get on with his life? I dont know what to do for the best. So many questions. I'm sorry but I don't kow who else to ask. Are there adoptees who I can speak with and share things with?

    Thank you, from tilly

  • Allan Schwartz, PhD

    Tilly,

    There are support groups for many things and, therefore, I suspect there are support groups for adoptees. You might begin your search for these self help groups by doing an internet search, something like, "support groups for adults who were adopted." You might find some of them on the internet and you might find some in local communities. There are also probably psychologists and social work psychotherapists who specialize in treating adults who were adopted. My guess is that there are books on this, too, but you need to search on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Annete

    I am 63. I found out at a very young age that I was adopted at about 6 weeks old. I had very loving parents who told me they chose me so I was very special to them. I am very thankful for that, but for some reason, I was never very close to either of my parents. When I married and had a son, that was really the first time I wanted to find my natural parents - I wanted to see if my son took after my biological parents. Sadly, records of my birth are sealed. I would love nothing more than to see a picture of my mother or father just to see that I came from somewhere - I look like someone - I belong, as I am assuming both have passed away by now. I am very thankful for the family I had - who knows where I would have ended up if they had not adopted me. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

  • Todd

    I was adopted at 6 weeks because my "mother" did not think she was able to have children. One year after I was adopted my "parents" had a biological child and then two more within four years. I spent most of my life being ignored. I was shuffled between grandparents houses most weekends and every summer. I was raised by television and by the time I was 14 years of age I had no idea how to play baseball or any sports. School was horrible for me and I developed horrible anxiety problems which I still have to this day. I was never influenced to persue any hobbies and made to feel very inadequate. My point is, adoptees aren't born broken, people make them broken. I'm 39 now, suicidal and I have a drinking problem. Please think very hard before adopting...please.

  • Bryce-Chad Bond

    Hi im chad and have found out that im adopted ive always known but these last 2 yrs of my life its been a really big thing 4 me...im not sure wat age i think about 3 months or so.my ma told me some stuff about her but doesnt tell me everything like jus last holidays she told me that i went to the same school as my sister and i didnt even know 4 a few months and i think wow i probably walked past her everyday and didnt knw haha..i have ben thru 2 families bt the first not long at all i dont remember them..i now dont even live with my adopted parents cause i wanted 2 stay in this other town and so live with them 4 the past year.

    I found my ma on facebook and talked to her but she now lives in England and ive got 5 other sisters and 1 of them also been adopted..My mom says she was a drug addict and left me in daycare centres and stuff and my dad was a 1night stand..ive seen pictures of them except dad who apparently is in jail..i look at my sisters and see how beautiful they look but only 2 of them and wish i was there wit them 2 help them thru their hard life they even lived on the streets 4 a while i wish they all got adopted and hav my life cus thers mustve ben vey hard i jus want to meet them they look gorgeous haha owell i guess

  • BT

    I was adopted when I was three year months old from Villanueva, Honduras although I find this irrelevant because my parents are the ones that raised me. Adoption has not bothered me because I beieve family is what you make it to be. Let me explain. There does not have to be blood connection for one to build a bond with another being. Growing up I was a motivational speaker and spoke to apdoptive children and adults about "issues" that can arise. (such as aniexty, abondoment, attatchment issues) If you are having issues with adoption make sure to talk about it and to confide in someone. I hope one day others can see adoption as an oppurtunity.

  • Anonymous-7

    I got pregnant with my new husbands baby in 2004. He wanted to get my biological children away from their biological father because he was physically and mentally abusive to me and the children. Before he meet me he hadn't ever dated a girl with kids so at age 27 he ended up with 4 all at once.

    He was always very strict with the adopted children and never let them have an opinion. I know he was just trying too hard to teach the proper discipline but it caused the two of us to fuss and fight all the time. He was thick headed and didn't care what I had to say. At one point, he grounded my oldest son, now 17, to his room pretty much for six years straight because he had grades "d's" and "F's". He only gave back his priviledges during the holidays or summer break. My oldest son is now anti social and a very low self esttem, he is very immature and has a terrible outlook on life. He had harsh punishment for all three adopted children but did not treat his biological daughter so roughly and he played with her and showed her love and attention.

    Last month I confronted him with an affair that he had with a women he worked with, she's 50 and he is 34. He quickly left the family without contact for a week then he came back and tried to apoligize to the three older kids but they basicaaly told him to screww off. In his summons for divorce he states that he is only interested in seeing our youngest daughter, the one we had together. I try to explain the good that their father did for them and all the things he gave up to bring them in his life. He is so stubborn he refuses to ask the kids to see him and obviously their teenagers and feel like he abandoned him and they don't wanna see him. Any advise on how I can get my kids and my husband to act more maturely so that our little 6 year old isn't confused and so my teenagers don't feel so angry?

  • J.Scott/Park

    I am a 19 year old that was adopted when I was 6years old. My mother was 15 years old when she concieved me and was not able to take care of me at the time. Before I was adopted, my name was Julianna Park, but when my adoptive parents adopted me, they wanted to change my name so that it would fit into the ryhme scheme of my two younger sisters (Janice, Eunice, Glynice) that was my adoptive parent's biological daughters. I felt that if I changed it, it would help me fit in with the family better. But even at age 6, I realized that it was odd and it did not feel like myself. So for most of my life, I just went by Janice, but now I go by my "real" name Julianna. But the main reason, I feel now, that I agreed to be called Janice was to make my parents happy. All my life I have felt that I should impress my parents so that they could accept me better as their daughter than my step sisters could. I got straigh A's in school, top of the class, student body President, cheerleading, and everything, but in the end it felt as if I was never good enough. Do not get me wrong, my parents were loving, but it always felt like something was missing and that I needed to do more to impress them. And I have always felt a disconnection to my sisters. They were really close, but I was always the odd one out. I would go out to play with my friends while they did so much more of everything together. In a way it made me feel rejected to the "sisterhood." But now I am living on my own since I was 18 years old. I keep in touch with my family like any other college student would, but this way I feel more as if I am taking responsibility of myself. I like it alot more! Some people ask if I ever want to meet my biological mom. But I really do not. I prefer to live life the way it is and keep moving foward and never look back.

  • stacie

    I am a 41 year old bi-racial woman who was adopted at 6 months old. I never thought much about being adopted until I was in my early twenties when I struggled with identity issues. I felt as though I needed to identify myself with being either Caucasian or African American (being both races) having denied my African American heritage most of my adolescence. I sorted through most of my identity issues through self-exploration and reading a lot about African American history and culture, developing friends later in life from that side of me. I feel pretty confident by this point in my life about those issues now, and for the most part, I don't project myself to the world as either. I try to identify with everyone as I am as a human being, and not as a label. I found this makes meandering through life much easier for me, apart from the fact that there is a history that encompasses 1/2 of me which I identify very strongly with. But, my relationships with people have nothing to do with the color of my skin, they have to do with connecting on a variety of levels. I found recently, while living in China, unmarried, no children, teaching English and having an amazing cultural experience abroad, that while watching a movie about adoption, I felt a profound sense of loss. I cried nearly all day that day, feeling as though I was grieving the loss of my birth mother and for the first time in my life, wondering about her and recognizing some of my own issues in regard to intimate relationships stemmed from abandonment issues I had never acknowledged. I had always felt I was just an independent person. I grieved the loss of my mother for the first time at age 41, after feeling relatively ambivalent about my adoption most of my life. I felt like I needed to go through this process, however, and allowed myself to feel what I was feeling and let it all go. But, it wasn't shortly after that I started to rememember and think about all the wonderful things about my adoptive family. I still have little triggers at times, even as an adult, that leave me feeling rejected, in spite of the fact that I know my parents love me. They are so slight, but so apparent, and I acknowledged that feeling with my father last year. My mother and I worked through our own issues many times, and she has evolved into a wonderful woman whom I feel closer to as an adult than I ever did growing up, however, I do feel there is more work to be done. I feel like the grieving I felt that day was a healing process I needed to start working on and continue to work on.

  • 24 F

    I was adopted from when I was six months old. My parents never hid this from me (plus they are white and I'm asian). When I was younger I denied my curiosity about my birth parents and heritage because of guilt toward my adopted parents. Since I went to college and met other Asian people I have become really curious about my background but as far as I know it was a closed adoption. I'm know for being void of emotions, it's very hard for me to express my feelings, I avoid physical contact, and it's always felt weird to say "I love you." I have never felt close to my parents and hid parts of myself from them. I've done 'good' things (school, activities) I think because I thought it would make them happy and 'bad' things like stealing and drugs. I feel unable to connect to people, make friends, enter and maintain relatinships. I've never known my place in the world, what kind of career I want, I can't plan for my future. My best friend is also adopted. We are really alike in our issues and her sharing with me made me think about my adoption. Anyway, thank you for sharing your stories - it is comforting. I'd love if someone responded.

  • Leo

    Well I'm 27 y/o, male. First of all thank you for making this website, it really helps. My grandmother said that they heard a baby crying from their neighbor and when they checked they saw a baby drinking a water and sugar instead of milk. The baby was abandoned by the father because he does not want his wife to know that he got her bestfriend pregnant.

    I just call her my grandmother because I'm like used to it since I was small. Now she took care of me, clothe me, fed me just until I was in the 3rd grade because she needs to go abroad and she can't bring me with her. And by the way my grandma have 6 children.

    When she left her youngest daughter took all the responsibilities for me. I call her aunt but she is like my mother. She is married as well and have 4 kids, but 2 of them are her stepdaughters. My relationship with them was ok but there are times that I feel like Im out of place and that there is like a gap. Another thing is I still did not know that I was adopted until I was 15. So when I was still a kid I really thought that they are my relatives. I just felt so bad because everytime there is a school activity they just sent our nanny and I'm so jealous when I see other kids with their parents.

    I played sports during my primary and secondary level. I was good at them but they haven't seen even just one game. whatever I do it's just not enough for them. They don't trust me, they always say negative things about me. Whatever I do they just don't appreciate it. Now I have drinking problem and they blame my friends for it not seeing what they did. I had 2 jobs before but now, im like a bum. I don't know what to do, I feel so lost, rejected, sometimes I even feel like ending it.

  • Anonymous-8

    I was adopted when I was 8 weeks old having been "put up" for adoption before I was born.

    I love my parents so much and I have a brother who is also adopted (different parents from me).

    Being adopted is always with you. It affects everything. I have just been so lucky to have had twin girls and it really bought home how much I have missed having someone to recognise. I am fascinated by which baby has my nose, which my ears, which my eyes etc. I have wanted so long to have someone who looks like me.

    I feel so much anger towards my birth mother and I always have. She was only 18 but she had family support to keep me. But worse than that. She refused to put my father's name on my birth certificate. She was so selfish.

    Everyone says how lucky I am because I have loving parents and perhaps a better life than I would have had but I feel so alone. I have family, friends but so alone all the time.

    I was always so good as a child because I was so scared my mum would send me back. She would never have done and she would be so unhappy that I felt this way and never told her.

    I feel so sad and angry and alone all the time. Even in a crowded room. Even surrounded by everyone who loves me.

    I grieve for my birth mother and I don't ever want to meet her. Life is made up of stupid contradictions.

  • Anonymous

    I was adopted at birth, as were my siblings (all different biological) parents and my adoptive parents always talked about it as though it was completely normal. I never felt bad about being adopted. But I found my birth mom several years ago and have tried to maintain a decent relationship with her. Lately she has been making efforts to increase her presence in my life and I'm not comfortable with it. My adoptive mom is getting elderly and I have a severe fear that my birth mom is grooming herself to step into that role once my mom has passed away. I just don't feel that way about my b-mom at all. In fact, just about everything she does irritates me. She's a good person, just not someone that I would befriend if we weren't related. How do I deal with this? I don't want to alienate her but don't want a closer relationship either.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Anonymous,

    The way in which you want to handle your birth mom depends a lot on what you want as well as how you define the word, "Related." The two of you are biologically related, yes, but is that enough to define "relationship." Your adopted parents raised you and, in every way, they are your parents. Your "birth mom" did not raise you and, at the risk of sounding harsh, you owe her nothing. Again, I do not mean to sound harsh.

    This woman happened to give birth to you but, that is all. She has no right to intrude into your life, in any way at all. She never earned that right and that is true today. It makes no difference if she understands that or not. It's is vitally important that YOU understand. You have to know, must know, that she can "groom" herself all she wants but you can permanently sever any and all contact with her.

