Per-pet-u-al – Never ending or changing, continuing forever.
Depending on where you live, most people gain the legal status of being an adult between 18 and 21 years of age.
For all the “Adopted Children” between the ages of newborn and 21 years old, I hope by the time you might stumble across this article and reach the legal age of adulthood, things have shifted concerning the topic of this article. I hope those who know you and love you will allow you the space to grow up and stop confining you to the box of being a perpetual child. This article is for you and those who love you!
For all the “Perpetual Adopted Children” who are 18+ to 110+ years old, I’m writing this article for you and those who know and love you as well!
Recently, I have been in several conversations where I have been referred to as “The Adopted Child,” or I have witnessed one of my fellow ADULT adoptees referred to as an “Adopted Child.” Each time, this strikes my nerves and grinds my gears in a way that has been so significant that it’s sparked me to want to write an article about it.
My goal is to validate the experiences of my fellow adoptees who are well into adulthood, even some being seniors (over 65) who are still being referred to as “THE ADOPTED CHILD.”
This article is also to help our loved ones understand that the time is OVER when it comes to speaking for adopted adults and referring to them as “ADOPTED CHILDREN or THE ADOPTED CHILD.” I want to explain why this is damaging and hurtful to the adult adopted people who are no longer in a state of childhood.
If we are being authentic, adoption has deceived, manipulated, and bamboozled many people. We have groups of people who are convinced removing babies from their mothers is “God’s Will.” We have groups of people who PRAY for trauma to happen to a mother and a child, which is the trauma that occurs when a mother and a child are separated, and they believe when it happens, it’s “GOD’S WILL.” We have groups of people who think paying $27,000.00 for a white newborn infant or $7000.00 for a black newborn infant isn’t legalized human trafficking. We have groups of people who assume that adoption provides a better life. We have groups of people who think adoption is always a blessing, and if the adoptee feels anything less than positive feelings, they are labeled ungrateful and even tossed out of wills and disowned.
I could go on and on, but today I want to highlight individuals who continue to refer to ADULT ADOPTED INDIVIDUALS as ADOPTED CHILDREN and THE ADOPTED CHILD.
In 1974, I was a newborn entering the world and immediately experienced a traumatic experience by losing my biological mother. On August 13, 1992, I became a legal adult in this game we call “Life.”
I entered into a space where I have fought like hell from the beginning to find my truth, heal, and find happiness and wholeness within myself. Spending 47 years on earth, I am at a place where I have spent a lot of time learning, sharing, healing, recovering from ALL THINGS ADOPTION and life in general. Somewhere along the lines of life, I have put my big girl panties on and gotten authentic with myself. It has taken a lot of willpower and determination to do this.
Aside from adoption, I have given birth to three human beings, all adults now. I raised them as a single mother. I fought through the stigma and did the best I could based on the tools I had present at the time. I have a whole career in the healthcare field, and I also founded a national nonprofit organization. I have walked through the recovery journey and experienced the highs and lows of that process. Finally, I am currently living an alcohol-free lifestyle, and I now share my journey from a space of being RECOVERED. I have put in the blood, sweat, and tears and will soon CELEBRATE 10 years alcohol-free.
Let me be as honest as I can, I grew the FUCK UP, and it wasn’t easy. I have many scars to prove it. But, I have the knowledge and a drive most people never experience in their lifetimes. A significant portion of my knowledge comes from lived experiences, which fills my tank up when stepping into a space of ADULTHOOD. I have earned the right to remove the mindset that I am a perpetual child in the eyes of those who view “THE ADOPTED CHILD” as never growing up. I am sure most of my fellow adoptees over 18 years of age would say the same.
Why has society not grasped the TRUTH that I am no longer a child? I haven’t been a CHILD since 1992 when I turned 18 years old. And even then, I was a teenager, growing into my own person. To be continuously referred to as a perpetual child my whole life has caused damage to my personal experience and self-esteem. It has belittled and invalidated my feelings and emotions as if I currently respond from a child’s space. It also gives the impression I am immature and inexperienced in life.
It’s an INSULT in its most profound form.
I would love the world to put some respect on my journey and put some respect on the adoptee journey altogether. I realize wholeheartedly that society at large has been conditioned with this perpetual child mindset when it comes to adopted children. Still, I am here to challenge anyone reading this article to ponder your beliefs and consider changing the words you use when speaking about any adopted person.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on topics like this. However, maybe people genuinely don’t understand how their words impact adopted people. For those people, I ask you to open up to the willingness to learn that it’s never been okay to refer to adopted adults as “ADOPTED CHILDREN,” and it’s never going to be okay.
This is because so many of us rightfully take offense to it, and we will start calling people out on it, even people we are close to whom we have relationships with who we know and love. So from this day forward, I am standing up for myself to anyone who refers to me or any other adopted adult I know as a perpetual child.
In truth and wisdom, I am coming for you!
Hopefully, anyone who has made it this far has gained some knowledge and understanding of the damage that comes from this line of thinking, and maybe they will make the conscious choice to choose their words wiser.
Additionally, I hope any adopted adults reading can gain validation that they aren’t alone when they are continuously faced with this reality of being looked at like a perpetual child in our adoption journeys.
Once we know better, we do better, and we have to do better.
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Thanks for reading.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova