Do Adoptees Have More Problems?

The Darker Side of the Adoption Story

This month’s theme has to do with the effects of adoption on the adoptee and the adoption issues that most people in the adoption community don’t want to talk about. Sadly, adoptee Adopted child syndrome; do adoptees have more problems? Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoptionissues are real, and the tragedy comes when adoptive parents do not understand what they are really facing as they make the all-important decision to adopt a child.

Like everyone else, I enjoy the hardcover adoption magazines full of adorable images, arts and crafts, and “my baby is the cutest” photo contests. But every time I look at one of those magazines, I have to think to myself,

“Please tell the other side of the adoption story.”

Adoption can be full of happiness and joy, but it can also be full of loss, grief, and in some cases indescribable anger and dangerous behavior.


Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption

Some common issues observed in adoptees are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Identity development
  • General feelings of grief, loss, and rejection


Statistics on Adopted Children and Adults Show Adoption Always Affects the Adoptee

Many research studies have shown that adoptees and birth mothers suffer more from depression, and that there is a higher rate of suicide among these populations. Because adoption issues often show up during the teen years, unresolved issues can manifest themselves in dramatic and destructive ways that adoptive parents may not be prepared for.

There are a handful of disciplinary correctional schools, residential treatment centers, and adoption ‘camps’ that are designed to deal with adopted teenagers whos parents have decided that they don’t know how to handle the behavioral problems of their adopted child. These adoptee camps take in adopted children with all kinds of issues: substance Adopted child syndrome; do adoptees have more problems? Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption and drug abuse, sexual misconduct, violence and anger towards parents, siblings, pets, or even themselves, the list can go on. There is even a camp referred to as “The Last Chance Ranch,” that specializes in teens from Russia. Sadly, some of these teens are actually re-relinquished to the camp by their adoptive parents.

Despite the fact that adoptees make up less than 2% of the US population, they represent 25-35% of teens in these correctional camps and institutions-

I find that statistic so incredibly sad and alarming.


Resources to Help Adoptive Parents Understand the Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption on their Children

There are many resources available today, that did not exist years ago. There have been many wonderful books written about the impact of adoption, three of my favorites are,

  1. The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier
  2. Lost and Found by Betty Jean Lifton
  3. Raising Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen.

There are also adoption therapists who specialize in helping adoptees heal and overcome their psychological and emotional issues.  Here is a very important point to remember: there are many therapists who attempt to help adoptees, but unfortunately have no real understanding of adoptee issues. I was fortunate to find a child therapist who was herself adopted, and she was enormously helpful throughout all of my years of raising my three adopted children. The therapist does not need to be a member of the adoption triad, but they need to have some special training about these crucial child development issues.

This month’s edition of the magazine will talk about all of these adoption issues and more, including adoptee suicide. It will also feature a very special 24 minute video of a young man who suffered from severe attachment issues, and talks about it in a truly real and compelling way, I promise you will be mesmerized by his story, and the hope he gives all of us.


So… Do Adoptees Have More Problems?

Every adoptee has a completely unique and separate experience but I think one of our anonymous Message in a Bottle submissions best summed up a great answer for general adoption questions…

“Adoption isn’t all unicorns and rainbows.”

Thank you to whomever submitted this message! To submit a Message in a Bottle of your own, use this form.

Adoption is not always unicorns and rainbows.


To read an incredible story about a mother who struggled to raise her adopted daughter from Russia who struggled with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) check out Tina Traster’s posts, “Adoptive American Parents of Russian Children Don’t Deserve The Heat” and “I saved My Daughter Twice.”

About the Author

Jane is executive editor of Adoption Voices Magazine and an adoptive parent of three.

Comments (37):

  1. Yes, all of this is true. I am an AP and I get it and our child benefits from such great dialogue & recognition of the issues. YET I must also put out a request to recognise that it isn’t adoption per se but relinquishment that is the issue. If our children remain in institutions they will have even more issues to contend with. Yes, adopted persons (it is not only children but adults too) are over represented in these statistics but I would argue it is not adoption that inherently carries the generation of the difficulties (although some AP’s have compounded the problems for adoptees) it is the separation of the baby/child from the parent that is the origin of the issues our kids face. AP’s step in we must do the hard yards, our kids are the victims certainly and it is our job to try to help them work through the rough deal they have been given, but I don’t accept that we are to blame for the issues. I know we work really hard to support our child and search out the best professional help and connect to our child’s birth culture, we travel to their birth country, we have made ongoing contact with their birth family…….and so on. We are not perfect but really to blame adoption or to label the issues as originating from adoption is doing a disservice to finding ways to support our children and adults who are adopted. Really are we the cause? Should e perhaps consider altering the label from “adoptees” issues to “relinquishment” issues?