    Please understand, I am not saying this in a mean spirited way. I am saying this because you need to feel empowered and in control. Ultimately, what this means is that, if you want contact with her, you must set very firm boundaries and limits. If you do not want any further contact, you need to tell her so and mean it.

    Remember, you are in control.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Carolyn - 23 yr old

    My birth mother was a amazing women...ultimately she gave me everything...the life I have now I would not have because of her...she was sick...which is why she had to put me up for adoption..we wrote eachother through the adoption agencey since I was a little girl. I met her when I was 18 she passed away a year later from her illness. When I was little I never really thought about the fact I was adopted....but as I have grown older this feeling of wanted to find my birth father is literaly haunting me. I found him 4 years ago...I have spoken to his wife (bad idea...just caught up in the moment but she was a nice lady) But i just have this feeling that maybe she did'nt tell him I called....or he doesn't want to talk to me...either way I just have 1000 things going through my head...(my adopted parents have no support for me at all in meeting him) anyways....a few days ago I made contact with his wife again ( she added me on facebook so i could see picutres of him) but this time it was completly different...she said she really wants to meet me..she wants me to meet my dad...then out of the blue she says they are going to come down and meet me the following day..obviously I am shocked...i wasnt even expecting a response from this. so she said I am just going to get your dad to call you tonight when he gets home and we will plan all the details out. So obviously...he didnt call...which again has now left me feeling absolutely crushed.. I made the mistake of getting my hopes up and I feel I am back to square one....No one else I know is adopted and no one else undertands what I am going through right now...so I found this webiste hoping to find some form of support...Hearing other people stories put me a little at ease that I am not alone here...

  • Terry

    My son is 13 and has never had a relationship with his biological father (who I was never married to). My son visited with his bio father a few times when he was younger and remembers him, but he has not heard from his father in many years now. His bio father never paid child support or tried to have a relationship with my son. My son doesn't even refer to him as "dad" he refers to him by his first name. I have been married to my husband now for three years. My husband is a father to my son and they have a great relationship. My son asked me if he can change his last name. I told him that it could change if his step-dad adopted him. He said he wanted him to then. So, the three of us, my son, my husband and myself, talked together about adoption. We talked about what exactly the adoption means and what will happen with the adoption. We were very clear and open with my son about everything. We assured my son that when he is an adult and if he wants to, he can find his biological father and try to have a relationship with him that we would never keep him from doing that. After our talk, my son decided that he does want my husband to adopt him. I contacted my son's biological father and he agreed to the adoption. He signed the consent form, so we are ready for the adoption! However, my son is now feeling disloyal to his biological father. My son feels bad for his bio father and feels like his father will feel bad that he wants his step-dad to adopt him. My son's bio father has not spent time with him, does not call him or send him cards, so in my eyes his father left him a long time ago. I do not say this to my son though. My son still feels compassion for his bio father, even though he has not been a part of his life. My son does not want his bio father to think that he hates him. What can I say to my son to help him feel better about my husband adopting him? My son is not being pressured at all to be adopted by my husband. He wants the adoption to happen. My son even writes my husband's last name as his last name on some things. My son feels mixed emotions he wants my husband to adopt him, but doesn't want that to hurt his biological father. Any suggestions to help me help my son feel better about proceeding with the adoption and not feel like he is being disloyal to his biological father?

  • Chris

    I'm a 21 yr old mixed white/asian male. I was adoped at the age of 5. My birth mother, South Korean, passed away when I was 1. She had left my birth father when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She left my "dad" and went back to my 2 olders sisters dad, whom she had left to be with my dad. From that point my biological father was out of the picture. At the age of 4 my "dad" (my sisters dad) passed away leaving me and my 2 sisters. My oldest sister was just of age, around 19, when HER aunt (my sisters dads sister) began the custody fight for myself and my middle sister, who was under 18. Through custody we both were adopted, but within months my sister ran away to be with my other sister leaving me alone with my adopted family. I later learned that my sister ran away because she allegedly was "raped" by my "brother" (aunts son). When i was 5 my biological father was allegedly murdered. I have no recollection of who my father was. Not one memory. My adopted parents were the ones that told me about my biological dads death (when i asked years later). So i grew up in an elderly white family, being asian looking, with no biological family. At 18 I finally reunited with my sisters after years, but I dont feel the connection with them that I should. I feel that way because they REFUSE to tell me ANYTHING about my biological father or even acknowledge him. They speak of our mother with the highest reguards. At 19, my adopted mom passed away from COPD/emphyzema, she was the closest person i ever had in my life. And now my adopted dad is in his 80's and his health is steadily declining. I have this idea in my mind that i cannot form relationships because they will fall apart. I put up a great front to people, but i always feel alone, and like i'm good enough for no one. I"ll find myself staring in a mirror for minutes at a time just wondering "what is so wrong with me that i am meant to be alone?" As a teenager and still today I have a building feeling I am just not meant to be, like if i were not here, no one would notice. I hate everything about myself. Everyday i just edge thru hoping things will get better.

  • Anonymous-9

    Dr. Schwartz

    Am a researcher and adoptee who has recently heard through the European adoption grapevine that some UK municipal authorities are "living in fear and dread of being the first to receive" an adoptee's writ for their having knowingly imposed long-term psychological problems upon him/her. Notwithstanding that you are probably no more aware than most in your profession of the true depth of these problems, I would respectfully suggest that you commence spelling out what you do know of the hard psychological facts about adoption, rather than find yourself accused of misrepresentaion. Well intentioned though you are undoubtedly are it is, I think, but a matter of time before this whole damnable business of adoption is exposed for what it is - a hypocritical, criminal abuse against persons who cannot defend themselves and a serious breach of at least seven of UNICEFs declaration of fifty plus articles concerning Rights of the Child.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    I fail to understand your angry reaction to an article that discusses the serious problems had by adults who were adopted. It makes me wonder if you read the article at all?

    As for your condemnation of all adoptions, that type of sweeping generalization is far from helpful.

    Obviously you are angry and you probably have good reasons for that. But, you need to think more carefully about how you use that anger. I am sure you do not want to add to the harm already done from all of this.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • SunFlower

    I adopted my husbands three children at early age. I raised them gave did all I could as their adoptive mother. I never called them my adoptive children I always refered to them as my own. My husband never corrected them or gave them love it was always me. I have suffered so much because my youngest adoptvie daughter has made my life impossible, she has lied, talked about me and has made people believe that I am a terrible MOM. She has seen me cry doesn't care either she talks back to me with no regrets, it has gotten to the point that I can't say nothing to her because right away she'll explode like a fire cracker and this has caused my health to degrade. My oldest wasn't like that until the past three years and she has become heartless as well. My oldest who I thought would be my closest also moved out and doesn't care about me either. I feel as if I gave my all for nothing and after I raised them, sacrifice myself for them they have turn their backs on me and I don't understand why they are like that with me no matter what I say or do is never enough and now I don't know what to do I mean they are older 21, 22, 24 years old now. The sad thing is that they won't dis-respect their dad but me they don't care and I just have had it with them and I really would like to hate them but I can't all I do is cry and suffer I never had a mom to love me as I love them and it's sad to say I just don't know or understand the motive as to why they are like that especially my oldest daughter she could careless if I were to die although she says she loves me but I can't see it in her at all. They are cold and heartless and what can I do? I need an advice please does anyone know or has had the same issues with their adoptive children? please let me know thanks

  • Allan N. Schwartz, Phd

    Sunflower, you will find an answer to your comment tomorrow under the Reader Questions part of the front page.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • young male

    i am a 21 year old male mixed male (i always thought i was afro-american becuase of my adopted family)...i found out that i was adopted at 9 years of age...i mean i kinda knew earlier becuase when i was 7 years of age some little kid asked me 1 day was i adopted? i didnt know what it was until a couple of months later...but anyways, when my "adoptive" mother told me that i was i had tears running out of my eyes...as years went by, during my teen years i found out a little more about my birth mother and family by my adoptive mother and older adoptive sister...from the time i was an child until now....i feel totally diffrent from my "adoptive" family, when it comes to genes (which is a big one becuase my Adoptive family have some strong genetics)...personalty wise...i am lighter than my adoptive brothers and sisters....and i feel like an outcast at times with them. Recently, i found my bio family...i have contact my older bio brother and he had told me everything about bio relatives..and he told me that him and my other older brother whom is 5 year years older than me, was rasied by my bio aunt..and me, my two younger sisters (i never knew i had younger siblings becuase in my adoptive family i was the youngest) was adopted... when i first spoke to them..they was asking me my age and how i know about our birth mother, i told them i found out at 9 and my "adoptive" mother and "adoptive" sister tell me about my adoption. but sometimes even now when my birth day falls on 11/28 i am depressed becuase all i do is think about my birth mother, and how she just left me in the hospital...it hurts even now as a 21 almost 22 year old i cry in my room becuase i think about her...people tell me i should let go but i just dont know.

  • Sonja Bussiere

    I hae been searching for my "roots" since I can remember. Looking in everyones eyes, their voices, movements trying tosee something I "should" recognize. At the age of 21 I , along with my adopted Dad, opened my confidential records. I finally had a name to search for. It was not an easy journey as all can imagine, but after years of trying and avoiding I finally reached and uncle, then an aunt and now my 1/2 sister. It was a very hard decision to actually reach out and speak to her. What would I say? The words did come, we have connected. I have been told the stories that she was told by people other than our mother. She said I never happened, then I was the product of a rape. Very impressive stuff. I am now trying to help my sister to struggle through finding out about me after 41 years. I too have had low self esteem my entire life, covering it with humor, but I needed to reach out for myself. None of this has been entered into lightly. I have tried to take the feelings of all involved to heart. However sometimes you just need to do things that others dont inderstand or want. I have had a wonderful family my entire life. I truly love them and they are mine and vise versa. I do love knowing my own famliy too though. Hopefully my sister can work through this and we can come out the other side as friends. I still think I need help though! )

    thanks for listening, Spring Hill, Florida

  • Mathy

    Yes, am missing love, affection and true care. I still dont know who is my bio - mom and i dont know in which age i was adopted. Now i really feel like seeing my bio mom. am quite happy with this life but not really...

  • dewy

    hello to everyone that wrote alittle something about there lives past and present.i feel some instant relief reading your stories (good and bad).i would like to adopt all of you!!again!!infact i think we should have a family reunion every year and bond with all the bothers sisters who been adopted.we could pick a place in a park,b.b.q.games,work shops.and come face to face for all the good ressons.hey i would even start up a club where we could be a ''members only''.i am adopted,with a adopted brother who parents would take in anything un-wanted.i do relate to all letters because the emotions are there in all of us.not knowing is hard,growing up was even harder and it never leaves us.like to hear what you say because in numbers your never alone.keep your head up and walk with pride because you are one of us and you must make your

  • Anonymous-10

    I was adopted at Birth. I found out about it at the age of 6. My parents informed me that they didn't know my birth mothers / fathers name or any details. After turning 21 my brother from my adopted family informed me of some scary memories from our childhood. He had memories of my family recieving death threats after bringing me home from the hospital, cars with tinted windows camping out in our front yard... ( all because of the adoption).I have no memories of this, since i was a newborn at the time. Me and my adopted family had to leave everything, and moved states to start over. We were followed by these very people. I still do not have all of the details on this but I do know that this went on for about a year after the move then stopped. I do however have memories of being in day care ( at about the age of 5) and almost being kidnapped. Still no clue on details. I learned later on in life that my adopted parents had involved the FBI to get the stalking to stop. When I had aquired all of this information from my brother I sat down to have a talk with my adopted parents. They told me my mothers name..names of sisters that I had older and younger than me. Then they told me that everything my brother remembers is true but swear to me that is all they know..they will not tell me about the stalking..claim that they dont know who those people were. It hits me after the talk that they were not honest. If they know nothing then how do they know that I have a younger sister? I took things into my own hands and searched myself. My biological mother is unsearchable..she's like a ghost...i cant find anything on her. I have found the rest of my biological family on facebook but I am to frightened to contact them in fear that something bad will happen or they will reject me. I am now 29 and never uncovered the truth, and still feel that my adopted parents are hiding something from. I feel that I can't talk about this with them due to possible hurt they may feel.

