You Don’t Own Me Just Because I’m Adopted

Adoptees are different and we come with special needs.

I can’t speak for every single adoptee, but I feel safe saying I know MANY adoptees all over the world and I know for certain many of us are offended and hurt when adoptive parents refer to us as “MINE“.

“She was placed in our home and raised by us and we are her REAL PARENTS! We might not share her DNA but she is OURS!” – Adoptive Parent.

Where does this attitude come from? It sends chills all through my body to hear this type of language from adoptive parents, not to mention having my own experience with it.

Let me share a little of my experience with this possessiveness from my adoptive mother.  I didn’t understand the dynamics as a child but as an adult I see how controlling and manipulative it was and how it impacted me. My adoptive mom would say things like “You’re MY daughter!” but put emphasis on the MY.  She said over and over “Your life is MY LIFE because I’m your mother!”

First of all, we are NOT a piece of property and many of us take offense to this because of the dynamics of adoption and how we came to be in our adoptive families to begin with. Let’s be honest, most of the time THERE WAS A CASH TRANSACTION. We were PAID FOR! Someone made some money off us being adopted. When adoptive parents use terms that refer to them having “Ownership” over us honestly it makes me feel totally disrespected, almost as if I am some form of modern day slavery.  I feel like I’m not even a live person. It’s disgusting and I honestly needed to share my feelings about it because it needs to STOP. I’m not saying all adoptive parents are meaning to come off this way, I am saying this is how many adoptees interpret it.

Please take note and consider changing the language you use towards us and while referring to us regarding adoption.

We are no more YOUR CHILD than we are our birth parents. Our birth parents will always be a part of us no matter what the circumstances, and no words of ownership can put any different spin on this. These are the facts. Take it or leave it. For whatever reason they are not raising us and we are adopted doesn’t change the fact that we have 2 mothers and 2 fathers.


Please stop using words of ownership regarding adoptees, it hurts us. We are our own person and we are tired of being treated like perpetual children. If you adopted us,  we know who you are. We know you took us in when our own families didn’t want us but you don’t own us.

Please stop acting like you do.

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17 thoughts on “You Don’t Own Me Just Because I’m Adopted

    1. Lisa,

      How heartbreaking! Total disregard for you as a human being and a person with real feelings. I have had contact with many LDA’S (late discovery adoptees) who are so brokenhearted from the lies and secrecy from those who should love them most.

      I simply just can’t even go there because I fill with anger and rage that our “parents” teach us to tell the truth but adoption is the exception to the rule…. So sorry that happened to you! ❤

  1. This is garbage. I’m an adoptee, 45 years old and my daughter is adopted and we have never felt “owned”. Clearly there is a disconnect with your family that makes you feel this way and that is tragic. But to say that most do feel this way is incorrect. Most of us don’t. We live our lives as family members and have never been thought of as property or been opposed to our parents stating we were their children. Many of us are proud to be part of the families we have been in and wouldn’t change a thing. I know who my bio mother is and I’m thrilled to know this is the life I got instead. Before you go telling folks who know little about adoption you should think about how you portray it. 😡

    1. Hi Robyn, Thank you for sharing your heart here. I’m glad you have never felt this way and your adopted daughter hasn’t either. That’s a blessing.

      I will share I always think long and hard about what I write, before I write it. I’m in contact with hundreds of adoptees all over the world and have close relationships with many of them. Sadly, from my experience networking with such a huge platform of adoptees my statement still stands that many adoptees do feel this way. I’ve never stated all adoptees feel this way. But from my experience more adoptees feel this way than those that don’t. Again my adoptee community is huge! My apologies to you if that’s something you aren’t willing to hear or acknowledge. I won’t sway on my reason for writing this post, nor will I sway on what I shared in it.

    2. Robyn ‘ I know who my natural mother is’ I am thrilled to know this is the life I got instead, who is calling the kettle black now!!!

  2. Thank you so much for this heartfelt and honest account that I also know too much about. Blessings to those who have felt loved and cherished in their adoptive homes – but there are an awful lot of us who were spoken down to just as you describe. My adoptive parents treated me and my 2 adopted siblings as if we were their property. My adoptive father would often say to me, “I sometimes wonder if you deserve anything.” They lived on a huge piece of land with a huge lawn. We spent every weekend of the spring and summer mowing that lawn, and in the fall had to rake up all the pine needles of the grass (because they kill the grass). I left home at age 17 and got so much satisfaction when they had to sell that property because they could no longer maintain it, or rather, they did not have we 3 boys to maintain it for them.