  2. To anon…. I do agree that it can be brought back to “relinquishment” issues but does the label matter that much? Yes, the problem for adoptees is being relinquished in the first place. So where does the problem lie then? Does it just lie with the mother or does it lie with society in general? In some cases it may be both. How much responsibility does the AP take in the process? There is also a supply and demand issue here. Adoption agencies are here, willing and able to fill a role in the process simply because it can make them money. In the case of newborn infant adoption, the role of prospective adoptive parents is huge because they create the demand that the agencies are looking to fill. The AP’s are not the saviors that some would like the world to believe. When you look at newborn infant adoption, the type of adoption that happens when a pregnant woman is matched with a couple pre-birth, when the agency is collecting 30,000.00 +, when a mother is brainwashed/coerced/convinced that she is not enough for her child and money is the be-all end-all of child rearing, yes, I think we can blame adoption. We can blame the industry that is just out for it’s own self-interest.

  3. It’s great to have discussions regarding tricky adoption issues. As an adult adoptee I can say that had I not been my adoptive mother’s fascination, I probably would have had serious issues, as I was a dark-skinned child in a German family. But my experience was extremely positive… However, and this is actually a big however, the dilemma arose much later in life when I realized – much to my horror – that I had serious issues regarding self-definition. By the time my German parents realized I had a perception of me in the world that was unhealthy, I was already a teen. Among the many issues adoptees face, is an alienation of their roots… Even if those roots are similar to those of the adoptive parents. I empathize with parents who early on know there are adoption issues (abandonment, self-rejection… etc.) and can’t do anything about it. Sometimes one just can’t, no matter how hard one tries, one’s well meant efforts won’t bear the desired outcomes. I am very much in favor of adoption, but believe that the industry needs to be robbed of its resources so that it’s no longer profitable. When a child needs a parent, there should be one there, and there always is in a healthy society. It should not be that someone wants a child, but that a child needs a parent.

  4. I spent fifty years in this field and still am often overwhelmed by the multitude of issues everyone touched by adoption must master. Adoptees have more tasks than the rest of us to address; must adapt and adapt and adapt-adoption is about constant adaptation and so much pretending. If you are a professional in Southern California, join my mentoring group and let’s build on each other’s knowledge!! We meet once a month in Tustin! We have to be real specialists to do the best work in the adoption community!

  5. As an adult adoptee myself I am now discovering in my late 40s many underlying issues related to relinquishment AND ADOPTION that have gone unaddressed are now causing me trouble. My childhood was troubled and my teenage years a living nightmare!

    My Adoptive parents loved me very much, however, they were never informed about the grief I could feel from losing my first mom and were basically instucted to treat me the same as any other kid. I was not from a foreign country nor adopted into a different culture. Yet, still had trouble relating too and fitting in with my family.

    Personally i believe that adoption should only be a last resort to give an already living child a home if it is IMPOSSIBLE for their mother or father to care for them. In this day and age with the availability of birth control and abortion, giving away a child is just wrong and should not be viewed as a choice. Again, just my opinion.

    As for all of the people who for whatever reason cannot have a baby of their own please find other ways to satisfy your needs. Open a daycare, work at the boys and girls club or volunteer at childrens’ hospitals, big brother/sister programs etc. There are plenty of children out there who do not get the love and attention they need and would be more than happy to have yours.