  • Anonymous-11

    I am dating a guy who was adopted. he knows his birth parents and loves his adoptive parents. but when we talk about families and close relationshiops he gets distant and annoyed espcially when he hears someon say family comes first. i want to be there for him but he is a very pridefull guy and i would just like some advice?

  • Anonymous-12

    I have been dating someone in their mid-50s for a couple of years now with many break ups along the way. We have discussed marriage, but can never seem to get going without another pitfall. Most of our arguments have involved his "single guy" behavior and his lack of being able to cope with issues in lieu of self-medication at the local bar. When we have any sort of issue arise, he makes himself unavailable sometimes for days, goes out with other women and becomes a barfly. After some days/weeks go by, he begins texting/emailing about wanting to talk, and I reluctantly cave until the next event. He has been married 2x and has a daughter that he had out of wedlock, but has had very good success professionally. We broke up again about a week ago and I learned over the weekend that he was adopted. How could he not have told me this, but is regularly talking about marriage? I feel betrayed and sad for him at the same time, because he must really be hurting and not wanting anyone to know. I can go out essentially anywhere in our small town area and run into someone who asks how we are doing and when I tell them we aren't dating anymore, they seem to indicate that I am probably better off. These are all people he has known for years who have witnessed his behavior that he introduced me to. His reputation has always been a ladies man and he has jumped from one to the next without a care in the world the destruction he leaves behind him. He almost has a sense of entitlement and/or above the law attitude. He is very jealous of other men and his double-standards are of epic proportions. I have never found myself in any similar situation as this one and this website has been very helpful. I hope anyone reading this who has been in a similar situation will respond about what to expect if he did get help or there was ever a chance for a healthy relationship together.

  • Teri

    My husband is 55 and found out on his 12th birthday he was adopted when his adoptive mother told him. He says at that time he felt like running away and that he did not belong where he was, wanting to find his real family. His adoptive parents were good to him as long as he stayed a nice boy, but normal teen issues led to them making him a ward of the state and being very cold to him. I met him at 18 and he was physically abusive, alcohol issues, etc. to me. Now he is middle-aged and does not hit me, but still has anger management issues that I wonder how to deal with, that I think are due to abandonment issues. I never know what will anger him, some innocent comment or if I complain about his smoking makes him tell me he hates me. Is this common?

  • Sharon

    I was adopted as an infant and accidentally figured out I was adopted in the early teenage years. Adoptive parents first denied, then reluctantly confirmed that I was adopted in a way, I was relieved, because it helped explain why I was so different from my adoptive family and why I never felt like I belonged. Anyhow, adoptive parents and adoptive brother have all passed away in the past few years, I've found and developed good relationships with some of my biological family. I don't know how to approach being permitted funeral leave benefits for my biological family with my employer. None of my bio family is local - all are 1,000 or more miles away, necessitating several days to either drive or a couple of days to fly, so it's not as simple as taking just a part of a vacation day off to attend a funeral. One of my biological brothers is being laid to rest tomorrow and my birthmother, who I am very close to, is quite ill and in the hospital right now - I don't know how much longer she has. Our employer's policy does not address issues for adult adoptees with biological family it simply states: "

    Employees are allowed up to three (3) consecutive days off from regularly scheduled duty with regular pay in the event of the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family. Immediate family for the purpose of bereavement consists of spouse, parent, sister, brother, son, daughter, and "step" relations living in the same household. Bereavement Leave may not extend past the day of the funeral. One (1) day off from regularly scheduled duty with regular pay may be granted in the event of the death of a relative other than a member of the immediate family, specifically, grandparent or grandchild, and father-in-law or mother-in-law of employee’s current spouse. "

    As I've never taken any bereavement leave with this company (my adoptive family all passed away years before I was hired here), do I tell them that this is my biological family and see what they do? That could mean that I might not be able to attend my birthmother's funeral when that comes to pass. Or do I just let them assume that my biological family is my legal family, which is whom I believe the bereavement policy was intended to allow employees to grieve for? I don't want to risk my career either.

  • Maura

    As a 12 young girl, being brought up in a home situation that involved neglect and needing some escape, I accidently found adoption papers saying that both my parents had adopted me and also found the decree which legally changed my name. At the time this was good news as it confirmed what I believed, that I didn't belong in the situation I was brought up in, allowing me the fantasy that my real mother would have loved me and taken care of me. The knowledge kept me sane. I confronted the woman who brought me up, only to be lied to or considered too young to know the truth. I kept the truth deep inside me as a well-guarded secret while waiting for my parents to consider me adult enough to tell me the truth. I waited many years while resentment and anger simmered. My relationship with the mother who raised me deteriorated beyond the point of rescue. I graduated school, got married and had my own child. It was the birth of my own child which finally enabled me to confront my parents and demand to know the truth. I was 30 years old when I told them I knew, only to have my world turned upside down after finding that the woman who raised me, the woman who I had grown to resent and perhaps hate for her coldness and neglect was my true birth mother. Not only was I partially adopted but I had also been a bastard child, a dirty little secret in my mothers life, only adopted on my paternal side. I was emotionally and psychologically devastated by this news. How could my real mother treat me the way she did? I asked for information to help find my birth father(still a fantasy rescuer in my mind) and was given no help from my mother. She guarded the secrets of her past life. It was not until after she passed away when I was 40 that an older relative began giving me a few details of my birth father. this info was also accompanied by guilt as she said it would destroy the man who had raised me, to know that I was looking for my bio dad. I had scant details and figured it would be of no avail anyway. But it kept gnawing at me. I did make a few half-hearted attempts to search for him on my own. At the age of 50, just this past summer, I accidently located my father in another country. I made contact with his family only to find that he had passed away just a few years before. My little girl fantasy of being saved died with that knowledge. I did find out that I had 7 half brothers and sisters, 2 of whom were deceased. One by one I have either met or are planning to meet these half-siblings shortly. Most have welcomed me with open arms and we have started adult relationships of varying kinds. I don't know where this will all lead and at the present time it is rather awkward to try and build relationships where no pasts exist. I am currently attempting to write a book as a way to sort out all the feelings I have been dealing with since childhood, particularly the years when I believed myself to be adopted by both parents and the effects on me for keeping a secret for so long. I am finding it so interesting to read about other adoptees and their stories. It helps me to understand that my anger, resentment, detachment, abandonment issues and guilt are all recurring issues in the lives of other adoptees. It makes me feel less alone in this world. I hope that as an adult, I can somehow heal some of the emotional damage I have endured for most of my life. I outwardly seem like a

  • Anonymous-13

    I was adopted at the age of six weeks. Soon after the paperwork was finally completed my adopted parents left the country without leaving a forwarding address, severing all contact with the adoption agency and my birth-mother. Despite agreeing to the conditions of my adoption which specified that a second child should be adopted, I was raised as an only-child.

    I was told of my adoption at a very earlier age but was never considered old enough to be given any of the details. Even now at 43 I am still refused even the possibility of discussing the matter. And any mention of adoption is frownd upon.

    I was raised by a nurse/tutor who was removed suddenly when I was nine because it had become obvious that I was emotionally attached to her rather than my adopted mother. I was not encouraged to keep in contact and was fed lies about her as a person. Again all information about her was supressed.

    I struggle tremendously with trust or the ability to relate meaningfully with people. I am useless with empathy and the ability to get into the shoes of someone who is close to me. I have low self-estime and struggle with depression. At the same time I am very skilled with people handling and am often used for solving complex interpersonel problems because of my ability to scan and analyse people.

    I feel more like a robot than a human being but with missing code which stops me fully entering the human world.

  • Paula

    I have been searching for a counselor experienced in the issues of adult adoptees for some time now with no success at all. I live on the South Coast of Massachusetts. Might you make a recomendation? Thanks very much,

    Paula

  • Jamie

    I'm going to keep this short but I can say, I finally feel like I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I was adopted from after being in the foster care system for a total of eight years. To be quite honest, I experienced the most anguish from my second foster placement which eventually become my adoptive placement.

    I was mentally and verbally abused by my adoptive mother (who was a single woman) when the reality set in that I was not the perfect child she dreamed of. I tried to commit suicide at the age of 12 and ran away from home several times. It was as if I was literally trying to run away from all the pain, sadness and confusion.

    In foster care, you are to be given a 'lifebook' which is supposed to be filled with documents, pictures and explanation of your life course. At the age of 25, I had to steal my case file (which should have been given to me at age 18 and discussed with me prior) from my adoptive mother's home in which I found out about my extensive mental and developmental health. Because I was able to trace back behavioral patterns and coping mechanisms which seemed to be directive from prior trauma experiences. As an adult I was able to get the professional help I needed.

    My adivce to everyone is to get the help and assesments you need for despression, anxiety or any other mental health issues you think you may need. I know it is easy to feel like you were robbed from a lack of help, love, understanding, realistic expectations from aparents but I am telling you YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Check with your local city or county mental health departments to see what services you qualify for.

    The fact you are here articulating and telling your story shows you are reaching out for help. Nothing more pisses me off than knowing I could of gotten services before things got worse and out of control. Not too mention I have to figure out how to pay for therapy and possible medications. But someone's inability or unwillingness should not and is the not the reason why you should not be living life to your fullest capacity. If you qualify, there are places out there who will provide services on a low-income sliding fee.

    You know what even after realizing what your issues are, it's okay if you still feel like crap. I know that 20 years worth of issues isn't going to go away within in the course of day.

    I will say getting that case file saved my life. For all these years I felt different, as if there was a big black hole inside of me. Because of my willingness to live, I've researched for hours, even obsessively and I feel like I am finally cracking away to feeling better and a leading a quality life.

    Even if you aren't able to get medical or past records, please record the information you do know. If you feel like there are gaps in your memory (I know this personally) create a lifebook from pictures, memobraillia and fun facts about you. Having something tangible and concrete in your hands will help you connect your self to a past and present which will help you look to the future.

    I'm not a professional but I hope I have been a help to someone:) God Bless!

  • Anonymous-14

    in short. today is my birthday and im always extremely sad. I never feel ok this time of year. I usually drink myself into a coma practically. Yesterday, i just started tearing in the shower trying to wash away being an adopted shit. My own family that meant everything to me is now seperated. I feel worse this year and wish I never married, stayed alone, as I was born. After seeing my 3 children born, i could never understand how my mother could not love me and abandon me. I will never accept that....

  • Tina

    I never thought there was a connection between adoption and loss until now. I am a 44 year old adult. My adoptive parents died years ago. I never felt a sense of belonging or very close to them. We had a dysfunctional relationship, but until they died I strived to gain their love and understanding. Their deaths affected me tremendously. The loss and grief was all consuming. Afterwards I started to read about adoption. I always knew I was adopted, but put any feelings to the back of my mind. I struggled during adolensence and their abuse made it easier for me to reject them. As a young adult i moved thousands of miles away across an ocean to get away from them, but always kept in touch. I find every loss in my life so painful and each one reminds me of my previous losses. I think my deep pain and sense of loss is due to my initial loss of being seperated from my birth mother. It is amazing that I only realise that now after all these years.

  • christina

    My sister and I were taken from our biological teen parents at the ages of 3 and 4. We proceeded to enter a series of foster homes, packing our belongings in a brown paper bag each time it was time to move, all the while, crying as we thought our foster parents didnt love us anymore. We were finally adopted at 6 and 7 by a well to do Catholic family whom already had two boys of their own, four and five years older than us. We found ourselves constantly punished with a large list of chores to do on a weekly basis. Our adoptive mother even " lent," my sister and I out to her friends to clean their homes. Our new brothers always had the best of everything. We were basically told we were only there for food and shelter. Our adoptive father also fondled the both of us and a few of our friends growing up. We told our mother and were called liars. I left when I was eighteen. Have been on my own ever since. My sister and I do not speak to them, but we have been in contact with our biological family. My issue now is as an adult I have one failed marriage, and seem to be attracted to men that only want to love me for a few hrs a week. Hence I have decided to stay alone. I dont go out. I force myself to go to work. Basically I just want to be left alone. Ive gone to therapy and they just tell me to suck it up and get over it. My entire life has been affected by this. No self esteem. Always worried. Social Anxiety. Severe depression. I wish I would just die. Sad to say but thats how I feel daily. Im dying in my own saddness and I cant snap out of it.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Christina,

    Thank you for sharing your painful and traumatic experiences rooted in your tragic childhood loss and subsequent adoption.

