Only Wanting Confirmation

This adoptee’s experience is not unusual.

Today I’m feeling more riled up than “normal” about the way I’m feeling pulled to keep my mouth shut about adoption trauma and the fact that you can have a “good” adoption and still be traumatized — because I have MANY friends and family members who are adoptive parents who hate for me to stir the pot.

I know this is pretty typical behavior for me – “don’t stir the pot, don’t make anyone else uncomfortable, stick with the narrative they want to hear….” And yet, I have pulled away from all these people since they adopted their children because “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and I don’t think they want to have a constructive dialogue.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here – how do you deal with those in your circles who have adopted children and only ask your (adoptee) perspective to hear what they want to hear?

One international adoptee had this to say – I literally don’t care and I’m really honest. I can’t fake it. I try to phrase it in a respectful way but I just speak my truth and they can think what they want.

Another admits – I’m at the point where I say what I think and let the chips fall where they may. The truth is too important to hide.

An adoptee from a domestic infant adoption uses avoidance when possible – I try to avoid the conversation because it is still so triggering for me – if someone tries to pull me in, I speak my mind. I try to be concise but honest. I try not to overextend myself emotionally, but not saying anything feels worse sometimes.

It is slightly different from a birth mother’s perspective – I had family before I placed my son that had adopted and some now that are looking to adopt. I get told that every time that I need to respect the practice of adoption. WELL, I still say how traumatic it is and how they need to stop talking for their adopted children. I’ve been banned from gatherings and everyone just says I picked the wrong adopters and all kinds of other dismissive stuff. I will always hate adoption -period – and will always listen to what the adoptees in the family have to say for themselves.

From a trans-racial adoptee –  I walk a fine line, personally and professionally. If people ask for my opinion or experience, I answer honestly while keeping my audience in mind. I have resources to suggest in case they ask.

Finally . . .

Here’s the thing – we (as a society) KNOW that the biological mother is crucial to proper human development. Humans start bonding in utero. We aren’t born blank slates. Human infants don’t begin to see themselves as a separate entity until starting around 6 months. Before that time, the baby sees themselves as part of her still. She* (and ONLY HER) is the baby’s nervous system. Her repeated comforting gestures makes the infant feel safe in a way a stranger can’t. She’s that baby’s EVERYTHING. The world is scary, big and loud to babies. Turning to the only familiar person for comfort is the way infants learn what is truly scary, and more importantly, what’s not. It’s how humans learn to control our emotions and self soothe. There has been enough research on human development to know that the biological mother (most importantly), biological father and extended biological family are vital to the child’s healthy development and developing a good self image for themselves. Modern science can tell us exactly what is needed for healthy infant development, and why – despite the lack of research done directly related to adoptees – we adoptees and many other people already know adoption flies in the face of everything necessary for proper child development. Humans aren’t interchangeable. Everyone knows that. It’s crazy how there is such a disconnect, when it comes to adoptees. Like science has PROVEN that humans need certain things in infancy and childhood to grow into healthy adults. Do people glorifying adoption think “except adoptees”?? Why don’t adoptees need those things? Many seem to want to believe that adoptees will be just fine without them. Better than fine, in fact, LUCKY! It makes NO logical sense to an adoptee.

Where does this disconnect happen? Do they really think we’re not human beings, so we don’t need what every human being needs?? Or do they all just have an image in their head that our biological families are always drug addled, wretched abusers who abandoned us without a second thought? The more likely is that second explanation. And if that’s true, why do they have to hard press so hard, exploiting vulnerable mothers, and make it impossible for them to change their minds? Literally that is the way the laws are. Adoptees are treated like they are in the witness protection program from their own natural families. Adoptees are supposed to believe they were super unwanted and no one could “force” their natural parents to actually parent them. NONE of that makes logical sense. They get furious if asked to realize the scope of the damage they’ve done.

Feeling Broken

An adoptee writes – Do any other adoptees struggle with feeling like they will never fully fit in anywhere – not at work, not with a friend group, etc? I even feel like an outsider in many adoptee support groups being a “transracial” adoptee – being black and adopted into a white family seems to be outside of the norm even for adoptee. I’m wondering if I will ever find a group where I really feel “included.” a lot of this comes down to race, at least for me. Being raised in a white suburban family I struggle to fit in with other black people, and obviously I will never fully fit in with non black people. My mom was especially “racially abusive”. Culturally black things, like how to care for my natural hair texture, were never taught to me. I’m 28 years old and still learning how to care for and style my own hair, it’s depressing especially because I can’t really relate to other black women because of this lack in how I was raised.