    • Kim, Just read your reply and totally agree with you. I too am an adoptee. I am in my late 40’s also. I was raised by wonderful adoptive parents whom I love with all my heart. I too have been struggling with issues, but not realized how apparent they where until now. As I have gotten older it is very difficult to not have a need for heritage and family . I married late in life at the age of 40 and have no children of my own. People have said to me and my husband when we first married and tried to have a child that “Oh you can always adopt”. Those words left me with mixed feelings. My husband has always been very gracious in saying he will do whatever I wish in reguards to children. He is 9 years younger than me but has been supportive towards me. We are a childlless couple and are very happy raising two dogs (our four legged kids). I whole heartedly agree that giving away a child should not be viewed as a choice either. It is wrong for both the mother and the child. To me there is a bond between a mother and child that can never be broken, I believe it is something in our souls. There will always be a void within me and I’m sure in my mothers as well that can never be filled. I search for peace and strength to all those who feel it too.

    • thank you for not talking in medical terms……i’m 44 years old… adopted at a few months old….(been gainfully employed since i was about ten….working for the same company for 16+ years)
      always been VERY independent…….last one of 7 kids….
      got married at 26….adopted a step-son (two years old at the time) running into serious issues with his “failure to launch” issues. (he’s now 19)
      don’t really have much to offer…and feel kind of like a failure myself, now…..
      my adoptive parents were not much help growing up….and both have long since passed away.
      which only hardened my resolve, and insensitivity.
      always thought very little of non-hackers…..and always found it easy to dismiss people that weren’t productive/useful.
      i actually contacted my birth mother via catholic charities…(about twelve years ago)…got medical info….and found that i have a FULL blood brother out there, too.
      i think i turned her off with my first question referring to my father……to whom she was married to….and subsequently got divorced from…..
      neither here nor there at this point……..i was not able to really fill in any blanks…..only ADDED a couple more.

      sorry for rambling on.

      thanks for your post.


      • Hi Mike – Give your birthmother a chance. She loves you. Bridging the divide is not easy. As far as your son – kids need more time to launch successfully these days. Give them both time and love and give yourself the same!
        I’m a birthmother, regular mother, and adoptive mother – a very lucky mother all around:)

    • Kim nailed it! I’m a 48 year old woman who is finally in therapy for marital issues that shouldn’t be. My marriage is wonderful and I’m married to a wonderful man. Yet I still sabotauge even the good relationships. It was finally made clear to me that those 4+ weeks that I was without my birthmother or any other mother has played an inherent role in many of my problems as a child, adolescent, and beyond. I’m just starting the healing process now. And I too feel very strongly that adoption is not a valid reason to avoid contraception or abortion. You have to remember that I’m not just an adoptee, my husband, children, adoptive family, and even friends have all had to deal with the issues of me. This is a wide ranging problem. I’m sure with therapy I will finally heal, but I have a span of 18 years of my life that were plagued with pain, violence, self destructive tendencies, depression, anxiety, fear of abandonment by everyone and anyone. It’s really a sad situation. I feel like much of my life was not really mine.

  6. I look forward to the time when it is acknowledgd that adoptive parents have more difficulties than most and there is an emphasis on supporting them through the journey of adoption. Preparation and the selection of adoptive parents is sadly lacking and many fail to realise that adoptive parenting is a highly skilled parenting task.

    • Hi Von,

      I look forward to that day as well. We are going to provide more resources and training on our site.


    • All three of my adopted children have told me as adults that they didn’t feel loved as children. (Their biological mother kept them in hiding for a year, and then walked out of their lives after she remarried. It was then that I adopted them at ages 4, 5 and 6-years-old.) It breaks my heart. Oh, how I wish that someone had told me that these children would need professional help. I had no idea. I thought that my wanting to be their mother and my mother’s love would be enough to fill the gap. I was so very wrong. My three adopted children no longer have anything to do with me. I miss them so much, and wish that I could be a grandmother to their children. I can’t help but think that had I sought professional help for them when they were younger, maybe much of this pain and suffering could have been avoided.

      • I am so sorry to read this,and I wish one more time I was well enough to publish the magazine.

        Take the responsibility you feel like you have to, but not more than that. You did not create the original situation. I am guessing you did the best you knew how.

        You don’t say how old your “children” are, but maturity and life experiences may change this dynamic. Don’t give up.


  7. “YET I must also put out a request to recognise that it isn’t adoption per se but relinquishment that is the issue”

    Though I do agree that relinquishment is certainly a major part of it, I do think that the modern form of adoption which is one of REPLACEMENT of one’s identity and family with another, rather than extending ones families, does have issues for a child in itself.