  3. I have read similar accounts in recent years. I have a huge extended family – 20 aunts and uncles, close to 100 cousins. Several of my cousins were adopted, some have given up their children to adoption, all but one because they were under age 15 when they gave birth and chose adoption. These were also not closed adoptions, and now that the adoptee’s are grown they are a part of their birth mother’s lives. We have a lot of candid discussions and it’s been amazing to witness the reunions between mother and child, some from an early age due to an open adoption, some in their teens. We adopted our youngest 20 years ago and were able to get her birth mother’s full name (by accident, so we guarded it and copied it). We are helping our daughter try to find her birth mother, and this is extremely important to her, and us, as well. My best friend, on the other hand, has never had this desire and told me when we were kids how she felt about being adopted, and it was positive, and has remained so. She and her husband have also adopted, her statement was that she was so happy as an adoptee that she wanted to adopt, and they have, twice; they have three children in all. So in my limited experience I have seen some of what I am reading about in terms of the trauma some adoptee’s feel, and others who are content and happy as adoptee’s. Counting the family and close friends who are adopted and open about their adoptions, I would say the number would be a little over 50. My heart aches for the unhappy adoptions, some people are not fit to be parents and then some adoptee’s suffer for the many reasons I have read about. This is a host of new concepts and I hope to learn as much as possible. Blessings.

  4. When something or someone can be forensically established as having originated from the cells in your body, it is then truthful to refer to that thing or person as being your (state the item or relationship). My hair, my snot, my leg, my lung, my son or my daughter. If my lung is in your body it is completely the truth for me to still refer to it as being mine: If someone were to say I heard you only have one lung. Where is your other lung? I could say oh my other lung is in Bob’s chest over there. If someone asked Bob, hey do you have both of your own lungs? He would be lying if he said yes because he had both his own lungs but one collapsed and now he has one of mine. The fact he possesses it does not make it his, why? Because people, their parts and their offspring which are also people, are not property. When two people refer to their own offspring as their “own” it is not a statement of property ownership but rather onus by virtue of origin and having caused the existence of their offspring and being accountable to and for them.

  5. How do you feel about adoptive parents saying they knew you were meant to be with them? Or saying they are bringing their adoptive child “home”?

  6. Maybe you should have just wallowed in foster care since you admitted your bio family didn’t want you. Seriously, they did not have to adopt you. If you feel paid for now how would you feel in foster care or with the family that didn’t want you?

    1. That has nothing to do with what this post is talking about, at all. Your right, they didn’t have to adopt me and they shouldn’t have. They should have never been allowed to adopt children. So I should be THANKFUL I was adopted? Let me educate you a bit, just because I was adopted doesn’t mean I had a better life AT ALL! It only means I had a different one and if I had it my way I would have definitely stayed with my BIOS rather than strangers. Foster care has nothing to do with this and is totally different than being adopted in a closed adoption. And for the record, my birth father didn’t even know I existed and if he did he would have tried to keep me. Unlike YOU, I do not weigh different traumas expecting someone to be thankful as if one is better than the other. Foster Care and Adoption are both equally JACKED UP!!!! At least if I was with the family that didn’t want me I would be with my people!

  7. I admit to not having really much experience with adoption and I don’t know many adopted people. This is such an informative post. Thank you! I have a question. If we were to adopt, how would we introduce that child. My son / daughter and their name or just their name? What would you recommend?

  8. Thank you for your honest appraisal of your experience. As a teenage unmarried mother of loss to adoption 1967, I feel deep empathy for All who have suffered such loss. My baby was nine months old when TAKEN not given for adoption. I fought hard to keep my baby, to no avail. I feel such pain for all seared so deeply. The Language the adoption industry uses to sell our babies is CRIMINAL, ie birthmother; gotcha day; birthmothers day;to me and thousands of mum’s these words are degrading, adoption propaganda brow beaten into us, we would FORGET our baby and get on with life, and have more babies WITHIN MARRIAGE. Well psychiatric/psychological research ripped that myth wide open, proving the umbilical link never fades, indeed with time, it has monumental strength that becomes more vivid with relentless pinning for our baby now an adult. The fear of death, without ever seeing our baby, brings unbelievable HEARTACHE such depth of mourning, coupled with bouts of depression. Forgive me, I only ever saw my new born beloved son as just that, my beloved baby son, fruit of my womb, umbilically linked till death do us part, and loved ,more deeper in old age. Wish you every blessing


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