You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best adoption quotes from the adoptee’s perspective. This article shares 100 Heartfelt Adoptee Quotes that Honor’s the Truth of Adoption from the adult adoptee perspective. As we enter 2022, I decided to call my fellow adoptees to help collaborate and share quotes from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. So, 100 of us came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences adoptees go through during their lifetimes.
While you read these quotes, we ask you to remain with an open heart and mind and enter the possibility that we all have a lot to learn from one another. We must recognize that adopted children grow up, reach adulthood, and consume the rollercoaster journey that adoption brings. We are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As we grow up, we host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to our lives and stories.
By sharing 100 Adoptee Quotes with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to adoption than what society recognizes. Maybe perhaps love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff? Perhaps we should start talking about relinquishment trauma as soon as possible? Maybe adoption hurts more than we would ever know?
Again, we ask for open hearts and open minds.
Thank you to each adoptee who shared their heart here. While you read this article, you will receive validation that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.
We are stronger together.
100 Adoptee Quotes
1. “Adoption very well might have kept me alive, but it taught me to hate and despise my authentic self, until the age of 64 when I learned my truth.” – Mary Constance Mansfield
2. “Adoption changed who I was and made me who I didn’t want to be. Then, I was forced to change who I became in order to love who I am! Adoption Sucks!” – Ofir Alzate
3. “I used to think it was delightful to hear my birth story until one day; I realized that my story sounded quite different than that of my biologically born siblings. Mine had holes, missing pictures, and name stories and included zero features traced back to mom, dad, aunties, or grandparents. The story of adoptees, as told by those outside the triad, is never quite on the mark and often rings like a fairy tale. That’s why today I tell my own story using all the bits I’ve gathered along the way through writing and art in a way that is authentic, and in a way that says my story matters too.” – Lynne Rachell
4. “I miss my home, my culture, my country. I miss my mom.” – Margit
5. “Once I gathered my thoughts and suffered the pain from the betrayal and no family support after discovering late that I was adopted, things started to become clear. The healing process began, and I realized how lucky I was because all of the abuse and trauma came from a family I was nothing like. It all made sense to me, and I started to embrace my uniqueness, and I’m glad I wasn’t their blood after all.” – AnnMarie Serpe
6. “My adoptive parents didn’t know how to meet my needs. I never felt “enough.” Even though I was loved and raised in a better situation, I still grieved for the family I lost. One had nothing to do with the other.” – Andrea Burke
7. “I was never the true person I was supposed to be. I was born into being someone else’s fantasy. I never fit in and never belonged anywhere. My life adopted was a struggle to just be the real me. Even though it’s touch and go, until I met my biological family, I felt out of touch with me. At least now I have landed somewhere, right? – Ellen Ular-Olson
8. “Through all the emotional abuse, I never fit your puzzle in a family. I don’t belong. I can stay in a broken adoption cycle full of shame, pain, and blame, or I can rise and be the best I can be while removing the toxicity and pain; that is what my family brought me.” – S.M.
9. “Adoption may have given me a better lifestyle, but it destroyed my self-worth.” – Kate Kendall
10. “Society needs to stop using the term “adopted” when referencing to animals. It’s dismissive to humans who are adopted. Instead, use the term “rescue.” Unlike us, these animals are actually chosen, whereas we adoptees are merely the next available. Please stop equating our adopted experiences to those of shelter animals. – Cindy Olson McQuay
11. “My “adoption trauma” is the government denying me access to my own records.” – Marci Purcell
12. “Even if your adoption reunion goes well, adoptees often feel like they are on the outside looking in at their birth/first families.” – Daryn Watson
13. “My conception MADE ME; it didn’t make ME. I am not my conception.” – Jeannette Mantilla
14. “I was adopted. But I was not raised in adoption. I was raised in deception.” – Kris Rao
15. “As an adoptee, I am the bridge between two worlds, hanging on by my fingertips!” – Daryl Fuller
16. “Trauma hides who we are like a cloud blocking out the sun. It doesn’t diminish our radiant brilliance.” – Simon Benn
17. “For 50 years, I pretended to be “your” child. You always told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up until I told you I wanted to be who I was “born” to be.” – Virginia Miller
18. “It’s clear to me I’m an unwanted intrusion into her healed existence. My letter was not welcomed and was rebuffed firmly with kind words. An iron fist in a velvet glove that has punched me so hard I can’t breathe for a while.” – Nick Mabey
19. “Being adopted is like being stuck in some sort of senseless protective custody from your truth and DNA: Forever hostage in the trap of a triangle that no one else sees. I’m surrounded by constant reminders of how much pain was felt by the two families I am caught between in order to exist in the life I have. How could I not feel that being born was the crime I am paying for?” – Kristen Steinhilber
20. “What I’ve learned from deconstructing my thoughts and feelings on my Adoption story is that the grief I hold for my family that I never had the chance to be – for the biological siblings I never go to know or meet – that the longing for my roots doesn’t undermine the family I was raised in. Humans have a great capacity for love. I can hold space for both my first and adoptive family. I can now finally do that without feeling guilty.” – Allison H.