    What I plan to do is write a blog about your experience in which I will address your sense of depression and hopelessness. Look for the blog here and please hold on. Just because they hurt you does not mean you should hurt yourself.

    Allan

  • Debra

    I came across this site while searching for answers about the anger issues and exboyfriend (whom I strongly suspect was the product of a violent rape in the 50's) of mine in the past, because it affected me so severely and subsequent choices I made, after we finally separated.

    He was raised by a cold, calculating, materialistic woman that regarded him as an object to compete with her 2 sisters and their non-adopted children, rather than a human being that she had the responsibility of raising and helping to grow into a productive citizen.

    I just want to say when I read the story by Christina, I was so affected by it I can hardly stop crying. I want to say that I acknowledge your pain and although I have no answers, I wish you the best in life. And the only suggestion I have that may help you to heal your pain is to do something like art or even volunteering (the way Princess Diana did), I hope with all my heart you find peace.

  • Elle

    My heart goes out to you Christina. I am so sorry for the loss that you and your sister have endured. I myself am adopted and I found this site while googling "how to cope with the loss of your biological family." Sometimes I wish that I'd had a biological sibling by my side during adoption, but I understand now that loss is loss and that we all deal with it in our own way. It's such a shame that so many adoptees have to deal with the whole issue of feeling rejected by their biological families, and then have to turn around and experience additional pain and confusion in dealing with all types of abuse by the adoptive family as well. Please know that you are not alone. Unfortunately, my adoption has left me feeling much the same way that you do, and no, most therapists just don't seem to get it. My husband, an adoptee, had a decent adoption and I am glad to be able to see another side of the experience through him. He has no desire to connect with biological relatives. I have met my biological family, but there is noone who can undo the damage of what we have been through. I believe there is hope and that only time and getting in touch with your true self holds the answer(s). I wish the best for you and for all adoptees who feel hurt and without salve.

    Elle

  • Scott

    Christina describes my story almost word for word. I was adopted at birth and I never met, nor can I meet, my biological parents.

    I am 41 and my life has been a tremendous waste of time filled with suffering and loneliness. I hate living, I can honestly say that.

    Christina describes it perfectly, depression, forcing yourself to work, just wanting to be alone - that is how I feel every single day for most of my life now. I am too afraid to commit suicide, so I spend my days wishing I had never been born.

    It's no joke, I tell everyone who will listen that adoption is abandonment and a curse. I cannot look back and see any possible way my life could have been satisfying, I was cursed from the start.

  • brandi

    Having been adopted at nine months, I live with my adoptive parents my entire life. It was an open adoption, so my real mother came around when she could find rides or whatever. My adoptive parents have 7 children plus me, so because I was the youngest, I feel like they were too tired by the time I grew up to give me the emotional support a child needs. Once I graduated high school, I ran as far and as fast as I could, eventually finishing college and becoming "successful" according to society's standard. Every year when the holidays approach, I am left with a giant void. Our family does not (and has not) gotten together in over ten years. I am in a relationship with a man who is extremely close with is family, and while they are kind and cordial to me, I do not feel like I "fit". I feel so alone. So alone. I have tried getting psychotrophic meds, but to no avail because I don't take them and they make me feel numb. Sometimes I think I would have been better off in foster care or something because dealing with the feelings of rejection from an adoptive family in conjunction with a birth mother is a lot to bare.

  • anthony

    born in70 to a mother of five who was middle child adopted all to her sister raised with nothing but madness in our life caue birth mother was alcoholic and refused to raise all 5 of us things went ok at childhood but have grown completely apart as adults feeling very alone with no support i have family of3 and ill by myself kinda sad situation but always thanking god for the little i haveangry at the people in my past life for not being fully responsible for my upbringing all the way through.all by myself with tons of pain raising up children with no family support what ca i do?

    h

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Anthony and Brandi,

    The feelings both of you express are very understandable. Having been adopted and experiencing feelings of loss and not fitting in is what happens to many adults adopted as children, especially if the adoptive parents were not attentive enough during childhood.

    Having said that, it is now time to move on with life. None of us can change the past but we can live in the moment and embrace life. That may mean going to psychotherapy to work on and resolve some of those bad feelings of loss and anger that make life feel sad. However, it is always possible to move on from those feelings and that is why I recommend psychotherapy.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Boxon

    There is nothing in your article which covers the psychological damage that is done to a baby when its separated from its mother and this is key. You might want to take a look at the Nancy Verriers "The Primal Wound" and "Coming home to self" which explain in great detail just how much a new born baby's development is dependant on being with its actual mother. I would also recommend looking at this lecture (hope its ok to post a hyperlink here) by Paul Sunderland http://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/video-lecture-full.html which is absolutely superb and i must confess that i will steal a few of his lines in this post. Trust me on this, seperating a child from its mother at birth is as severe a trauma that can ever be inflicted upon a human and sets people up for life! Indeed when are you going to be more vulnerable in your life than the day you are born?

    To summarise briefly a new born baby knows who its mother is. Having been inside her for 9 months the baby is completely in tune with its mother and as such on birth It instinctively knows what she smells like, sounds like and what her breast milk tastes like. This have been proved categorically in scientific tests. Further tests have been done on babies who have to be put into incubators and this separation from mother causes the babies brain to be flooded with adrenalin and cortisol leading to the baby going into shock within about 45 minutes.

    I'm no neuro scientist, not by a long shot, but as an adoptee in a very successful reunion for over two years now I have learnt a lot about the effects this separation has on the development of a babies brain. The brain is only partially "built" on birth with the most significant growth is in the first two years of life and it builds itself through experiences. You may have heard the phrase "neurons that fire together wire together"? Well when the first thing you experience upon entering the world is the highly traumatic fear and abandonment of being seperated from your natural protector thats a lot very negative wiring together going on. Sets the kid up for life it really does.

    The worst thing about this trauma is twofold. Firstly it cannot be recalled even though it is remembered and secondly there is no pre trauma personality. The combination of these two facts makes treating the resulting PTSD significantly more challenging especially when there are very few therapists trained to deal with it and a society that refuses to acknowledge the trauma ever even happened in the first place. On that note i will leave you with an appropriate quote

    "Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful"

    The Reverend Keith C Griffith MBE

  • tom

    time to move on? easy for you to say. been trying to move on for 35 years. it is HELL being a prisoner of one's mind. if it was only that easy. i mean you no disrepect dr but much eiser said than done. dr were you adopted?

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Tom,

    I have retread my article several times and I cannot find the sentence where I said "move on." If I have overlooked that sentence, please forgive me. However, I thought I went to great pains to explain how difficult this is for the adult children of adoptive parents. So, I am not sure of how this misunderstanding happened? Could you clarify?

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Dave Shreve

    No disrespect intended, but if you say "move on" then you don't understand. Let me try to explain some of what the problem with "moving on" is...

    Let me start out by telling you a little about me and my experiences and that will help me explain what I want to share with you in this blog. I was born in Akron, Ohio in July 1966. I was immediately put in Children’s serv. I was there and between foster homes for 4 yrs, before I was adopted. I was born with several birth defects. Stuff that was easily fixed, but still required surgery. I believe that’s why I wasn’t adopted as an infant. Once I was adopted, I found out real fast that I wasn’t welcome. My adoptive parents wanted the social status of having 2 children, but not the responsibility of it. My adoptive mom (amom) didn’t like boys (for whatever reason) and didn’t like me. My earliest memories were her telling me she was going to take me back.

    Now I have been reading allot about feeling, emotions, subconscious, DNA, etc. for most of my adulthood. I research this topic, because it helps me deal with all the people I’m in contact with through the homeless shelters, food banks and other ministries I work with. Yet across the yrs, I am finding allot of understanding about why I am the way I am.

    I am 6’6” tall 240 lbs, shaved head, goatee, earring, etc. And I look mean to allot of people. It is all a facade. On the inside I am an overly sensitive, heart broken, guilt ridden, unlovable, failure. To see my life….(I am almost always smiling, I don’t have high and low moods, I am always consistently positive, I am Director of Operations (Plant Manager) for a local company, with about 50 people under me.) You would think life is great for me. It could be, if I’d let it. But I won’t / can’t.

    In my reading lately, I am starting to follow a direction that deals with more of my issues, opposed to the issues of the people I help. One thing that I have connected with some of the reading is the fact that I am adopted and the correlation between my feelings and others who have been adopted. One in particular is I feel unlovable. I have had 2 failed marriages, and many failed relationships with women, because subconsciously I can’t accept the love that they want to give me. Believe me, I want to be loved. I even wrote a poem when I was a teen about wanting to be loved, and had it published. Yet it never works. #1) the women I choose to be with, are generally needy, emotionally damaged themselves. 2ndly) Once they get to know me, and get upset with me about anything, no matter how insignificant. I convince myself that they have seen my faults and now they don’t like me, so I emotionally separate myself from them, to protect myself. It’s a vicious circle.

    Anyways, I have been reading a book called “Feelings buried alive, never die” By: Karol K Truman. It is a very good book and makes allot of sense. If you think about it. Think about our connection to our biological mother. Think of the way a babies or child’s mind would work when it is whisked away from its mother and dropped into a household of strangers. One minute you’re in your mommy, you feel her warmth, the next minute you are cold, alone, lights, strange voices. All you want is the comfort of your mom and her voice and it is gone. That’s traumatic to a baby. Or being a few months or a yr or 2 or 3… old.

    You are familiar with your surroundings, the people, noises, etc. Then you are whisked away to a strange house, strange noises, strange routine, etc. There is a ton of proven studies, showing that by the 3rd trimester our subconscious is actively gathering information. And our personalities and characters are fashioned by our DNA and subconscious.

    One thing I have learned lately, that was hard to swallow, until I thought threw it for a long time across a few weeks, is the fact that not only is physical traits passed down through DNA / RNA but also personality traits and experiences. If you have never heard this idea, right about now you may be questioning the validity of this claim. But if you consider what is referred to as “instinct” The question is raised where does that come from?

    Take for example Salmon. The trek they make “instinctively” up the river, 100s of miles to lay their eggs. Where does that come from? How do they know the way? There are many examples of instinct, but one really stands out to me.

    “The migratory habits of the species of bird called the red knot. The red knot is a sandpiper that each year journeys from the southern tip of South America to the eastern shores of the United States and beyond and then back again. That round-trip expedition, which covers more than eighteen thousand miles every year, takes the red knot through the arctic islands of the Canadian North, making brief “refueling” stops on the beaches of Delaware Bay and Cape Cod.

    The birds begin their northward journey in February each year, hundreds of thousands of them, up the coast of Argentina, over Brazil, with periodic stops to feed. From the northern coasts of South America, they take to the air for a nonstop week of soaring above the Atlantic that brings them around mid-May to touch ground on the marshy shore of Delaware Bay at the very time horseshoe crabs are laying their eggs by the millions. When you consider that during their sojourn in Delaware each red knot might consume 135,000 horseshoe crab eggs, you know they need that stop and time it perfectly. Plumped up for the remainder of their marathon across the vast Canadian terrain, they make their final stop north of Hudson Bay. There, in ideal northern summer conditions, they mate and breed, each female laying four speckled eggs, which she and her mate take turns incubating.

    Baby red knots build up their bodies soon with the feathers growing fairly rapidly. There is an incredibly scripted schedule for everything in the process. By mid-July, the females leave the males and their offspring, and start heading south again. The males leave almost exactly one week later. The little ones fend for themselves and then, in late August, they commence their nine-thousand-mile journey to Tierra del Fuego. They begin that flight, their first of such magnitude, without parental companionship. Somehow, with a precise “destination” in mind, as if equipped by flawless radar and instruction, they make their way from northern Canada along the eastern American coast and across the Atlantic to Guyana, Surinam, knowing precisely where to make their sojourns for food. And then, in what appears like a date and timed appointment, “coming in on a beam,” they rejoin the family at Tierra del Fuego for the southern summer.

    Here, on the balmy beaches of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America they feast, fattening themselves. A long molt and ideal temperatures combine to replace their beaten-up feathers so that they are ready for the long journey back north. What it takes a whole crew of highly skilled men and women at a pit stop in the Indianapolis 500 or a coterie of mechanics and ground staff to get a plane ready for its return flight, the red knot does by its own wit and understanding of natural resources.”

