I asked the online adult adoptee community to share what they would express to Prospective Adoptive Parents BEFORE they adopted if they had the chance. They knew their responses were going to be posted anonymous for a blog post and were happy to contribute to bring awareness and enlightenment to the adoption community.
Here are their responses
- We are not blank slates. Keep a therapist in reach that is seasoned in issues surrounding adoption. You WILL need them for your child but also for you. If you can’t speak nicely and lovingly towards the biological parents then don’t adopt. Don’t tell them they are your gift from God. God didn’t do that. Also, the term gift is demoralizing… We are not chattel. Join the fight for an adult adoptee to access their original birth records without exception. That will help them to know that their rights as humans matter.
- Don’t adopt the child. Help the family. You can provide a safe home without changing records and removing someone from their family. If the mother and child/baby must be separated, provide every opportunity for visitation even if it has to be supervised. Remind the child that you are guardians and they have a mother and father. Most of these “crackhead whores” whom society has deemed unfit, have had a past where no one helped them. Something awful has to have happened to have made them turn to drugs. Now is your chance to help mother and baby. If you found yourself in temporary trouble, would you want someone to help themselves to your baby? Do unto others….don’t take their baby. Also, don’t take babies from another country to satisfy your desire to raise a baby. Help that country change their old views that shame women for having babies too young, or out of wedlock, or shame the baby for defects and abnormalities or because of their sex. Help countries adopt the model shown in Belgium and other Nordic countries that acknowledge the importance of the mother/baby bond and socially support all mothers to keep their babies. Babies believe they are one with mother for 9 months after birth. Separating them before that messes with the natural stages of development we are supposed to experience. Seems we have more respect for animals and their babies than we do for humans. Also, for the entire pregnancy and for at least 6 weeks post partum, mother’s hormones are raging. Discussing adoption and having them sign anything is ethically wrong. Once a mother had mothered her child for the first 6 weeks and mother has been assessed by her dr to ensure her hormones are back to normal, mother then can decide if she would like to make first contact with an adoption agency/lawyer. Any contact before that is ethically wrong on the part of the agency/lawyer.
- I find it’s sick and twisted anyone, especially the Christian community and angelical leaders PRAY for a baby to be separated from it’s mother. They PRAY for this trauma to happen so they can SELFISHLY have a child to call their own. It disgusts me that any REAL Christian would do this. They need to be praying NO CHILD is ever separated from their mother and go adopt a child from the USA that is in foster care AND/OR help mothers and babies stay together. Why the need for a fresh womb infant? Selfishness IMHO.
- You cannot raise an adopted child the same way you would raise a birth child. I’m adopted and have 2 adopted children. I know what my kids are going to go through when it comes to wanting to know where they come from and all of that. Adoption isn’t easy. Its not fun. Its messy and complicated and not something you can ever understand unless you live it.
- Be aware that your child may exhibit characteristics not usually seen in “biological” children e.g. more than usual aggressiveness or shyness, unexplained fits of temper, sadness, depression, and more. Realize that it isn’t you. Your child has an innate knowledge of who they are even if they don’t know who they are. They know they aren’t who their new family frequently want them to believe they are. When they can understand more than simple concepts, tell them their story. Don’t sugar coat it, don’t belittle where they came from, just tell them their story. Someday they may want to seek out more information, or they may not. Don’t push one way or the other. If they seek their origins don’t feel sad or depressed, or angry, because this happened to them, not you. If you treated them well, raised them well, taught them well, they will love YOU, but you have to remember there is someone else out there that they have a physical connection to, indeed, a connection at the human soul level. Just be kind, thoughtful, and love them. At this point they need it.
- No to adoption. Adoption should never be an option. I don’t care what the situation is, it never warrants adoption. All people have a right to know who they are, who their people are, what their place is. All people have a right to not have to pretend to be someone other than they are, which is what happens in adoption. For children who need care while parents get the help they need, guardianship, fostering and sponsoring only. Never ever adoption. Even if parents don’t seek help, still no to adoption. We are who we are. We should not be made change our name and be told these are your parents now when we already have parents and families.
- I am an adoptee and I adopted a baby. I also have two biological children. My son and I share the challenges, sadness, happiness and hope of being adopted. I tell him his birth parents loved him so much and we talk about them whenever he wants. I also make sure he understands reunion can be painful, especially when secondary abandonment/rejection occurs. But, he knows I will help him search and we will never stop helping him whatever he decides to do. Respect, patience, love and compassion can help all adoptees. I was rejected after 20 years of reunion and he knows the entire story. He and I share so much because I want him to be educated and exposed to the good and bad so he is ready for whatever comes his way. Thanks for this sight.
- I am not a gift. Yes, I am a gift from God as all babies are, but PLEASE DO NOT REFER TO ME AS A GIFT! It makes me feel like a piece of property with a hefty price tag attached. It makes me feel like I’m not even human. – From A Christian.
- Don’t do it. Be a positive part of a child’s life without forcing them to address you with the fake title of Mom or Dad. Don’t take away someone’s name, heritage, or family for your own ego. Be a guardian to an older foster child, a volunteer with Big Brothers – Big Sisters, or a doting aunt or uncle. If you’re infertile, I’m sorry about that but adoption will not solve it. It causes more harm than you can imagine.
