Listen to Adoptees

Trigger Warning: This article includes quotes touching on traumatic experiences like abuse.


It would be ridiculous to make blanket statements about all children living with their biological parents, yet adoptees are often marginalized into positions of inferiority or alienness.

“So, your parents didn’t want you?”

“Your adoptive parents must be such amazing people because they chose you. You should be so grateful to them.”

“I’m sorry that you were adopted. It must be awful.”

Like all minorities, adoptees face stereotypes and assumptions. They are either called tragedies or miracles. Irreversibly damaged or infinitely blessed. Less than or backhandedly more.

Every adoptee’s story is unique, but they do not owe anyoneyou explanations. Their complex histories are not fun trivia facts for oneyou to learn. When they are being open and vulnerable enough to share about their experiences and how they feel, it is one’syour job to listen.

From a combination of videos, articles, and blogs, I have compiled a short list of anecdotes from adoptees to exemplify the diversity of their perspectives and experiences:

On Parents

“What it is (apparently) difficult for some to understand is that adoption, despite being a necessary and oftentimes wonderful thing, always starts with loss (with trauma, if you will) and that a good adoptive family and even a good reunion with original/natural family doesn’t make that go away.” -Through the Eyes of an Adopted Kid

“I have no emotional attachment to my biological mother or father, I never knew them and I never will.”

My childhood was a nightmare from hell. At the age of four my “parents” (adoptive parents) were already demonstrating a complete lack of regard for my well being. I was beaten multiple times with belts and boards, my “father” even went as far as to strip me naked for these beatings and he would turn the television up so that no one could hear me screaming.”

“Despite our differences and despite some things that have happened, they (parents) would die for me, and they’ve sacrificed so much for me...They’re my family. I don’t even use the word adopted parents, like, that’s insulting to me...they’re just my parents.”

“My (biological) mother abandoned me due to reasons of her mental health, I miss her terribly and wish I could just talk to her and make sure she’s okay.”

Adoptive parents are not saviors. Biological parents are not villains. It is more complicated than a simplistic narrative of absolutes.