    If what I have been reading is right, then the learned behaviors of the past generations have been passed on through DNA to the next generation. (instinct). And if this is the fact then past experiences, hurts, victories, ideas, etc could all be stored in our DNA and past down to the next generations. A friend made a profound analogy about this when I was talking to him over dinner a week or so ago. He said (and I am paraphrasing) that, this would explain why an adopted child would feel so distant from their adopted parents, opposed to a biological child. Because the bio child already has a mental/emotional connection to the parent. Part of his or her DNA already understands responses, moods, ideas, etc. So an adopted child wouldn’t have that connection and would feel like a total stranger, especially in contrast, when there is a bio child in the family too.

    >I am sharing this with you, for 2 reasons. One: If you have any of the struggles I do, I hope you can look further into some of these ideas and maybe answer some questions, maybe find some peace in realizing that events in your life haven’t been in reality the way they appeared at the time. That maybe you were looking at things incorrectly and with the ability to see things clearly and truthfully, you can find some comfort.

    Also I am sharing this with you because by sharing it, I find (like with talking to my friends) that I can learn more from other people’s ideas, experiences and beliefs which I haven’t considered.

    http://youarenotmydna.wordpress.com/

  • tom d

    Adoption - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Nov 5th 2012

    Anthony and Brandi,

    The feelings both of you express are very understandable. Having been adopted and experiencing feelings of loss and not fitting in is what happens to many adults adopted as children, especially if the adoptive parents were not attentive enough during childhood.

    Having said that, it is now time to move on with life. None of us can change the past but we can live in the moment and embrace life. That may mean going to psychotherapy to work on and resolve some of those bad feelings of loss and anger that make life feel sad. However, it is always possible to move on from those feelings and that is why I recommend psychotherapy.

    Dr. Schwartz Dr, i would do almost anything to move on and lead a normal life. i have tried so many times.

  • Deborah Matlack

    I am 65 and single, no children. Adopted at 5 months, told about it when I was about 9. Freaked me out, I always dwelt on "why did somebody throw me away". Spent a lot of years in therapy since childhood, had a drinking/drug problem for many years. Tried to search but records in both NY and NJ are closed (I was born in NJ, adopted in NY) for that period. I finally came to accept that I have only one set of parents and love both of them deeply (they are both gone now). Always felt rejected by my brother (their birth son). Have failed at marriage/relationships. Always the outsider looking in, trying to fit in, in school, social groups, church. The bible tells me that I AM A CHILD OF GOD, and that really opens things up, I have found a lot of peace and love, so that inner emptiness has been filled to a great extent. But I can go to that dark place and relive the memory of being taken away from my birth mother. Even in the first few days of life, one still remembers these things. We spend the rest of our lives compensating. Thanks for allowing me to share. God bless!

  • Matty

    Since highschool, I have seen countless therapists, and attended numerous adoption groups as i began "acting out". At times it has seemed helpful but then there are times that I feel so depressed, no amount of therapy can help.

    I was bulemic in highschool and dealt with other eating disorders throughout my young adult life. I sought out dead beat men and was heavily involved with drugs. I always presented as a confident person but always felt very insecure on the inside.

    I always think about suicide but I love my (adoptive) parents so much I can't bear the thought of the pain they would feel if I was dead. Yet I feel like death is my only salvation.

    Sometimes life seems okay but then I'm right back in a depression, using drugs, lying to everyone around me, feeling worthless...

    I was accepted ino Columbia universities graduate social work program but didnt complete it. I tend to sabotage anything positive in my life. My parents call it "shooting myself in the foot"... I hate using adoption as an excuse but I know all my failures somehow relate back to my adoption.

    I did a birth search when I was in my early twenties. I can truly say I was devastated when I found no informations. I also found out that my caregiver at the orphanage died years ago. I felt like my only connection was gone. I will never find my birth mom or birth family. I feel so jealous of those who got to reconnect. No one knows just how badly I want to find her. It makes me feel like such a baby at 28 yrs old.

    Will I ever grow up or am I stuck in this hole of emptiness??? Please help...

  • tom d

    ... you are out of luck as far as any help goes. no help = no hope!

  • Von

    'Today, adoption is common place and no longer carries with it the dark features of shame that colored it dating back to the 19th century and earlier. This is a positive change in making it possible for everyone to feel more open and assured about the adoption process.' Really? In my long experience this is not so, adoption may be more commonplace but stigma is alive and well as is the lack of ethics in the adoption industry.

  • Todd

    Please don't lose hope. I am not adopted so I can't directly experience your feelings however my spouse is adopted and I know a little about some of the emotions it involves. She was able to find out some information from the Post-Adoption registry which I believe helped her a lot in dealing with some of this stuff. The information helped to fill gaps in her knowledge and was able to correct some of the things she'd thought she knew about. I think she is a happier person now that she has this info and she is still trying to decide whether to initiate a search for her mother etc. I know I'm not helping a whole lot here, but mainly I wanted to say that I hope you won't give up. Social services, post adoption registries can maybe help get some kind of info even though it can seem like forever to get through the red tape and bureaucracy.

  • Jay

    Well Im an adopted person, and I have no intention in searching for my biological parents, because I am content with the family I was raised by.. But when I was a child growing up my adopted mother would always use hurtful words , if was to get in trouble or explaining my side of the story with conflicts among my siblings which are her natural children.. comments like

  • Lisa

    No one size fits all. Out of 8 adopted members in my family from new born to foster care. Only one contacted a birth mother. The results were there is no connection and the relationship went no where Also now 3 birthparents who want to protect their privacy. One a rape victim, one an 80 year old woman who grew up in a different time and my sister a college student who wanted to give a child a chance at life and then move on with her life. Bringing the child back into their life brings them back to the day it all started, a place they don't want to revisit. Of course they wanted the best for the child when choosing adoption. My sister however says if she knew then that birth certificates could be open she would have chosen abortion. To each their own. Mutual consent in opening birth certificates

    Life is not perfect and certainly doesn't always happen the way we dream it. We learn to deal with it and get help when needed.

  • FosterM

    I'm really scared now. My son came to live with me when he was 14 months old. I adopted him when he was four. Now he's nine years old. He has always known his first mom she pops in and out when she can. She has since had two more children -- girls -- whom she kept.

    He has recently started acting out in rage, saying that he is no good, yelling, kicking things, hitting other kids, and even occasionally trying to hit me. Sometimes he says he hates me for taking him away. Other times he hates her for abandoning him. I'm afraid one day he will hurt someone seriously.

    I'm taking him to his pediatrician tomorrow. I don't know if he's depressed, bipolar, ADHD, or just grieving again the loss of his mother and sisters. I love him. I never intended to hurt him by adopting him. He wouldn't have lived had he stayed where he was.

  • Sarah

    im a 14 teenager girl. i was adopted from bucharest romania. i have struggled with fitting in with my adoptive 'parents'. feeling abandoned and lost with having no one i know who can relate to my situation.

  • Verynchik

    I was put in orphanage at 8 months and lived there till I was five or so. Then I was adopted by a Russian family shortly after that and at age 9, I was send back to same orphanage due to seperation of the family. At age 12 , almost 13 I was adopted by an American women. At age 15 , I was sent to foster care cause me and my adoptive parent didnt get along. My whole life I have been longing for a mother figure and still have not able to feel that gap . Trust, rejection, abandonment is something that I can never escape . But I try to do my best and knowing that I am in better place than I would ever have been if I stayed in Russia. And that is what keeping me strong and keeps me moving on in life .

  • Linda

    I was adopted at 18 months by my aunt and uncle who couldn't have their own children. Up to that point I lived with my biological parents. I'm now in my forties and continue to experience depression and sadness over my adoption. My relationship with my a-parents was not close it was really bad, acutally. I never felt like they were really my parents. I felt so disconnected from them. It is hard to explain to someone if you haven't experienced it yourself.

    When I was in my early 20s I contacted my bio-mom and we began getting to know each other and healing. People always say things like 'your adoptive family is your "real" family' but that was not my experience. My experience was that my biological mother was my "real" mother and the woman who raised me was just pretending to be my mother. Even as I young child I knew she wasn't my mom. I didn't even like for her to hold me. I never found her comforting and as I got older it only got worse.

    Adoption can be so damaging to children. My bio-mom told me that she thought she was giving me stability by allowing relatives to adopt me, but the reality is that she traded one type of instability for another when she left me.

  • Jennifer

    I've learned that there are experiences you will never "get over". The magnitude of the experience is so deeply disruptive that it leaves a splitting crack in ones foundation - a gash in ones soul. We might spend our lifetime searching for the magical "patch" to repair this hole. We seek to find it through people, jobs, friends, religion, travel, etc, only to be left disappointed and unfulfilled time and time again. Maybe the reason is because it is something that one can never "get over". Its something so deep that it has changed you, forever. The answer might lie in accepting it and allowing it to change you, however painful the process of change might be. There is no growth without change, there is no change without loss and there is no loss without pain.

    They say, we spend our whole lives trying to make sense of our childhood.

  • bklynknight7

    what about the pain felt after losing first set of parents, then the new ones?

    And the fear of loss sets in discouraging one from forming new bonds which leads to loneliness and isolation. fear of being lost on the earth.

    what about family members that turn on the adopted children after their adopted parenst die?

    And the loss of the ability to trust to the point parnoia sets in. feelings of being an outcast, abandon, not appreciated and valued less than others in the new family.

  • Annette Albright

    I came across the article trying to understand why my adopted daughter behaves the way she does. My husband and I adopted her when she was 2 1/2 years old from foster care. Her biological brother lived with us for a year also but was later adopted by his maternal grandmother. The discord and damage she has caused to our family is amazing. She was not treated any differently than my own child who is 10 years older than she. As a matter of fact, I often apologize to my bio. daughter because I was a single mother while she was growing up so I was better able to provide for my adopted children..a total of 3. All my adoptions have been open however she is from a very dysfunctional family so they haven't taken advantage of the status, only when I provide transportation and money would they be inclined to become engaged. Bio. mom has since had 6 other children, none of which she has custody. Long story short, when visiting her bio. family, she has lied and told them that we have been abusive, is trying to keep her from them and that we don't want her to be around them...even though we were the ones who took her to them. Bio. Mom has never called for birthdays, holidays, sent cards, expressed any interest in the child and we all live in the same city. She has also been sexually active since the age of 14, found out she was bringing boys home from middle school and having sex with them, made a porn video with a neighbor at the age of 15, was caught shoplifting while shopping with her dad and brothers and they were all hauled to security, he said she never asked him to buy her anything but had stolen a purse full of stuff. As her adoptive parents, we have not been abusive, neglectful, uncaring. We have been loving and supportive and the best parents we can be. What have we gotten in return, nothing but grief. I am only sharing a small part of her actions. It just amazes me how all these adoptees post negative things about adoptive parents when all we have done was to take a child in our home that we felt we could love. At this point I am just tired and I see I am damned if I do and damned if I don't.

    One ... more note, I phone bio. mom and told her I believe her daughter is ready to come live with her...her response..

  • Bronwen

    I am the mother of two adopted children, both given up for adoption at birth. Our son is now 39 years old and we are just now feeling the full impact of destructive influences of his adoption .Our son has experienced every single one of the issues I see written here in these files and it breaks my heart to know that I have not been able to protect or save him from these issues. My daughter is 33, seems very happy and loving on the surface....but I wonder.... is that why she has been with her partner for 10 years and only recently decided to fully commit. Both have known of there adoptions since an early age. . Although we made it clear to them that we understood they may need to make contact with biological family, ( and were willing to help) niether of them seemed to want to bother. With the birth of my sons first child contact was initiated without our knowledge. From that time on things have deteriorated. The birth mother didnt want to know about it at all. The bio father and his family were contacted and a connection was made.

    After about 12 months Bio father committed suicide. Talk about double abandonment.!! Our son has been distant from us ever since. He has bitterness, anger and resentment, all directed at us!!

    It has become an unhappy situation, so much so that we now feel like WE are the ones who made the mistake and caused all the pain by being the ones to show up and take 'our baby' home to be loved. Adoption is heartbreak all round. Thank you for this opportunity to share, understand and be understood.

  • Anonymous-15

    I was only 15 when I became pregnant and thought that adopting my son to my parents was the best thing for him. I was still in high school and thought if I became pregnant my parents would alow me to marry which did not happen. I struggled his entire life with the decision that I had made. ALthough in my heart I knew I could not support him it was still something that ate at me my entire life. I was always allowed to be a part of his life and always felt I needed to do more for him just to show him that I really loved him and wanted what was best. I eventually finished shcool and met a guy and married him and had one other child. Now my first son is 29 and starting a family and he holds more resentment against me than ever before. He keeps saying things like now he has a woman who would never abandon his baby and that he never wants me to be a part of his life. As the birth mother of this man I feel I have done all that is in my power to show him that I really love him as much as a mom possibly could and was only doing what I thought was right from day 1. I also found this site in trying to find answers as to what I could do to try to help him to heal. I am struggling so bad and thoughts of suicide have plagued me since being cut out of his life completely. My mom keeps trying to mend the pieces back together but he is standing firm on cutting ties with me since he is feeling like I abandoned him. I have turned to my church and pray daily for God's guidance in helping all of us to cope with what can't be undone.

  • JH

    I like many here before me came to this site as I searched for information on adoptees. I was adopted when i was 4 months old. I was born in to an orphanage and adopted from that center. My quick adoption bio is: always knew I was adopted, have adoptive brother, had reasonably 'normal' upbringing, located and connected with birth mother when i was 38, connected with my bio brother (half) when i was 46.

    This blog has left me with two distinct thoughts. One, try as we might, many of us adoptees didn't know we felt abandoned. We didn't know that we felt like outsiders. We thought every felt like that. We didn't know that we struggled more than some with esteem - doesn't everyone struggle with that. We were told by eveyone what a wonderful family we had...and we did. We were told we were lucky because we were wanted.....which is true, many of us were wanted, i was wanted. We were loved by our moms and dads and so why should there be a problem. We didnt / don't know there is trouble a foot - deep inside. Two, how could non-adoptees really understand it / us? We dont understand it.

    When you are wired to feel you are less than, you don't know it - it just is. You don't realize you are viewing and behaving in the world that way - it just is. I am a fairly self aware individual. But, i can't catch this one - the feeling like an outsider, constantly striving for excellence so no one will think i am not enough. Its too deep to find it and correct it. It is literally just how I think. It would be like changing to starting breathing under water.

    I keep working at it. We all have different baggage that weighs us down. At some point, you really do have to just start going with it and say i choose to believe XXX. Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your character and your character becomes your destiny. I work at changing the tape in my head.

    - Love to all

  • I knew I was adopted but never knew I had issues from it

    I have not sent this to my wife. I wrote it to get my thoughts out of my head. I have told her that I feel detached and no longer sure if I want to be married. Is this crazy? Is this how anyone feels?

    To be fair I feel that our problem is my problem and is only yours by being married to me. I cannot simplify the issues nor can I make excuses to make myself feel better. I dumped a truckload of sh*t on you and I feel awful having done so. I never really understood what was going on in my own mind and am not sure that I ever will. My hope is that you will not read all of the quotes that I have found today written by people that were adopted and think that all I need is therapy and we will be fine. I have attached these quotes because I now realize that I am not close to being alone in the way my mind works and why I feel the way I do. It would be very easy for most people to say "get over it" but how do you get over what is at the core of your very being. How do you change something that can never be completely fixed? No, I don't want or think that finding my birth parents will help as that is not the issue. I think that as the first passage shows this is something primal going on and I believe that. I believe it because too many people feel the way I do and it cannot be coincidence can it? Once you have a big enough scar you can never really cover it up, make it disappear, or pretend that it doesn't exist. The toughest part is finding out after all this time that the scar existed in the first place.

    "I believe that the connection established during the nine months in utero is a profound connection, and it is my hypothesis that the severing of that connection in the original separation of the adopted child from the birth mother causes a primal or narcissistic wound, which affects the adoptee's sense of Self and often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression, emotional and/or behavioral problems, and difficulties in relationships with significant others

    Christina describes it perfectly, depression, forcing yourself to work, just wanting to be alone - that is how I feel every single day for most of my life now.

    I have never felt close to my parents and hid parts of myself from them. I've done 'good' things (school, activities) I think because I thought it would make them happy and 'bad' things like stealing and drugs. I feel unable to connect to people, make friends, enter and maintain relationships. I've never known my place in the world,

    My issues didn't really surface until I started having problems with my marriage. I felt numb and isolated. I had made mistakes that had hurt someone else, yet I had no concept of remorse or regret. This started to concern me as I thought I was emotionally insulated from everyone. Looking back, I know I've kept family, friends and lovers at arm's length. I've always maintained a safe distance from them. No one gets 100% of me...only what I want to give them. This can create problems with relationships as I was not always honest and the words "I love you" was something I just said because I thought that's what they wanted to hear.

    What does this mean? I have no idea but it is possible that I will never be able to be as close to you as you want me to be. Why am I telling you this? I tell you this because you cannot blame yourself. Yes, there are issues that involve you but there may not be solutions that involve you so you cannot drive yourself over the edge worrying about how to fix us. I know that it is easy for me to say and will not be easy for you to do. I may not ever be able to give you all of me and I guess that is what I meant by saying that I have not felt "in love" during our marriage. Maybe I have sabotaged our marriage without ever knowing that I was doing so. Maybe I will never be fully happy. Maybe you can't understand anything I am saying without thinking that I am over thinking everything. I don't blame you if you do because if I can't understand it how could you? Therapy I will go to and will hope for the best but over the course of time knowing what you now know you also have a choice. A choice to decide if you can live with only part of me knowing that the other part may never be there. The self doubt that you will feel knowing that part of me is not going to be a part of you. Ranting's of a crazy person? I don't know, what do you think?

  • jacob

    So i was adopted. i wasnt adopted at a young age. i was adopted at age five. my bio. mom overdosed on herion and my dad wasnt their. i was brought to a foster home which led to a adoption. the adoption seemed undesribly ok at the time age 7. the parents were abusive verbally pysically. for about nine years. if i was to describe my behavoir it would be reflected on what i felt i had to do in certain situations like being locked in my room. or not getting fed apropriatly. i feel that i dont have disturbing social behavoirs. all though i lack certain social skills.but then i dont know what these are i engage in social activities well but im introverted so i get tired. erik erikson said that adoptees use socal accepted excuses to cover issues. i dont have an issues with staying or consistantly staying intiamte with close driends or family. i actually prefer this with all of my relationships. i strongly believe that i am fine now and will continue to believe that my life willnot be damaged because of my bio mom and my adoptive parents cruelty. i would write more but im tired.

  • Tracey

    having read lots of your stories I have to share mine. I realise no one will answer but sometimes that's best. I was adopted as a baby. found my birth mum when I was 23. was told who my birth father was and found him when I was 28 - although he had died one month before. many many tears and regret at leaving it too long. birth mum was upset with me and told me many times about my birth father and the 'story'. found my birth fathers' family and have great relationship with my half siblings on that side. did DNA testing January 2013... results came back NOT my father. I am devastated she LIED to me. All those years of lies about my 'father'. So much anger - and now she won't tell me a single thing! apparently 'can't remember anything'. Well, she remembered EVERYTHING about my 'father' and their relationship. very angry emails sent back and forth with her saying she thought I was happy with my adoptive parents. !!! how dare she! it's not to do with that - I loved them to bits. I built bridges during the summer with her, but the questions just will not go away. have emailed to ask again if she has any memories.... complete silence. oh well. looks like I've lost again.

  • Anonymous-16

    It's good to see that people are still contributing to this blog.

    I hope you guys keep it up.

  • Doni

    Adopted at 5 years old. birth mother abandoned me at hospital. her sister adopted me. all kinds of crazy dysfunction. I didn't find out I was adopted till I was 7. My cousin (biological brother) told me. My bio mom had 4 boys before me, kept them. Had me, left me at hospital. Had my bio half sister ten years later ..kept her.I have been married 3 times/ have trouble with attachment and bonding with my husband. Once I suspect he may leave, not be faithful..etc, etc...I instantly detach. I have 3 children, no problem attaching /binding with them. I'm compliant, always feel like I should be glad and appreciative for anything anyone gives me.Inside resentment builds. guilt, responsibility rule my life. always felt less than, always wondered why my mom didn't want me, always wondered what was wrong with me. I feel your pain..wish I knew the answer.

  • Lea

    I was adopted age 7 by my grandparents my eldest sister is my biological mum.... I also have four brothers and another 2 sisters. I am 37 years old now and have been plagued by depression and low self esteem for all my life, age 17 I was put on antidepressants and have been on them ever since. I don't see my family only my mum (grandma) my dad passed away 4 years ago and family seperate even more. Never felt good enough like I'm a failure in everything I do. Apart from my kids I have three and all I do is for them I tell them I love them everyday.... Talk to them be there for them and luckily for me they have grown to be amazing teenagers that I couldn't be prouder of :) but still this feeling of being a loser reject stays with me and I always figured it was my fault I'm just not wired right etc, I didn't realise it could be connected to adoption. life just seems a constant battle of not feeling good enough and eating disorder and can't commit to relationships. My only good in life are my beautiful kids and my best friend of 30 years who still stands by my side :) and my mum although family don't want to talk about it or even think about it as it Is in the past and done with.

  • Anna Rachel Jane

    I was adopted from around 6 weeks. My birth mother called me Rachel, then the foster family called me jane and my adopted parents called me Anna. My adoptive parents kept my first names. So I always have quite a story when people ask why I have 3 names. I always remember being told from very young that i was specially chosen. It didn't ever feel special. And as a keen horse rider from age 5, I remember feeling free of my thoughts and anxieties every week during those hacks and lessons. Looking back I can actually remember even saying