  8. Adopted children grow up to be adults, and current writings would appear to support the contention that adult adoptees experience a higher rate of relationship problems. In my quest to understand my adopted (Adult) sibling’s behavior towards me, I have begun to study the subject. I have learned that plenty of research and writing exists on the plight of the adult adoptee. Primal Wound, Coming Home To Yourself, and others… and all of them are fine works. However, all of these books seem directed at helping people understand the emotional PAIN the adoptee suffers, as if to offer an explanation for the adult adoptee’s unacceptable behavior. Nowhere amongst all these heartfelt and scholarly writings have I found anything written on what it is like to be the victim of an adult adoptee with serious emotional, psychological and relational problems. It seems appropriate that such study exists, yet I am unable to locate anything. While it may be impossible for one who was NOT adopted to ever fully understand the pain an adoptee suffers, it would also appear that it is impossible for the adult adoptee to grasp the far reaching ramifications that their unacceptable behavior has on others. I would love to find some discussion of that half of the equation. Adult adoptees should be held to the same standards of responsible behavior as the rest of us. Being adopted should not be considered a license to behave poorly towards those who try to love you.

    • In Betty Jeans Lifton’s incredible book, “Lost and Found,” she has a great chapter called, “The Unsuspecting Spouse.” It’s a great place to start.


  9. Extremely interesting to hear about others on this subject.

    I too was adopted but at a very, very young age. I believe I was around 1 month old. Being so young, I cannot recall feelings, thoughts etc.
    My 44 year old brother was adopted too. Different biological parents but he was relinquished at 22 months old. From what our adoptive mother has concluded, he was a victim of abuse. He would scream with fear when his nose ran. He would scream with fear when our mum would be out of his sight for any length of time ie. to take a shower or answer the telephone. He still has facial ticks and is very withdrawn. My brother and I, to this day are as distant as strangers. We have never connected.

    Throughout my life, I have always had feelings of not belonging, shyness, disconnection, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, I hated to be hugged or even worse for me, kissed by anyone close. I hated compliments as they made me feel uncomfortable. I have always felt like I was missing something from my life but couldn’t put a finger on it.
    A psychologist once told me that anxiety and other related issues can be instilled in a child, eve as early as immediately after birth, when bonding is absent between mother and child as I believe is the case in the 50`s/ 60`s/70`s and before, when babies where taken away from their bio mother immediately after birth, for adoption, so no maternal attachment could possibly take place.

    I am so grateful to my adoptive parents who I love very much and are wonderful people but have very old-school beliefs and the “Suck it up” attitude when they hear of someone falling on bad times.
    As a child I tried unsuccessfully to communicate to my mother how life felt for me at various stages. Parent-child intimacy was lacking to a degree and, in hindsight, intimacy seemed to be looked on as weak and abnormal, almost immoral and inappropriate.
    I honestly don’t think raising a child is for everyone, even if you have strong maternal urges and feel you are ready for the sacrifice and selflessness of raising a child and meeting their emotional, physical and mental needs.
    I am 40 years old now and never married but have had plenty of good relationships with perfectly good men in which I never desired to marry or have a child and I usually ended the relationship as I became bored, quickly. I admit, I have a fear of intimacy and know this is a big issue. This seems to be an on-going pattern in my life as if I am unsettled and yearning for something else/more.

    I don’t want to find my biological parents. I don’t think that its the answer and all kinds of dramas can be unearthed by doing so.

    Is all of or any of this a common result even for children/babies adopted so young??

  10. I would like to say, as for myself, being adopted has its highs and lows. I do experience loss of identity and I feel as if everyone is going to reject me in life. I was and am forced to live my life as nothing has ever happened, this I say is quite difficult. I am now 16 and I still don’t really understand why I was adopted or why this happened to me. I unlike some children did not have a closed adoption. I am in contact with my biological mom, but it still is not the same.

