About Your Happy Adoption Story 

Something that continuously feels like a kick in the teeth is the need for anyone to proclaim how their adoption story was a wonderful one, in the midst of an adopted adult sharing how our experiences have surfaced grief, loss, trauma, abuse, abandonment, and rejection. 

Why does anyone feel the need to do this? 

Do they know it’s harmful and hurtful to the validation of your experience and the pain you carry within that experience? I can’t help but try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this topic is noteworthy of an article because I deal with it all the time. And this means many of my fellow adoptees likely do as well!

It usually goes something like this – 

Adopted Adult: “I’m having a hard time processing the rejection of my birth mother, and my birth father passed away before I could ever meet him. I would have given anything to meet them both at least one time. I am really sad about it all. My adoption story has caused me separation trauma and adoption trauma that impacts me in every way. I will be working towards healing from these wounds for the rest of my life.” 

Responses we get a lot of the time – 

Birth Mother: “Sorry, your adoption experience has been such a painful one. I wish everybody had an adoption story like mine because it’s a beautiful one. Most adoptions aren’t like yours.” 

Adoptive Parent: “You are basing your option on your experience, but not everyone has your experience. Our adoption has been the biggest blessing of our family, not just for us but our adopted son. God has a plan, and he never makes mistakes!” 

Friend of the Family: “I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Can you imagine how your life would have been if you weren’t adopted? You must be so thankful that someone wanted you when your own biological family didn’t. Aren’t you grateful for the better life?” 

NEWSFLASH PEOPLE – When someone shares heartache and pain, it is not okay to swoop in and share that your experience is so much better. Unfortunately, the adoptee is the one singled out, being labeled as someone who “just has a bad adoption story and experience!”

NEWSFLASH NUMBER TWO: Every single adoption begins with TRAUMA FIRST which constitutes a bad experience for every single adopted person. The loss of our biological mother is nothing to be celebrated, and if we are all being truthful and transparent, that very important piece must never be left out when speaking about adoption. To gloss over this piece is pretending as if it doesn’t exist.

I have also seen adoptees (who are usually in the fog) do this to fellow adoptees. It’s not okay, and it’s never going to be okay.

Let’s change things up a bit so people realize how fucking awful they sound. 

Rape Victim: “I have been traumatized by my experience with John Doe. He forced himself on me, and even after I said “NO,” he took what he wanted to take and forced me to have sex with him, and I did not give consent!” 

If someone responded to the rape victim like they do when adopted adults share their feelings, it might go something like this  – 

Friend of the Rapist “I’m sorry John Doe violated you in some way, but I need to share that I have been his friend for 15 years, and he has never once violated me in that way. I think you just had a bad experience with him. Not everyone has that experience who knows and loves John!” 

Family Member of the Rapist “I have known John since birth, and he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s well-loved and supported in our family. You are the only person with a negative experience with John. I feel bad that you had a bad experience with John, and I hope one day you can move past it and move on with your life. and always remember, God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle!” 

Friend of Person Raped “I am mortified that John raped you! Are you sure you remember things correctly? Because this is a serious crime and John D. has never been accused of hurting someone like this before? Can you try to think positively about this? Of all the years I have known you, you are strong, and I know you will overcome this! One day, you will choose to move on!”

One more example – 

Victim of Racial Discrimination: “Mr. Wilson called me out at work, in front of everyone, and he really embarrassed me and made me feel discriminated against. I was the only person of color, and he asked me to share the history of slavery in America and details about my history with racism. It made me really uncomfortable, and even when he could see I was uncomfortable, I told him I was uncomfortable, he pressed on and made me share anyway.” 

White Co-Worker of Victim“I’m sorry Mr. Wilson made you uncomfortable, but if anyone is supposed to teach us the realities of Slavery in America, don’t you think it should be you? You have the most knowledge!” 

White Friend of Victim“I hate this happened to you, but you are strong. If anyone can handle it, you can! I always want chances to learn about race, and if African Americans can’t teach us, who can?” 

White HR Department Manager of Victim“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will look into this, and hopefully, it won’t happen again. For the record, Mr. Wilson is well-loved around here, and we support him to the fullest. He’s been around 32 years and will be retiring soon!” 

One last example – 

Victim of Religious Trauma Syndrom“I am down in a dark space because all the things I was taught as a child about God go against how I am feeling. My experience with God and church has caused me damage, and I need to find a therapist experienced in religious trauma to help navigate things. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like reaching out to my Christian friends. They will just tell me I am backsliding and the devil is controlling me!” 

Friend of Victim – “ This isn’t my experience. You need to pray and ask God to clarify things for you. Then, get alone, and keep praying. Maybe even fast for a few days. God will reveal the truth and if you don’t hear him, try harder!” 

Family Member of Victim“I think you are confused, and you are focusing more on the negative instead of giving it to God and trusting him with your life! The enemy is trying to take control of your thoughts, and I will pray for you! We all need to pray! You are not praying enough! PROVERBS 18:21!”

ATTENTION: These are hypothetical but sadly at times can ring true for these victims of abuse and these things happen like this all the time. In no way am I minimizing the experiences of those who have been treated this way, yet I am shining light on the ignorance that surrounds statements like this.

Do you see how awful these responses are and invalidating? Well, you wouldn’t say these idiotic statements to the victims of Rape, the victims of racial discrimination, or victims of Religious Trauma Syndrome, would you?

So I am asking you to stop saying these things to adopted adults. Anytime someone is sharing from a space of heartache and pain, they do NOT need you to glorify your amazing happy adoption story at the same time! So please consider stopping this as you are causing harm if you don’t. 

Also, remember while you might be a birth mother or an adoptive parent, you can’t speak for the feelings of an adoptee! Please do not speak for us.

While you glorify your experience with adoption as being wonderful, they have possibly not reached adulthood yet, so they can enter a space of developing their own feelings. And no harm intended but they likely wouldn’t share their feelings with you! My adoptive parents are the last people on earth I have ever shared my real true feelings with!

This goes for anything in life. People need to be heard, validated, and supported when sharing pain, and that is IT! Just because YOU have a happy and positive adoption story, it doesn’t negate my sad, traumatic and hurtful one! When someone has to put a positive spin on someone else sharing their pain, it’s a dynamic of toxic positivity that is so invalidating to so many. Maybe after reading this article, people will see how they sound and make changes. We can only hope.

How many of you have experienced this type of treatment for my fellow adoptees? Has it been in public, online, or in your relationships? I would love to hear about your experiences! How do you handle them?

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Thanks for reading.

Love, Love

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