  • Dave Shreve

    from my blog
    Being an adopted child, isn’t easy. There is peace in understanding….from an adopted child Let me start out by telling you a little about me and my experiences and that will help me explain what I want to share with you in this blog. I was born in Akron, Ohio in July 1966. I was immediately put in Children’s serv. I was there and between foster homes for 4 yrs, before I was adopted. I was born with several birth defects. Stuff that was easily fixed, but still required surgery. I believe that’s why I wasn’t adopted as an infant. Once I was adopted, I found out real fast that I wasn’t welcome. My adoptive parents wanted the social status of having 2 children, but not the responsibility of it. My adoptive mom (amom) didn’t like boys (for whatever reason) and didn’t like me. My earliest memories were her telling me she was going to take me back. Now I have been reading allot about feeling, emotions, subconscious, DNA, etc. for most of my adulthood. I research this topic, because it helps me deal with all the people I’m in contact with through the homeless shelters, food banks and other ministries I work with. Yet across the yrs, I am finding allot of understanding about why I am the way I am. I am 6’6” tall 240 lbs, shaved head, goatee, earring, etc. And I look mean to allot of people. It is all a facade. On the inside I am an overly sensitive, heart broken, guilt ridden, unlovable, failure. To see my life….(I am almost always smiling, I don’t have high and low moods, I am always consistently positive, I am Director of Operations (Plant Manager) for a local company, with about 50 people under me.) You would think life is great for me. It could be, if I’d let it. But I won’t / can’t. In my reading lately, I am starting to follow a direction that deals with more of my issues, opposed to the issues of the people I help. One thing that I have connected with some of the reading is the fact that I am adopted and the correlation between my feelings and others who have been adopted. One in particular is I feel unlovable. I have had 2 failed marriages, and many failed relationships with women, because subconsciously I can’t accept the love that they want to give me. Believe me, I want to be loved. I even wrote a poem when I was a teen about wanting to be loved, and had it published. Yet it never works. #1) the women I choose to be with, are generally needy, emotionally damaged themselves. 2ndly) Once they get to know me, and get upset with me about anything, no matter how insignificant. I convince myself that they have seen my faults and now they don’t like me, so I emotionally separate myself from them, to protect myself. It’s a vicious circle. Anyways, I have been reading a book called “Feelings buried alive, never die” By: Karol K Truman. It is a very good book and makes allot of sense. If you think about it. Think about our connection to our biological mother. Think of the way a babies or child’s mind would work when it is whisked away from its mother and dropped into a household of strangers. One minute you’re in your mommy, you feel her warmth, the next minute you are cold, alone, lights, strange voices. All you want is the comfort of your mom and her voice and it is gone. That’s traumatic to a baby. Or being a few months or a yr or 2 or 3… old. You are familiar with your surroundings, the people, noises, etc. Then you are whisked away to a strange house, strange noises, strange routine, etc. There is a ton of proven studies, showing that by the 3rd trimester our subconscious is actively gathering information. And our personalities and characters are fashioned by our DNA and subconscious. One thing I have learned lately, that was hard to swallow, until I thought threw it for a long time across a few weeks, is the fact that not only is physical traits passed down through DNA / RNA but also personality traits and experiences. If you have never heard this idea, right about now you may be questioning the validity of this claim. But if you consider what is referred to as “instinct” The question is raised where does that come from? Take for example Salmon. The trek they make “instinctively” up the river, 100s of miles to lay their eggs. Where does that come from? How do they know the way? There are many examples of instinct, but one really stands out to me. “The migratory habits of the species of bird called the red knot. The red knot is a sandpiper that each year journeys from the southern tip of South America to the eastern shores of the United States and beyond and then back again. That round-trip expedition, which covers more than eighteen thousand miles every year, takes the red knot through the arctic islands of the Canadian North, making brief “refueling” stops on the beaches of Delaware Bay and Cape Cod. The birds begin their northward journey in February each year, hundreds of thousands of them, up the coast of Argentina, over Brazil, with periodic stops to feed. From the northern coasts of South America, they take to the air for a nonstop week of soaring above the Atlantic that brings them around mid-May to touch ground on the marshy shore of Delaware Bay at the very time horseshoe crabs are laying their eggs by the millions. When you consider that during their sojourn in Delaware each red knot might consume 135,000 horseshoe crab eggs, you know they need that stop and time it perfectly. Plumped up for the remainder of their marathon across the vast Canadian terrain, they make their final stop north of Hudson Bay. There, in ideal northern summer conditions, they mate and breed, each female laying four speckled eggs, which she and her mate take turns incubating. Baby red knots build up their bodies soon with the feathers growing fairly rapidly. There is an incredibly scripted schedule for everything in the process. By mid-July, the females leave the males and their offspring, and start heading south again. The males leave almost exactly one week later. The little ones fend for themselves and then, in late August, they commence their nine-thousand-mile journey to Tierra del Fuego. They begin that flight, their first of such magnitude, without parental companionship. Somehow, with a precise “destination” in mind, as if equipped by flawless radar and instruction, they make their way from northern Canada along the eastern American coast and across the Atlantic to Guyana, Surinam, knowing precisely where to make their sojourns for food. And then, in what appears like a date and timed appointment, “coming in on a beam,” they rejoin the family at Tierra del Fuego for the southern summer. Here, on the balmy beaches of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America they feast, fattening themselves. A long molt and ideal temperatures combine to replace their beaten-up feathers so that they are ready for the long journey back north. What it takes a whole crew of highly skilled men and women at a pit stop in the Indianapolis 500 or a coterie of mechanics and ground staff to get a plane ready for its return flight, the red knot does by its own wit and understanding of natural resources.” If what I have been reading is right, then the learned behaviors of the past generations have been passed on through DNA to the next generation. (instinct). And if this is the fact then past experiences, hurts, victories, ideas, etc could all be stored in our DNA and past down to the next generations. A friend made a profound analogy about this when I was talking to him over dinner a week or so ago. He said (and I am paraphrasing) that, this would explain why an adopted child would feel so distant from their adopted parents, opposed to a biological child. Because the bio child already has a mental/emotional connection to the parent. Part of his or her DNA already understands responses, moods, ideas, etc. So an adopted child wouldn’t have that connection and would feel like a total stranger, especially in contrast, when there is a bio child in the family too. I am sharing this with you, for 2 reasons. One: If you have any of the struggles I do, I hope you can look further into some of these ideas and maybe answer some questions, maybe find some peace in realizing that events in your life haven’t been in reality the way they appeared at the time. That maybe you were looking at things incorrectly and with the ability to see things clearly and truthfully, you can find some comfort. Also I am sharing this with you because by sharing it, I find (like with talking to my friends) that I can learn more from other people’s ideas, experiences and beliefs which I haven’t considered. REFERENCES: http://www.mentalhelp.net books.google.com/books?isbn=1418570362 Ravi Zacharias -

  • Me

    I was given up for adoption at birth, at 6 months old I was adopted by an immigrant and his wife..they were extremely poor and.my life was horrible as I was beaten and molested until I was 12 years old...I was a troubled teenager and made bad choices..I was abused by almost every man I was with, my husband now is extremely abusive...I now do not trust anyone however, I have great faith that God has a plan for me....at 55 I decided to get a degree....I found a sister who was given up for adoption...she was adopted by Lawyers who gave her a wonderful life..she is now a Judge....

  • Joe

    My two wonderful children entered our life through adoption. And NO, I am not infertile. I am DAD. I'm giving them my best...better than I had. Here's the thing...everyone deals with stuff. You learn this as you get older. You're not that special!!! Sorry. If they (my kids) want to return to their dead-beat sperm-donor "dads" and drug additcted mothers (yes, I was the one in the NICU for 6 weeks, despite not being the "REAL DAD"...oh where was the real dad???...oh, he was shooting up!), so be it...good luck with that kids, go back to him. BE GRATEFUL someone gives a hoot, and you weren't born on some curb in some slum in Inida or Haiti. The fact is, they (my kids) ARE better off with us...but it doesn't really matter, because they were not wanted by their "REAL" parents...sorry I am being totally candid. And yes both adoption are open...but they (the REAL moms) always seem to have a lot of conflicts. I DID NOT TAKE ANY CHILD FROM ANYONE. We were just there. Oh and if you do adopt, pay for everything, wipe the kids butts, stay up with them in the night,teach'em to drive, drive'em to practice, help with homework, pay for college...NEVER EXPECT A THANK YOU FROM the "REAL" mom and dad...losers...(calling a spade a spade friends).

  • Anonymous-17

    I was adopted as an infant in the early 1960s by two narcissists who had tragically lost a previously adopted baby in an accident that was, in part, caused by their neglect. Because my adoptive father was a professional and social workers at the time believed that a new adoption would speed up my adoptive parents' grieving process, they seemed to be good candidates for another adoption. Though my material needs were satisfied, the abuse undermined my self-worth terribly. Once I moved beyond infancy, my adoptive mother had no interest in me since I was independent. My adoptive father treated me like a performing seal whom he could trot out to validate what a terrific father he was. He wasn't. He was a tyrant. They both had the moral compass of trolls.

    When my adoptive mother was questioned by her friends about her parenting and told that she should consider her children's needs before her own, and that she should reconsider her parenting style because it was so manifestly self-centred, she flatly stated:

  • Maia

    My partner was adopted and abused almost everyday of his childhood. He was told he was not theirs and called awful names and his brother, also adopted (4yrs older than him) was told to beat him up as a punishment to my partner.

    Can anyone help with ways for me to gently approach or get him help? He is quite stand-offish about confronting these memories and feels "stuck where he is, with darkness all around"

    Thank you so much

  • Justatxn

    Wow! I have read almost all of these comments as my husband and I have been looking into adoption. Our hearts have been breaking for a sibling group at our church in the foster system that come from an abusive home And while God may have other plans for them we feel like there is such a need for good homes with loving families. I was not adopted neither was my spouse but having been around several adoptions I really wonder why I wasn't. I can assure you that other people who were not adopted have these same feelings. I can say from experience that having the "privilege" of staying with drug addict abusive biological parents is not a better option. I too left my home and got my own life as quickly as I could. I am not close to my parents and I often wonder what it would have been like to have a real mom. I long for that to this day! I am saddened and discoraged by the number of negative responses toward adoptive parents. A loving caring home would be our top priority in the case that we did adopt and it sounds to me like no matter what kind of home is provided it will be seen as lonely, distant and unloving. I am completely discouraged. The comments here make me feel that it would be impossible to adopt any child and be able to make a positive difference in their life.

  • Ashley King

    I'm just glad to know that my feelings are not selfish, they are very normal to what other adopted people feel. So in a way that gives me hope. Maybe one day I'll be normal.

    When I was little, that was my biggest secret. I only told my best friend Then I finally asked her," Is it a big deal that I'm adopted?" (because it felt like it was) She told me no. I'm not sure if she was trying to say she wouldn't judge me or if she really didin't think it mattered. I never asked again but now, looking back on it al,I realize I haven't grown one bit. I still feel the same weight of anxiety, worthlessness, and guilt as I did back then. Aren't I supposed to mature and just 'get over it'?

  • Ariel

    What is best for the child is not being divorced from everything that made him who he is biologically and then told to be grateful for it. Even with dogs it's considered inhumane to separate them from their mothers for 6-8 weeks but we think doing this to humans at birth is not going to have long term consequences. Had I been told that my child's brain development was based on a continuum that started in the womb and lasts well after birth with tragic consequences if broken adoption would never have been considered. Harvard's center for the developing child explains that toxic stress can alter the genes in a child's brain and prevent healthy development. I've read so many studies now about children not seeing themselves as separate from their mothers for many months after birth (what many call the 4th trimester). If you separate a child from its mother before they are ready this interrupts the normal/healthy process of what is called ego development causing "premature ego" development. The child will see their environment as hostile and become independent before they are equipped to be. After all, if they could lose all that they knew being connected to their mother overnight then what gives them any assurance they couldn't lose this new caregiver? The relationship we have with our mother sets a foundation for all other relationships in our future. If that relationship is not solid then this will have long term consequences. That being said, that doesn't mean people can't overcome challenges, and some handle trauma better than others and go on to live healthy lives. The point is all adoptees have challenges to overcome and that should not be discounted. Yes, love is important and children should not be kept in abusive situations but anyone adopting should understand that children are not a blank slate and they will have trauma to work through (every one). I also don't think mothers should be told their children will be fine without them and that they are so easily replaceable. Unmarried mothers are told all manner of things to supply the billion dollar adoption industry greedy for the money adoptive parents are willing to dish out. I was made to feel like I have no value at all and that my child would actually suffer if I chose to keep him. I was told that chosing to parent my son was the most selfish thing I could do and that I would actually damage him by doing so. Any time a girl in the maternity home I lived in showed interest in keeping her baby the leadership would show her everything hard and difficult about parenting and point out every mistake she had ever made and how getting pregnant itself revealed the poor choices she was capable of making how that showed she was not responsible enough to be a good parent. Makes me sick. Most mothers of adoption loss I've known were utterly convinced that thier children deserved more than what they could provide because they were so broken down and devalued that they believed they were unworthy of given the babies anything more than a life with strangers who had more financial stability. It wasn't until a decade into the adoption that I was able to start the grief process and learn to overcome the dissociation so commonly involved. When I wasn't getting better or getting over the most sacred bond known to mankind I realized those promises were all lies. The truth is it does not ge better with time it gets worse. There is not a single day that goes by that I'm not profoundly impacted by the loss of my firstborn. I know mothers would suffer greatly for the sake of thier children but I wish my suffering didn't have to be in vain. It was un-necessary. Sure his situation could have redeeming aspects, I'm sure he has some happiness.. but at what cost?

  • Birthmother

    In 1963 I gave birth to a baby boy,I was an unwed mother. All of these years I thought it was the right thing for the child as this is what we girls were told. I was told I would forget and to move on with my life. The baby would be much better off with two parents that could afford to raise him properly and give him all the advantages anyone would want for their child. The child would be happy and well adjusted so I never thought otherwise. I suffered the loss,never really got over it,like eveyone said but I was sure the child was better off.

    After reading the comments by adoptive children,I see that that just isn't so. Since my son and I have found each other,it has been difficult for both of us to understand. He has so much anger for me,when I thought I did the right thing for him..at least was my intention. Both of us have so much to learn,I hope we have the time to understand!

  • Jan

    I'm 51 and being adopted feels like it gets harder as you get older! I was with my birth mother in a home for unmarried mothers until I was six weeks old. I'm told that these women were not allowed to just care for their own babies and instead were rostered to feed, change, bathe us babies. I can only imagine the anxiety that would cause in a tiny baby. I felt cared for growing up but not close to my adopted parents who are both still alive. I made contact with my birth mother and unexpected siblings 7 years ago. I know my adopted parents were disappointed. I visit with my birth family once or twice per year. I don't feel I belong to either family. Family gatherings with my extended adopted family feels increasingly painful. I see the similarity in my cousins as they age to look life my aunts and uncles. Family gatherings with my birth family are also painful as one half sister has two adopted children. I feel silenced. I'm married for the second time to a wonderful man who will listen when I need him to but of course he can never know how it feels. I've two grown up children from a first marriage who we see all the time and a grandson. Here I can be myself to some degree and get the sense of tribe that I crave. My adoptive parents are in their 80's and getting frailer. I find it hard to cope with the guilt of feeling numb about this. I've started to want to wish this time would pass quickly so I can fee free of the burden of not being able to feel loving. I hate it. I hate being adopted. Its a label I can never take off.

