I was adopted: how can I cope?

I was adopted: how can I cope?

Best Answers

  • DeeDee
    Answer ✓

    Hi Amanda,
    I'm not sure what aspect of adoption you're struggling with, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction.

    Adoption can be very challenging for adoptees. Some struggle with identity or sense of belonging. Many experience grief over the loss of their birth families — especially those who were adopted as older children. Whatever your situation, it’s important to be open and honest with your feelings. Talk to your adoptive parents about what you’re going through. They may have no idea how you feel. Tell them what you want/need to feel safe, loved, and secure.

    You may also want to try writing in a journal. Writing can be very therapeutic and help you sort through confusing or troubling emotions. The key is to get your feelings out, so they don’t cause you further problems later on. It’s never a good idea to keep your emotions locked away, especially if you are dealing with past hurt and trauma. Not dealing with these issues can lead to more serious problems like depression and anxiety.

    It also can be extremely helpful to ask for outside help. Talk to other adoptees about how they coped with the challenges of being adopted. The Adoption Forums at Adoption.com is a great place to start. There’s a forum for Adult Adoptees (https://adoption.com/forums/100/adult-adoptees/) as well as others on relationships, search and reunion, and general support. You’ll find plenty of people who are in the same boat as you as well as those who have been through similar situations.

    If you’re having a lot of difficulty coping despite trying these things, consider seeing a therapist. A trained professional can help you process feelings of grief and loss and deal with trauma from past abuse and neglect.

    In case you didn’t know, adopting.org also has a page dedicated to adoptees that includes support groups, books and articles, and a listing of therapists and counselors. You can find the page at: http://www.adopting.com/adoptees.html

    You may also find the following resources helpful:

    20 Quotes From Adoptees About Being Adopted - https://adoption.com/20-quotes-from-adoptees-about-being-adopted-that-every-adoptive-parent-should-read

     Adoptee, Olympian, Teacher: Mary Wineberg Shares Her Story in a New Book - https://adoption.com/adoptee-olympian-teacher-mary-wineberg-shares-her-story-in-new-book

     Hope this helps! Best of luck to you!

  • Answer ✓
    Hi Amanda! 

    Like Dee, I am very sorry you are struggling. Know that you are not alone. The adoption world has done a disservice for too long by only showing adoption in a joyous light. The loss that comes with every single adoption is also largely ignored. By ignoring this loss, it often makes adoptees feel isolated and less than. For that, I am sorry. 

    Feel free to share a bit more about your struggle. With just the information I have, I would highly suggest connecting with other adoptees. This could help you tremendously to have a group of people who you will find may share many of your experiences. You can find these groups largely on social media. While it may seem like in person groups would be best, and they may be depending on your personality, many people really prefer these less personal groups so they can remain relatively anonymous. You can also find some Adoptee Support on the Community Pages at Adoption.com 

    If you live near a larger city or find yourself lucky enough, you may find an Adoptee Support Group in your local area. These groups are more personal than groups on social media groups. They can also give you a sense of community within your own community. While being anonymous can have it's benefits, there are just sometimes when you need a community around you physically to reach out to. People who truly know you and also know what you are going through. 
  • Answer ✓
         First of all, know that you are allowed to have feelings. I am not an adoptee, but I know many people who were adopted and a lot of them have expressed to me that sometimes they feel like they aren't allowed to grieve. People tell them they should be grateful, or not have questions, or not feel loss. But being adopted is a loss, and it's something that you need to work through. It's so normal and healthy to have grief, as long as you learn how to handle it.
         I would echo Dee's advice- go see a therapist. A trained professional who knows your story and exactly what you are struggling with will be of the most help by far. In my experience, therapy has helped me through grief more than anything else. 
         Without knowing your story or the specific aspects that you are struggling with I can't give much specific advice. But I can go over some things that I have seen are common issues for adoptees, and how they have learned to cope. 
         Most adoptees that I know who come from closed adoptions struggle with questions. Where do I come from? What is my story? Who are my birth parents? I feel so much for adoptees who have to deal with this, I can't really understand exactly what it feels like of course, but it must be so hard. Some people cope with that by actually trying to find the answers- and the best way to do that is find your birth parents. There are lots of ways you can do this. People campaign on social media to find their birth parents all the time. A more official way you can try to find them is to join as many reunion registries as you can. A reunion registry is basically just a forum where you input whatever information you have and see if it matches up with anyone else. In case you're interested, here's a link to more information on adoption reunions, including a registry to get you started. https://adoption.com/reunion. That's not the only registry out there, and you can join as many as you like. 
         Finding your birth parents may not be an option, or maybe you simply aren't interested in that. That's okay too. Another way to cope with those problems is to talk with your adoptive parents about whatever information they might have. And again, a therapist might be a great option to help you come to peace with your questions. 
         Another issue that I see frequently with adoptees is a sense of isolation. It makes sense- in a way, you are different than everyone else around you. Lita's suggestion to find support groups for adoptees is really great.
         Sometimes adoptees feel rejected or angry at their birth parents. It's okay to feel that way. I can't speak for everyone of course, but I know lots and lots of birth moms, and I am one myself. I think that it is very likely that your birth mother loved you like I love my birth daughter. I did not place her for adoption because I didn't want her. I did want her, with all my heart. But I also wanted her to have a happy life where she would be safe, and I couldn't do that for her. She would have grown up torn between me and her birth father, and I couldn't bring myself to put her through that, even if that meant that my heart would be broken. I miss her every day, and I hope that she understands that I placed her out of nothing but love. 
         This does NOT mean you can't be upset about it. In this context, "if you love them, let them go" has a meaning that can really hurt. I want you to know that you are good enough, and that love does not always have to mean separation. I hope this helps a bit. Feel free to share more, and we will all do our best to help with specific issues you may be having. 
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