- I am an adoptee, and while I have had a terrible experience I still see the beauty in it and don’t discount it. All children need to be cared for. If you are adopting to fill a void for yourself, please do not adopt. If you think adopting a child is going to fulfill a fantasy you already hold, please do not adopt. Emotional intelligence is KEY, but even more essential in the case of adoption. Codependency and family dysfunction are certainly NOT suitable conditions. Be prepared to assist and empathize with a child navigating an extreme amount of loss, rejection, grief, control and identity issues, otherwise you will be setting your child up for failure. When you decide to tell your child they are adopted, already be prepared in knowing what emotions and reactions are expected to arise, and have a plan in place for how you will help them cope with them. Parents should find many ways to openly acknowledge and honor the child’s feelings surrounding adoption and initiate healthy loving conversations. I think having “rituals” in place, where the parents can hold space for the child and honor the loss and feelings would be tremendously beneficial, that way the child can integrate their truth into reality and not repress it.
- Deal with your infertility issues before you adopt. We are not your infertility counselors. I’m not interested in your Infertility, I’m interested in my real mother and my real father and my brothers and sisters. We will never share DNA, medical history, mirroring, and probably not athletic, music, and education choices. That does not make me defective. I may be rejected by your favorite relatives; will you choose them or me? Adoption has more losses for a child than infertility has for you. The losses are permanent. You can no more replace a mother than an adopted baby can replace your dream child. It’s a recipe for disaster. Adoption is not a one time event – it’s a daily reminder of a catastrophic loss for the adoptee. I personally will never love you more than my bio mother, but I can learn to love you – that’s up to you and how hard you are willing to work.
- Don’t adopt the child with some pre-conceived idea of what that child should be. Don’t adopt that child if you don’t think you have it in you to love them just as if you were their biological parents. Don’t adopt them thinking they will complete you somehow, and then resent them when they don’t complete you. Do some serious soul searching. What are your goals and expectations from adoption? Also, learn about the child’s heritage and raise them with some knowledge of that and incorporate some of the traditions of their heritage into their upbringing.
- Don’t take the identity off the child. Tell it as it really is from day one. None of our children are ours to keep or own they will all leave when they want to. But every child must have the same rights to knowledge, identity, genetics, original name even. You cannot make them into something there not. You are lying to yourself if you think you can. And if you cant have children then there is a message in that. Love them but set them free.
- Why aren’t you adopting from Foster Care?
- Dont Adopt. Why are you really doing it. To conform to society? To look the same as your friends? To fill a void? Help keep marriage together? Desperate for a Baby? That is the worst reason of all.
- I would ask are you prepared to have a child that is grieving for someone that can never be you
- Personally for me I never and still do not feel like I’m a part of their family. My advice would be only give a child to a couple who has no other bio child as u can never compete with that love. The next would be for the child to have access to a councilor while growing up to talk though the everyday things that come with being adopted. I had good parents growing up and since have had contact with my birth parents but the wounds of being adopted run deep.
- Adoption as a last resort but if it’s necessary, complete honesty/openness, answer every question and become experts in separation trauma with appropriate expert therapists available as early as is required.
- Consider what the worst case scenario you can imagine could happen and then take a long hard look at your life to make sure you could handle that or that you could find help handling that. Adopted kids don’t necessarily have more issues than other kids, but we do have different issues than other kids. You might consider seeking out a therapist that is well versed in adoption issues before you adopt so you can get some kind of idea before you go through the process.
- Read the book primal wound.
- Keep seeking advice from adult adoptees, we have lived it. We know more about adoption than anyone in the equation.
- I would tell them to be aware and mindful of the challenges that will arise. Loving and raising a child as your own , as beautiful as it is, does not erase the trauma of being adopted. I would tell the parents to be open and as honest as possible when you and the child are ready for that conversation. I would also tell parents adopting a child to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. As an adoptee myself, I just wanted my parents ,who raised me from six months old to listen. That’s it. It is a challenging but rewarding journey if the necessary steps are taken to make sure that the child is taken care of physically, mentally and emotionally.
- We aren’t “heroes”, we aren’t “chosen”, or “special”, you are not their savior, you are their parent. That’s all. Don’t treat us differently, be understanding, listen when they need to get their feelings out and allow them an outlet to do so. If they want to find their family, let them, support them and love them.
- Know what issues an adopted children will face. Remember that they have lost their first family and make sure you reassure they are loved no matter what. Talk about both families. Never say how lucky or blest they are. Listen and listen some more
- I am not your child…..I am a child in your care. I cannot and will not replace the child you wish came from your womb. I am not responsible from whence I came, and if I had a choice I would be with my own tribe. I can learn to love you with care that takes into consideration the trauma of my loss. As I grow I will have questions I have every right to have answered with the truth, the real truth, not the “Rose coloured glasses” truth. I am not perfect, I am not anymore blessed by adoption than you are by infertility. I am as important as any future children you may have, your own or someone else’s. I do not look like you and if we share any common traits, enjoy my uniqueness and don’t take credit for something you or I had no control over. I am special because I exist and you are special because you gave me a chance to be myself.
- Do not adopt a baby/toddler because of your infertility problem or your selfishness to have a baby that is not yours. If you wish to help a child, foster older children in the foster care system until their families get themselves together to take care of Their child. I am an adoptee and the only place i belonged in this world was in my birth mother’s arms. No woman will ever replace a birth mother. You want to help, help the poor mother keep her baby.
- Before bedtime : expect that challenging times hard difficult ones will always be there adoption is a trauma for the adopted children and will always be a part of their lives in 1 way or another.
- Since most adoptions today are open ones an adoptive family would have to feel comfortable with sharing the child with their biological parent(s).
- Adopt for the right reason.
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Pamela A. Karanova