21. “Part of the lived experience for intercountry adoptees in the USA is being told by all of society, as children, that we can never be the president of the United States. This is an aspect of intercountry adoption to the US that is seldom talked about but has weighed on my mind for as long as I can remember.” – Meggin Nam Holtz
22. “Finding my voice as an adoptee has been a lifelong pursuit & finally, I am at a place where I welcome connection with others who have gone down this road as well. Together we stand strong and invite others to join us on this journey of self-identity.” – Abby Jacobson
23. “Your Mother is the one person in this world who is supposed to love you, no matter what. Mine didn’t.” – Stephenie King
24. “And where is the adoption trauma you speak of? It is the expression of an infant’s rage at being torn from its Mother. This is experienced as a life and death moment by the infant/child. We are dealing with the normal and expected response to a premature infant/maternal separation. This pre-verbal trauma is stored within the body and, when recalled (not remembered), is experienced as an emotional flashback. This is the biological base upon which the child’s infancy and childhood is precariously placed.” – Michael Grenfell
25. “Voice of the Adoptee Child – Please, do not love me “as if” I was your own. Love me because it is inevitable to love a child. Take my hand and come to know my heart – my Mother and father’s share with me. They are part of my fabric. Do not try to rip them away, just because their pattern does not fit your décor.” – Copyright, Shirley MacKenzie
26. “Sending heaven-bound love to the mother who gave birth to me, loved me and was brave enough to let me go to a better life than she could provide; and to the mother who raised me as her own and who gave me a true mother’s love and guidance.” – Judi Euritt
27. “The hardest parts of being adopted: Society celebrating your adoption without acknowledging what you have lost!” – Maria Roach
28. “I was a foundling, discovered naked in a beer box, adopted shortly after. I was told to feel grateful and to live as if it never happened as if my story started in that box. The fact that I was there and yet can never remember how my life began haunts me as I carry that weight of pre-verbal trauma every day. I want to rip the flesh from my bones and dig down to see if the truth is buried there.” – Baby Lilac
29. “My adoptive parents want to pretend I wasn’t a baby taken; my biological parents want to pretend I wasn’t a baby given. Imagine your very existence being uncomfortable for everyone.” – Jennifer Harris
30. “I am one of the lucky ones. I speak to my first Mother on my birthday, the adoptee’s eternal day of dread. She sends me a card, thoughtful gifts, and we chat about life. Still, this “birth” day consumes me with unrelenting sadness that lingers in for weeks and takes hold of my very soul. It weakens my spirit and my bones. I suppose it always will.” – Susan London
31. “Being an adoptee is living in a world of unknowns while simultaneously trying to create a world you have control over.” – Jullian Drzewoszewski
32. “An adoptee experiences their first death, at birth, let the grieving begin.” – Robbin Lee
33. “Always on the outside looking through frosted windows.” – K. Henson
34. “I want the world to know that Adoption = a lifetime of fighting to learn my truth that I deserved from day one.” – Cynthia Dort
35. “Living with strangers, confused and detached. Not fitting their script, hearts felt split.” – J.Q.
36. “When I had my own child, it was the first time I saw myself. As she grew, I knew her. I realized I have been in survival mode since birth. And it is okay to be me so that she can be herself.” – K.B.
37. “I may have been “chosen” by one family (if you even subscribe to that “chosen adoptee” bullshit to begin with), but in order to be chosen by one family, I had to be rejected/abandoned by the family/lies that brought me into this world. Rejection is real. It hurts.” – Laureen Pittman
38. “Space is a difficult concept for Adoptees who are often clingy and want to solve any conflict right then and there. We are afraid that whoever needs space from us will never come back.” – Kirk Andrews
39. “It doesn’t matter to me” feels like “you don’t matter to me.” – K.B.
40. “Being an adoptee doesn’t solely define me. However, being an adoptee is a lifelong experience!” – Jane A.
41. “Adoption isn’t a better life. It’s a different life that started with loss and grief. Reunion is often seen as a Hallmark moment and thought to heal everything, but it only showed me all that I had lost. Being an adoptee is a life of overcoming obstacles that normally wouldn’t be there.” – Lorah Gerald @theadoptedchameleon
42. “Adoption has affected every aspect of my life.” – Tonya Jean Nunnally
43. “Perfectly in order with God’s plan. Blessed with the full spectrum of emotion. Particularly gratitude. To see how much He’s cared for me and blessed me in a myriad of ways.” – Christopher Thomas Wilson
44. “Ripped from our Mother’s womb. No bonding time. Who are we? We are the ones who create ourselves. Lost, but hopefully, found.” – Willetta Hill Calvin
45. “In any context other than adoption, the expectation of instant love, trust, attachment, loyalty, and gratitude to a complete stranger would be seen for what it is: evidence of a personality disorder. Society needs to stop pathologizing adoptees for reacting normally to narcissistic abuse and put the blame where it belongs: on the adults who expect traumatized children to adjust to their world being altered in every imaginable way, including a new identity forced on them by new caregivers.” – Jodi Moore
46. “As an adoptee, so many pieces of my identity were a mystery. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out who I am and what my purpose is. Going through the reunification process shifted all of my identity work. Now I live my life balancing two deeply conflicting feelings: infinite gratitude for who I am as part of my Adoptive family and an infinite longing for who I would’ve been as a part of my Biological family.” – Ellie Rosen
47. “As an infant closed adoption adoptee, I have had not just an overwhelming sense of loss my whole life but fear and dread of it. For most of my life, I was pro-life. Partially because of being adopted. In just the past few years, I now wish I was aborted because of the lifelong pain in my soul that seems to get worse and not better. Many of us decide we no longer want to live with it and put an end to it ourselves.” – Tony Sanderell
48. “My parents always made me feel special, so I grew up proud to be adopted. I am still very proud. I just wanted to let my biological parents know that I had a wonderful life, and I was very loved. When I found my biological father, I told him he could not have hand-picked better parents to raise his son. He was very happy to hear my life was as wonderful as he hoped.” – Joseph M. Zinni Jr.
