I am open about being adopted as an adult, but I haven’t always been. There are two main reasons I’m changing my tune on this: 1) I have dealt with stigma to being adopted and want to remove that and 2) I have friends who are expanding their families and I want people to see that this a great option.
I think most people are well intended and don’t mean to be rude, but every one of the questions I have written on here has been asked of me several times. So, while my answers written may be a little sassy on some, I hope they are as informative about adoption as they are all also expelling of stigmas surrounding it. However, these are all questions I often get as someone who is adopted.
Who are your real parents?
- My real parents are the ones who claimed me at dance recitals (which is saying something because I’m an awful dancer) and paid for my college… are you referencing my biological parents?
Was it life changing to meet your biological parents?
- No. Maybe other people do feel that way though. I feel TV highly romanticizes this.
How old was your biological mother?
- Her mid-twenties. Young teen mothers are not the only ones who place children for adoption 😉 .
How old were you when you were adopted?
- Five, but I have been with my parents since I was 5 months old.
Why couldn’t your parents have kids?
- Infertility, but lots of people who don’t have infertility issues adopt, too. When people ask me more specific questions about their infertility, I am open depending on the setting and the intimacy of friendship. I always find it odd when people ask me about the intimate details of my parent’s fertility though?? Do you often ask your parents when/how they have sex or how their ovulation is? I’ve honestly had people ask me questions like that before and I’m like: you are weird.
Why were you given up/ why did your biological mother get rid of you?
- I wasn’t “given up” or “gotten rid of.” I’m not a stray puppy! I was placed for adoption and a loving family was chosen for me by my biological mother. For those who are religious, I also think God helped out A LOT with this. Questions like this frustrate me because they stigmatize the very woman who sacrificed to find me a great home. If you are pro-adoption, learn to revere the women who place children for adoption. I was never abused or neglected and I was a very fat and happy 5 month old when my parents received me.
How many biological siblings do you have? Do you all have the same biological father?
- I have three from my biological mother. As for the second question, that’s kind of an inappropriate question to ask someone, but I’m pretty positive I have one full sibling.
Your siblings that you grew up with aren’t your real siblings. Do you get along with them?
- Actually, they are my real siblings. I grew up with them, spent Christmas with them, etc. We don’t particularly get along, but this exists a lot outside of the adoption world too 😉 .
How much did your parents buy you for?
- This is where I normally just stare at the person, but COME ON.
Did your biological parents love you?
- I’m sure they did! Do you love your offspring? There is still a huge and lifelong grieving process for women who place children for adoption and I don’t think this should be shamed.
Why were you placed for adoption?
- I had very expensive health issues and because I really just think it was supposed to happen. I almost died from respiratory issues once in the night, needed two eye surgeries, had severe food allergies and skin sensitivities, needed a tongue surgery, and I had breathing problems. Also, frankly, my biological mother just thought I really deserved a home with two parents within my religion and really loved my parents. Her sacrifice for me to have that is very appreciated.
Have you ever met your biological parents?
- Yes, and many other people in my biological family, too. I will admit that it is very nerve wracking, but everyone has been very loving. My parents are very supportive.
When did you find out you were adopted?
- I’ve always known. I don’t remember a specific time not knowing.
When was the first time you remember knowing you were adopted?
- My first memory of this was actually an irrational nightmare I had as a three year old. A faceless mannequin came to our door and tried to take me with her. I remember running to my parents room and sleeping with them the rest of the night, but obviously couldn’t communicate this. I say irrational because my biological mother was never evasive growing up and never threatened my family in anyway. I always heard nothing but positive things growing up.
Did you ever feel different because you were adopted?
- Yes and no. For me, I just wanted to have a really secure attachment to my family, and if that didn’t happen then I often thought it was because I was adopted (whether rational or not). My grandpa was kind of the best grandpa in the world though and I always felt very secure and close to him. I always felt very close to my parents.
What has been your family’s experience with adoption?