  11. I am glad to have found this site. I was adopted when I was 4 years old having been passed around birth mothers family constantly. My story is a long one despite my 29 years of age, my heart is filled with pain. I remember the last time I saw my mother, it was in the evening when police and a social worker came for me. They told me to say goodbye to my mother, and I did, having no concept of the effects that moment would have on the rest of my life. I must have understood to a degree though because the moment is etched in my mind. Every aspect of my life has been a tremendous struggle. In the beginning it was bed wetting, thumb sucking to deal with anxiety, troubles building friendships early on, being behind in school, adhd diagnosis in 3rd grade, constant trips to the guidance counselor resulting in discussions with my parents. Shame. Ritalin. Depression. The story goes on and on and on. Non bio parents are a southern Baptist minister and a teacher with a bio daughter. They found out about me through the church and we were on constant display in the church. That is a whole different element being under a microscope in the community where your families financial well being depends on others impressions of you. Anyway, rambling. I have lived the darkness of adoption. Adoptive parents have no way of knowing what they are in for and can never begin to understand the adopted child or their plight. There is nothing out there that can even begin to describe the struggles of the parents or the child. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything about the effects of adoption for adult development. The struggles an adopted child must face as an adult. I seem to be paralyzed by my depression and anxiety and am unable to find my way above water. I have achieved success only to be drowned by myself.

  12. What is the “vetting” process in the US? In the UK, I would say standards are very high and many procedures are put in place, including the requirement that potential adoptive parents go on training courses to learn about just these kind of issues, plus the pretty intensive personal programme with a social worker looking at APs histories, capabilities, and understanding of issues in general plus specifically with potential matches. Now I’m not saying a few days on a course plus a few hours talking prepares you fully – goodness me no! – but I can’t see how it allows room for anyone to think it’ll be ‘unicorns and rainbows’!

  13. I’ve just found this website and many of the comments could have been written by or about me, eg:
    “Throughout my life, I have always had feelings of not belonging, shyness, disconnection, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, I hated to be hugged or even worse for me, kissed by anyone close. I hated compliments as they made me feel uncomfortable. I have always felt like I was missing something from my life but couldn’t put a finger on it.”

    I’m a 44 year old adoptee, adopted at around 6 weeks old, had the best adoptive family I could have asked for, have met my genetic parents and their two other kids (my genetic brother and sister) as well as their/my extended families. Our relationship is about as good as it could be, yet my myriad problems with identity, relationships, self-destructive behaviour, etc persist. I’ve come to realise and accept that I’m caught between two worlds, not fully in either, not quite belonging in either, always trying to fit in. Fortunately my 6 year old daughter has none of these issues. Therein lies my salvation.

    • I feel exactly the same as you do. I am also an adoptee in my 40s and it is eerie and gut wrenching to read these posts by other adult adoptees.

      I feel like an alien from another world observing and trying but failing to undertand the way of life on this planet. It feels like my life has been a waste and I have been robbed of happiness that I should have been able to have.

  14. Thanks everyone for all the insight. My husband and I were considering adoption as we wanted to raise a child. We did not consider the unhappiness that adoption creates for a child–far into adulthood. Reading these comments has made me reconsider this. It sounds like adoption only creates loneliness and a feeling in a person that they do not know who they are or where they belong. Perhaps it is selfish to think that we could give that to a child.

    • Adoption is far more complicated than most people know. However, it can be a loving and wonderful experience as well. So much depends on the adoptive parent’s reasons for adopting, and their acceptance about the loss their child will feel no matter how much they are loved.


    • Jane, as an adult adoptee who is currently struggling please don’t dismiss the option of adoption. There are so many children out there who need loving stable families. Just be prepared… Be prepared to allow the child to know who they are, to allow connection with the biological family. Don’t lie to the child, my well meaning parents told me that my biological mother didn’t want me, because that’s what they were told to tell me. Little did they know that this would only add to the feeling of rejection and not being good enough. Be as honest as the information you have at hand allows you to be. The key thing is, no matter what be consistent, loving and a stable influence.