  • Anonymous-18

    We adopted 5 children from foster care--all different ages (no other children). It's been tough AND rewarding. We have had lots of help and support, but I'm not sure it's ever enough. We have dealt with running away, psychiatric hospitals, treatment programs and facilities, and even law enforcement, but I think the hardest part of our adventure so far is trying to have good relationships with our grown children. We don't fight, but it's not easy and comfortable. Feels like we all have walls up. I wonder if it's just me, or do they feel it too? They tend to shut down when we talk about things like this, so we live with our superficial and pleasant relationships. It's exhausting. I feel guilty, like I have let them down. Could I have been a better mother? Did I do more harm than good? I have read the comments about bad adoptive parents. Do my children feel the same about me? When they make comments about things we have done wrong, I just take it, but most of the time their facts are faulty or incomplete--they know only part of the story. Many times I feel I am being set up to fail. Working through these issues is like an itch I can't scratch. I find myself asking . . . is this as good as it gets? But I am also hopeful for the future. For all our difficulties and heartache we have experienced high school and college graduations, marriages and grandbabies and healing. When my friends talk about their adult children and their experiences and relationships, I have to swallow hard and talk myself out of the fog of grief and loss and undefined guilt. And then I remind myself that in spite of all the ups and downs and the stress and strain, we (all of us) HAVE created something imperfectly wonderful. For the prospective adoptive families out there I would say to you . . . DO IT! It may be excruciatingly difficult, but if not you, then who? My children would never have been returned to their neglectful, abusive and drug addicted families. My children still needed someone to love and care and nurture them. I suppose if I didn't love them so deeply, these experiences wouldn't be so painful. Sometimes pain goes with the territory. If given the chance to do this all over again, they may not choose me, but I would absolutely choose them.

  • Anonymous-19

    Crying reading these comments because they are my feelings so they are real. Adopted at 6 months after spending time in between with foster family. I am half hispanic though most people don't guess it. so many sad stories and I have my own to tell but can't go there today. since my reunion I have days where I feel like someone died. The grief is that bad. I started to see a counselor. There are days where I wish my life was over and if I would get cancer I would just want to die. I hope for peace but it seems no where in site.

  • Anonymous-20

    Reading all the comments gave me a feeling of relief. Assuring me that I'm not the only one that feels the way I do. I was born in a 3rd world country in 1980 and was adopted and brought to the States. I have the two most loving parents you can ever ask for. I was adopted by a hispanic couple, which my hertiage is hispanic. I was raised alone so it was kinda lonely. My adoptive parents are also older, so growing up other children and adults always thought my parents were my grandparents. I know I have a better life here, my birth mom gave me up for a reason. I was born in El Salvador in a time of war. I always look at it as a blessing. But I also know how it feels to be alone. To this day I am not close to anyone in the family just my adoptive parents and husband. I always felt like I never belong. I would like to meet my birth mother and thank her one day for allowing me to have a life I would have never had living there. I sometimes feel like no one understands me or gets me. I always think of my birth mom, wondering if I have other siblings, who do I look like, things of that nature. Well I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts and feeling....thanks for reading if you did.

  • Anonymous-21

    I was just looking at the italics for the format that we must select before we comment . I was going to select something that was either bold or ambiguous as the font , that is , after I had worked out very slowly what they were. Two things to note here

    1) Self presentation is extremely important to me as I am entirely responsible for my 'legend' - there is no assumed , instinctive or atavistic information for me to draw on.

    2)My adoption ,as damaging and impactive as it has been, does not have to be looked upon as a complete disaster.

    I am as resiliant and resouceful a person as anyone I have ever met and more so than most. My rootless beginings have allowed me to live so many different existences , which had I experienced a conventional or grounded upbringing , I would not have felt compelled to try. I have an almost limitless range of scenarios which my life could have taken and my current life is so different from my potential life , that I think that I must have developed some kind of hardwired preservation instinct which allows me to flourish anything has been possible, so if I want to achieve something then everything is not just possible , it is probable. I have not just inherited my parents shortcomings and had them hardwired by nurture. Their limitations do not provide the natural peramiters of my existence . Sure , my adoptive parents shortcomings are there , but they are not instinctive and unavoidable. Equally , I can recognise their strengths and chose to embrace them.

    Non adopted people will read this and mutter darkly about disassociative disorders and ego issues , but that would be them discounting something which they have never experienced and could never understand. Their lives are , by definition too grounded to get this and as crazy as it sounds I do not envy them that.

  • Anonymous-22

    My birth mother was 16 years old when I and my twin sister were born. My adopted mom worked at the hospital where I was born. She was also a twin, she was having marriage problems and I think she thought it would be neat to have twins and that it would help her marriage. My parents eventually divorced when I was 3-1/2 and we ended up moving across the country from my dad. My dad remarried and his new wife didn't want him to have contact with my mom so I rarely saw him or heard from him. My mother was very poor and we survived through the kindness of relatives and government handouts. My mother eventually remarried when I was 9 to a man she had only known for a few weeks. He ended up being physically, sexually and emotionally abusive.

    I remember when I was growing up feeling like my sister was the only family I really had. I didn't fit with my mom or dad's family. I never felt accepted by them. In my teenage years I went a little wild because of the horrible environment I was in with my mom and step-dad. I think my mom's family always thought it was because I wasn't really blood related. I grew up hearing comments to the effect that I wasn't as worthy of love because I wasn't really part of the family. I should be lucky for what I got, that someone rescued me. I should be GRATEFUL.

    I did end up finding my birth mother and meeting her and her family. It was strange. I looked like this person, but I felt nothing for her. She wanted to have more of a relationship with me I think, but I didn't fit with her or them either. I was disconnected. My birth mother would never tell me who my birth father was and claimed he didn't know she was ever pregnant with us. I've given up on ever finding that piece of my history. My birth mother ended up dying of Crohn's Disease a number of years ago.

    For the most part my adoption doesn't bother me. But sometimes it comes up and I feel the sore spot on my soul that never heals. I'm married, have two beautiful boys and my own special family. I fit with them and I am loved.

  • Anonymous-23

    Hi I am 16 years old, I was adopted when I was 4 along with my brother and My half sister. My Birth Mum was 22 when she had me. Her and My Birth Dad ran into trouble when my brother was about 6 months old and I was 2 and a half. Until recently I have been fine but now all the emotions come out. I am scared of rejectiion so when it comes to asking boys out I can't. Does anyone know a way to help? I read the letters from my birth Mum and would kind of like to see her. Until now i always questioned 'Who am I' .But since reading the letters I don't ask it as much. I am grateful to the family who have taken me in and am glad to have had a second chance in live.

  • Sara

    I'm 23 years old and was put into a foster home when I was 6 months old. I was adopted by my foster parents shortly after. Guess what....IM NORMAL. I DONT HAVE DEPRESSION. I DONR FEEL LOST. I DONT HAVE FEAR. I have been given a LIFE. I've never met my birth parents but found out they died when I was a teenager. Did this make me sad or feel like I was missing something? NO WAY JOSE. Who cares!!!!! LIFE IS WONDERFUL. if you are adopted, enjoy it because you are lucky to be on this earth!!! As for parents who want to adopt....DO IT. parents are not defined as people who "made you" PARENTS ARE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU AND CARE FOR YOU AND BELIEVE IN YOU.

  • Anonymous-24

    Some of the stories fit how I feel although I was not adopted and had a good family although there was a lot of arguing, I had develoomental delays and difficulties desoite being bright, there was a lot of recent stressful events in the family and I had a week in special care after birth. There is mixed profiles, clumsiness, developmental delay, some anger and eccentricity in my family as well as high intelligence. I had an obsessional thinking thing when I was a teenager that I might have been adopted, but really I do fit. My mum found my brothers easier and bonded with them better, but she did and does love me. I'm still floundering and feel unreal and detached and have low self-esteem issues. I was bullied at school and didn't finish uni, though I got married. I had bad pnd. I've been not quite diagnosed with OCD, borderline and avoidant personality, autism spectrum disorder, or dyspraxia, specific learning difficulties. My gifted son has been diagnosed with ASD, my daughter has autism like problems. Genetically and practically, all these things tend to go together. We're keeping together as a family but it is not easy and I have quite a few protective factors.

    Adoption is a huge thing, but it doesn't make you an alien or any less one of us. We can have those feelings - but it's never one thing that goes into that. Odd as it may be to call adoption 'one thing'.

  • Laney

    Wow! I can't believe how difficult this is to write...I was adopted in the late 80's by my birth mothers sister & her husband. Growing up I always did feel a little bit out of place. I remember I was 12 years old, both my adoptive parents were out one day when I found the adoption papers, this was definitely the most heartbreaking and worst day of my life. To me that confirmed why I felt so out of place... Looking at all the family portraits hanging on the walls, feeling like I needed to smash them all because I was so angry, I cried myself to sleep that night.

    I have never told my adoptive parents about that day, we've never had a close relationship, especially with my adoptive mother. I was a very rebellious teenager, I ran away with a boy at 16, I no longer felt welcome in the family Home.

    I am now a mother to 4 healthy boys whom I love with with my heart and soul, I have a wonderful loving partner who is father our youngest boys. Life for me has changed my adoptive brother passed away two years ago now, although we were never close I was never included in the preparation for his funeral. My adoptive sister is now pregnant with her first baby, as much as I love her I just can't stand being around her. She has made it clear that this baby of hers will be my adoptive parents first blood grandchild which I am completely aware of obviously! But I don't feel there is a need to announce this.

    Many times I have tried to discuss this situation With my adoptive parents but they never seem to give me clear answers. I obviously know who my birth mother is but I have no clue who my birth father is, it is so frustrating having no clue who you are. I have always felt there is just no place for me on this earth, I hurt each and every day because of all the questions I have that are unanswered.

  • Stefan Niemcewicz

    i was six months old when I was adopted. I am 50 I never bonded with my adopted parents meaning i was treated like i owed them something for adopting me I believe the real reasons they adopted were totally selfish and toxic. They are really bad parents and in my opinion not very good people. They raised me has their own son and tried to teach me their culture and claim that they adopted because it was righteous and unselfish . Thats untrue as they never mention the fact that they could not have children of their own . Nor ever doing any interpersonal work to deal with that horrible truth and loss. I was nothing more then a replacement baby and when things got difficult I became the scapegoat in my immediate family privately but outwardly shunned and rejected ignored and blamed. And extended family even at school my teachers everyone treated me as if I should be perfect and gleefully grateful that I was adopted. my parents never stood up for me and regularly publicized my faults and my struggles horribly shaming me and getting lots of agreement from everyone. in all ways they chose to condem me and not give me a safe environment to learn and grow they punished me for every success and failure . i was well into my 30s before I realize that they had these insanely dysfunctional expectations thatsomehow magically i should have known what to do how to act every single difference between right and wrong never spell or break anything or ask questions or challenge thought. And my eighth-grade graduation my mother held up a sign that said

  • Jenny Frow

    Hi, I am 48 years old successful and happy, level headed independent lady.

    I was put in to a children's home age 4 my birth mother died when I was 8 I stayed in children's home until I was 10 & half I could only just about read & write I was a number, no one's child, no one cared, school had me down for non achiever and I carried the legacy of a well known family name ... associated with failure! Nonetheless, I was tenacious and resilient although school did not recognise a 8 year old child desperate to learn! I was farmed out as it was then known to a foster family with my bio sister to a married couple young with two girls of their own ...my foster carers were told they will give us everything but, not to expect nothing in return!!

    Yet, they discovered a child who embraced their world, their love and who knows that she is who she is today because of her foster family whim she sees as parents today foster care was my saviour and I am thankful to my parents guidance and ever lasting love some children are resilient and accept and take the opportunity life brings I don't know all of my birth family I don't really feel it matters I'm happy with life :-) so I say give a child a home some of us are enriched by the opportunity to be part of a family.