For most adoptive parents, adoption is a wonderful experience. They are excited to add a new member to their family. They dream about what they’ll do as a family and what the child will be like as they grow up. Their feelings are often positive and happy. The adopted child may have many other emotions. Their feelings can vary widely and even bounce back and forth just like a pendulum. It’s important for adopted kids to know it’s okay to feel they way they do.
You Will Feel Grief
It’s difficult for many to understand how you can feel loss over something you never knew. However, many adopted kids experience grief over losing their birth parents. It often happens when they first learn about being adopted and again when they are struggling to find their own identity as teens. They may suffer more grief during important milestones in their life such as getting married or having a child.
You Will Feel Abandoned
The question “Why didn’t my mother want me?” will ring in your mind at some point. As you struggle to understand why your birth mother placed you for adoption, you may focus on the fact that she “gave you away,” especially if this is a term used by those around you. If you discover your birth mom later had children she kept, these feelings can become even more prominent.
You Will Feel Unsure
You will wonder who you are and unsure of being loved and lovable as an adopted child. While your adoptive parents obviously love you, there may be times when you wonder why your birth parents didn’t love you enough. Was it you or something you did? This feeling may be even more pronounced if you were older when you were adopted. If you don’t have access to information about your birth family, you may wonder who you really are.
You Will Feel Guilt
You know your adopted family loves you, and you may feel guilty about being interested in your biological family. You may feel disloyal, especially if you hear others say how lucky you are to be adopted. It’s often implied, even unintentionally, that you should be grateful for your new family. Feelings of guilt may come as you long to know more about your birth family even though it’s a perfectly natural response.
You Will Feel Anger
It’s normal to feel angry at your life and those responsible for its direction. You may feel anger at your birth parents for “giving you up.” You may feel anger towards outsiders who make comments or ask questions. You may be angry at times towards your adopted parents who “took you away from your birth family.” This is one of the hardest emotions to accept, but it’s a natural response to being part of circumstances beyond your control. Even if you have an awesome life, it’s normal to feel anger and loss at what might have been.
You Will Feel Happy
As an adopted child, your life will not be all about your adoption. You will have the normal ups and downs of any kid. You will experience joy and happiness, excitement and contentment. There may be times when you feel extra happy at the turn your life has taken. This emotion, like all the others that you will experience, is a normal part of growing up, especially of growing up as an adopted child who is loved.
Be willing to feel your emotions and not suppress them. Being adopted is a unique situation that brings special feelings and thoughts. Work through each one of them and you will become a stronger adult.