  15. I have just come across this website. I am 50 and an adopted adult but feel worse than when I was a child. I went through all the usual adopted child trauma, was told I was adopted because my birth mother had died in a car crash (a lie that my adoptive mother maintains to this day, despite the fact I’ve met my birth mother) and I never could understand why I wasn’t taken to visit her grave. I suffered severe abandonment issues as a child, not helped by my adoptive mother being an alcoholic who often forgot to pick me up from school. My adoptive parents divorced when I was 16 and my adoptive father said he never wanted to see me again and I went on to be quite suicidal for some years. But I still had hope. I thought if I could find my real mother everything would be ok. I did find her and she ended up abusing me through GSA which I did not feel for her. I just wanted a mother. I met my real father once but after initially saying he would keep in touch told me he had changed his mind so he abandoned me a second time and also lied that both my his parents were dead – his mother did not die until many years later and had I realised he had lied to me I could have found and met her. But even in my 20’s when all this happened I still had hope that eventually I would be ok.
    I am now 50 and have a husband and teenage children who either don’t understand or refuse to understand any things I tell them about my background. I struggle with stress and depression and my husband just says I am crazy. I feel like an outcast in the family I have created just I did as a child in my adoptive family. I am in contact with a couple of birth family members but we are not very close and I don’t feel accepted as real family. My kids don’t understand why I bother with my real family or what my obsession is and sometimes I just feel envious of them that they were brought up as ‘normal kids’ not adopted ones and it really hurts they don’t understand. But that’s the curse no one ever understands and again, like in my teens, I feel suicidal so often. The difference is I have no hope for the future now as I know adoption wise things will never get better. I have a half brother and sister who I once met but they have shown no interest in a relationship with me and I feel even more abandoned since I always longed for a brother or sister when I was growing up ( an only child).

    • Please find a good adoption therapist, for your sake and your family’s sake. I will email you with a referral of one of the best who works by phone and Skype.

      You deserve this…

      Jane Ballback

  16. Its always nice to identify with others after struggling secretly for so long. I was adopted interacially. I had other brothers and sisters too but we never resembled a family. We are all still struggling with our adult lives. I still to this day can’t connect with my siblings. Its too uncomfortable. I don’t know much about their experience but I know I am wounded. I’ve been ridiculed but whites and blacks for being in between. We were forced to live like everything was normal and being adopted was “the best thing That ever happened to us” . but it wasn’t. It messed me up. I couldn’t relate to anyone because nobody couldn’t identify with such strange circumstances. I had such low self esteem. It would of been nice to have someone to talk to. None of us can remember our childhood. Its so weird. Interracial adoption is more difficult however I think adoption still can be a beautiful thing. And No one should be afraid to do it. But be willing to identify with the child(ren) . Don’t ignore their struggle and their emotional pain. Expect it. And be patient And understanding. Adoption children shouldn’t be treated normal because we don’t have the same advantage. Extra support is needed.

  17. I am an adoptee now in my mid 40s and I have struggled all my life with the curse of the self defeating behaviour that I now realise stems from being adopted. Endless depression, no sense of who I am or what I want and need from life, no real intimate or loving relationships, no sex at all for 15 years now, no career only unskilled jobs despite being intelligent and well educated. I feel that my 20s, 30s and early 40s have been wasted. I am very frightened now as I don’t want to waste the remainder of my life and continue on the same path to die a lonely and bitter man. All my non-adopted peers and sibling have careers and families.

    Somehow I had just accepted living the weird life I had. I then finally this year came across Nancy Verrier’s books and it really clarified what had been going on in my life. The Primal Wound was published back in 1993 so I feel sick that I hadn’t discovered and read it earlier in my 20s. As Verrier states in her books somewhere, a women who suffers rape or a soldier suffering PTSD are able to refer to their previously undamaged selves to contextualise their coping behaviour and reactions. Adoptees are unable to do that as we do not have that previous self. No support and education was provided to adoptive parents and no counseling to adoptees so that they could understand and get to grips with their problems.

  18. I have to be completely honest here. Reading some of these response is making me a little angry. I have been on both ends of the adoption spectrum, having given up a baby boy when I was 15 to adopting an interracial daughter when I was 29. Both decisions were heart wrenching. Giving up my son because I knew I couldn’t give him the life he deserved. No one forced me to make that decision. Then some years later finding out that I can no longer have children so the decision to adopt was easy. It was the process that was extremely difficult. My daughter is now 16, intelligent, beautiful, empathetic and caring. I am a very lucky Mom. The anger comes in when I read about the babies that are thrown off balconies, stuffed in trash cans etc. Can these adoptees not see the beauty in being adopted by a family that truly wanted them? That went through the vetting process, painful as it was but struck to it and waited…not very patiently in my case for that phone call? The phone call that would change their whole lives? Please try and see the beauty in that when you are goin through these very emotional times. Heal well.