- My siblings were adopted through foster care and I was adopted privately without an agency. My parents also took care of two little girls for several years when I was little that they weren’t able to adopt. I do think open adoptions are nice because you can fill in some gaps and people have questions, but I also know that because of boundary issues they aren’t always functioning or possible.
Have all of your experiences with adoption been positive?
- No. However, ask yourself how many 100% positive experiences you’ve had with people on highly emotional subjects with expectations and often times grieving.
How was it for you knowing that your parents knew your biological mother growing up?
- Awesome! It was a very positive thing. My parents only told me positive things about her growing up and I thought it helped me develop a healthy perspective on my biological family. I was enrolled in piano lessons and my parents bought me a camera when I expressed interest because they knew these were interests in my biological family.
Do you still have contact with your biological family?
- Some, yes. For me, I stay in contact with anyone who is emotionally healthy. It has been really enriching and enjoyable for me!
Do you think you have mental health issues because you’re adopted?
- Is it there genetically? Yes. Do I think I have PTSD from being adopted? No, that is from other circumstances. However, I think I would always have been more easily predisposed to developing anxiety issues because of how I’m honestly wired. Do I think people who are adopted have more mental health issues? Maybe yes, maybe no. I think the question people really are asking is: is there a connection between attachment/ bonding and a correlation between mental health issues. The answer to this is: yes. Abuse/ neglect/ exposure etc. can all have a huge impact on attachment and bonding. However, I also think people look for answers and places to blame sometimes with mental health problems and I don’t think it is all about adoption.
What is your ancestry?
- I knew a little bit of information, but I submitted my information to Ancestry DNA to get rest of the process figured out for me. It was helpful! Part 2 has my results. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Are you like your biological family?
- Yes and no. I do think my interests and hobbies are much more like my biological family than my family. My personality is really similar to my biological little sister’s in that we have the same Meyer Briggs and almost the same enneagram results.
- I’m a little bit of an odd duck in my adoptive family in that my interests and hobbies are way different. I’m also a lot more emotional than my family whereas they aren’t very sensitive (not in a bad way). That being said, even though my Dad and I really get each other, we operate very differently.
Who do you look like in your biological family?
- This has been a life long journey for me of figuring things out. I looked like my biological mother when I was a toddler, but I honestly think I could have easily passed for my grandparent’s kid (and they had both passed before I was born, so no, that is not an option haha). I look so much like my biological grandmother when she was young and so much like my gandfather’s family in general.
What are things we should be mindful of as adoptive parents?
- Your child will possibly have a different body type, race, interests, hobbies, talents etc. than you. Some of these may be because they are adopted and some of these might just be because they are a different human than you.
- Please be careful in how you discuss and address adoption and please be careful with how you allow others to address it in front of your children. I remember being really annoyed as a child when people asked my family questions about the little girls who lived with us that were entirely too personal for them to ask; “do they have the same fathers?” etc. I remember it filling me with shame and began wondering questions like: do people treat me differently because of these questions? Are people asking information about me that is private?
- How you discuss the biological family is how the child will think of themselves. If you are struggling doing that in a constructive or positive way, meet with a non-partial help like a counselor to help you work through this.
- The way you think your family may respond to adoption may not be the way they actually respond to it. A child who is adopted should not be treated differently, referred to differently, etc. If there is a person in your life who is treating your child like this, are you ready to find resources to work it out or are you ready to go to bat to make sure your child has healthy influences in their life? This isn’t something that should be ignored or should be allowed. I was estranged from some of my family because of this growing up and it honestly stunk knowing that our relationship couldn’t be the same, but it would have been more hurtful to have been exposed to it. As an adult, I have had to stand up to family members over these types of issues and it is honestly very frustrating.
- Are you ready to seek out professional resources? Adoption creates blended families and I think people are often naive to this. I think everyone can use therapy, but I think it is important to have good resources with adoption. Stress because of different behaviors or just differences in general should not take precedence over loving a child well.
Would you adopt?
- Maybe. It is really expensive. Ideally, I’d like to biologically have children first. However, I know how blessed my life has been because of it and if we feel called to it, we’ll go for it.