She finds lots of support from other adoptees who feel that too, even without the racial complications, and many who have the same racial complications show up too.

Yep. Always felt this way! I didn’t find out my full adoption story until a few weeks ago. It all makes sense now. You know how when friends are walking in a group, there’s always that one person that awkwardly lags behind, while the group makes no effort to make room for them? That’s me.

I certainly have no true understanding of being a trans-racial adoptee but simply as an adoptee, I sooo related to your feelings of not fitting in anywhere. It was and still is huge with my brother (he too was adopted and we are like oil and water), with my cousins and friends etc. Actually everyone. The difference is I am a white adoptee, adopted by white parents and probably much older than you. I will be 70 in May. All my life, in all situations, I have and still do to a point feel this way. So I can only imagine how much more challenging it is for you. I am so sorry you feel like I do. Stinks that is for sure.

Hi, I am also a trans-racial adoptee too. Definitely have felt not Asian enough and not American enough plenty of times. I’m currently at an age where idgaf as much as I used to. It also helps to be living in an area where there were more people from the Korean Asian Diaspora around who are also navigating life not ever feeling like they fit in.

Take a look at Hannah Jackson Matthews. She is an adult Black trans-racial adoptee. Hannah Matthews is a writer and educator, who employs her personal experiences and formal education to make the journeys of fellow trans-racial adoptees to self-acceptance and identity reclamation less isolating and injurious. There appear to be plenty of other Black trans-racial adoptees following her social media.

Also suggested is a Facebook group – Transracial Adoption – Community of Learning and Support. Though a word of warning from someone else – “I feel like that group has the most disrespectful and toxic adoptive parents that I have ever witnessed in a mixed group.” There are other groups with “Only” in their name that seem better. Two examples – Support Group For Transracial Adoptees Only OR Transracial Adoptees: POC transracial adoptees.

Trans-racial adoptee, too. I spend a lot of time in the ambiguous in-between, too. Some days it bothers me, other days not as much, but it’s ever present. The only place I’ve ever felt like I truly belonged is in the family I’ve created myself. Big TRA-y hug to you.

I’m not a TRA, so I definitely won’t speak on that as it’s not my lane. But the rest of it? 100% I’ve always had trouble feeling like I fit in. I try too hard, and I feel like I’m constantly being judged.

Yes, I have my entire life, including with my families – all of them. I’m sorry you have been invalidated as a TRA – you guys definitely get an extra helping of crap to deal with that I (infant domestic) do not.

I’m an adoptee, I am white adopted into a white family, but they always made me feel less than. I know that’s different than what you’ve experienced, but if you ever need to talk or vent, I will listen and empathize. I’m so very sorry you feel like an outsider.

I was lying in bed this morning thinking about feeling like I never fit in and how lonely it is. I always assumed it was from being bullied in Middle and High School.

Yep. The way I relate to people is broken and I try every time to fix it but I am just broken.

Yes I always feel this way. I’ve tried to go to therapy for it but it’s just permanent.

Yes! I was a transracial adoption, so I grew up in an all white community, schools, family etc. I’m of a lighter skin tone and I get colorism comments from my black community about how I can pass, etc and that really hurts to hear when your entire life even though your race and culture were erased from you. I didn’t fit in with the white kids growing up due to the fact I was black, adopted, not Mormon, and having parents who smoked. Even though I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood, I had a mother who lived to punish me by buying her clothes at the mall and mine at Kmart. We moved when I was 17 to a more diversified community. I still didn’t fit in. I struggled so hard being around black people because I wasn’t raised around them. I fit in with what now feels like other “outcasted races” Native Americans and Hispanics. And also because of my complexion, I’m now often confused for Hispanic and when I say I don’t speak Spanish when spoken to in Spanish, I feel as though they think I’m “too good for my race.”

I’ve never been in the popular group at schools, even growing up in the same neighborhood as most of the popular kids, and I’ve never been way popular at jobs either. Went to a multi-cultural church for 6 years, was in charge of helping plan and execute Vacation Bible School and I was only seen as “Becky with the good hair” that can bake and craft. Always being told to be grateful and how blessed you are, yet I think how ?

Who did this arrangement bless ? My adoptive mom got her “heart’s desire” by getting her “peanut butter skinned brown baby girl.” #becauseadoption