    • You have NOT seen adoption from the adoptee’s end. You have not been there, and no amount of children given away or adopted will give you that experience. Also, why are you assuming that those who were adopted would have been thrown off a balcony? Kinda laughable. How would you like it if any time you went to a forum to talk out your pain, someone said, “At least you weren’t struck by lightning.” Wouldn’t you be left feeling a little puzzled…and irritated?

    • Louise,
      You totally misunderstand where adoptees are coming from. Adopted people have to deal with the reality they face. You cannot be grateful for potentially avoiding some possible awful fate. That fate is simply speculation that has no relevance whatsoever to adoptees in their actual lives. It would be like every American or British person being automatically happy forever about everything simply because they were not born in North Korea.

  19. I’m so glad that I found this article, it’s helped me no-end in understanding more my diagnosis of PTSD, OCD and my Schizoid Personality Disorder.
    I was put up for adoption at 6 weeks of age, but spent the following 18 months being passed around from foster home to foster home before being taken on a permanent basis by my adoptive parents.

    My whole life was spent being avoidant and feeling worthless, anxiety and introversion are normal, I have a dislike of physical contact and friends are few and far between. In fact I can often go days without speaking to anyone.

    It was only 4 years ago, at the age of 44 that I found out what was wrong.
    I’m currently on meds and am awaiting therapy.
    I hope it helps

  20. Adoptees who have issues may need to accept that some of their issues come from:
    1.Sometimes DNA with unstable proclivities -the very reason their birth family didn’t or weren’t allowed to keep them.
    2.Common differencesof fit re family that can occur even in non adoptive families when ones inherited traits, looks of the family tree that are less commonly espressed, but then adoption isn’t blamed,just ine doesn’t click as well with family and gets in with it.
    3. Studies have shown similar cohorts of children that are adopted out compared to remaining with original bio mother in the majority end up with far better life outcimes and personal skills.
    4. Adoptees who think they are worse off than the typical non adopted persons in psychological issues may be so due to their biological heritage, not the adoption and realise that they may be even more damaged had they not been adopted.
    5. Adoptees need to wake up that adoption only occurs in extreme circumstancesMost children aren’t relinquished even in difficult circumstances. In the worst circumstances they get removed at much later ages ending up damaged in multiple foster placements.
    6. Since the 1970’s there has been no scope for infant adoption to provide for anyones desire to get a child.
    Their is a scarcity of available healthy infants available plus rigerous homestudies, lots of costs etc..
    Furthermore government benefits etc.,can add income to substance abusing parents.
    7. Get real, stop the self pity. Life options are what they are, be grateful for what you did get!! Look overseas or even at older kids in endless foster care and rethink how dig your pain is comparitiveley!!

  21. You sound like you have issues of your own, Miss Brigitte.

    If you are a PAP, I hope to hell you are never successful in adopting.

    If you are an adoptee, then you have deeper issues that any of the other adoptees on this page.

  22. I am the concerned friend of an adoptive mother of an 11-year-old boy who is deeply depressed and finds her relationship with her son very difficult. She is very dutiful and attentive but never seems to have enjoyed being a mother, and says now that she regrets having adopted him. Her son has not been diagnosed with anything, but has always seemed anxious and insecure to me. I am worried about both of them.

    In trying to understand the situation, I’m wondering how much of it is due to the child’s abandonment issues, how much to the adoptive mother’s weak bond with the child, and how much to just who these two individuals are (my friend was only child raised by an emotionally distant single mother and so has her own emotional issues). I know that many adoptive parents and children form strong bonds, but in her case I can’t help wondering if the problems is that something essential just never happened between them. He was a few months old and in foster care when he was adopted from another country.

    My friend relies on me as a sounding board so it would help me to have more insight into what’s going on.

    • This is Jane, the publisher. I encountered this same situation. Encourage this mother to get therapy for herself and her son. Contact me for a referral at

      You are a good friend.

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