49. “Adoptees share the unique experience of carrying the rejection of relinquishment while also trying to balance the natural human need to be loved and known for who we are. Very little people and spaces can feel safe for us. I have done an immense amount of healing through the building of relationships with other adoptees who understand this experience innately.” – Laura Summers @lauraisalot
50. “I cried for her as if crying for God to be with me, to know someone who can never be known, someone who is known by their absolute absence.” – Kevin Barhydt
51. “I was robbed of the person I was supposed to be. I don’t fit in anywhere – Not with my adoptive family, not with my biological family. I’m like a puzzle piece that was cut apart to fit into a puzzle it didn’t belong to. You can put it in the new puzzle, but it doesn’t look right. It no longer works in the original puzzle because it’s been altered. It will fit in the space, but the picture will never look as intended. The damage was done. That’s what adoption has done to me.” – Jewel Kingsley
52. “Growing up as an adoptee, I was always jealous of my friends that could look in the mirror every day and know where their genetic makeup came from. For me, all I ever saw was a person that I didn’t really know where he came from or where he fits in.” – Robert Knotts
53. “Thru the eyes of an adoptee… We were born as ourselves. Then our identity was taken away, and tried to be made as someone else. We are neither; we are both, plus the person we have become. This is who we are.” – H. Carter
54. “Two moms are not easy to have. Both assumed I would be A-OK with the “adoption plan.” I guess in the end, they both lose out on my true self – which is tragically sad for all three of us. In order for me to be free, I had to grieve them both, even though they are both alive. It’s the toughest thing I ever had to do to be me.” – Jennifer Vroon
55. “Adoption made me a stranger to myself.” – Jessica R.
56. “Adoption robbed me of my living my heritage. I don’t fit in anywhere, and not one “immediate” really knows or cares how I feel, even if I try and express my hurt, pain, and loss.” – Julie Blanchard
57. “My whole life, I have mourned the loss of my original Mother. I don’t know anything different. Yet, I search for beauty and love in the present. Sometimes I find it.” – Paul Kimball
58. “I wish I was aborted all those years ago.” – Dawna Unsell
59. “Adopted people are some of the most incredible humans I’ve ever known. My hope is that adoptees, who have worked on healing and have the fortitude necessary, will start to tell their whole truth about adoption. Let’s not perpetuate the adoption tropes we see in popular culture and media. Let’s be the ones who say the truth: family separation is traumatic and lifelong.” – Haley Radke
60. “Adoption is the beginning of a never-ending search for oneself. We live in the land of loss. We are lost. Maybe forever?” – Sara G.
61. “I’m a stranger that everyone knows, but I don’t know how to explain my reality.” – Lawrence P.
62. “Warning – I’m Adopted.” – Fiona Georgie Myles
63. “Adoption is a form of human trafficking. It’s critical to see it as part of the fastest-growing multi-billion dollar criminal industry in the world. Adoption trafficking has led to generational trauma, suicide, and murder of human lives. In order to bring about the necessary paradigm shift based on the need to save lives, we all have to take responsibility in understanding and accepting this truth. ” – Moses Farrow, LMFT
64. “I have found myself reflecting more about my adoption as an adult. I am grateful that I have had the chance to connect with my roots and learn about the life that I would have had in a very culturally different community. I love to learn more about my birth identity, but I also have such an appreciation for my life now.” – Yael Adler @fromgypsytojersey
65. “I am a cultural Frankenstein caught between two distinct cultures neither one wanted to take me in. I have learnt to accept that I am stuck in no man’s land, neither British nor East Asian, just me.’ – Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen
66. “The joy and tragedy coexist for me as a multi-ethnic adoptee. It is a complex existence to wake up and begin again every day at ground zero, not knowing where I come from because it’s being hidden from me, despite asking for years on repeat kindly and urgently, by the birth mother (her Mother and birth counselor) and the ones who chose to adopt me. Adoptees are not replacements for the voids within adoptive or birth parents, nor are we supposed to be the embodiment of the dream that our adopters pressure us to be. This high level of feigned ignorance mixed with an extreme level of master-manipulation of not only my reality but also my ancestry (past) and my human narrative, which informs my present/future is selfish and unbecoming of any human being looking to live truthfully and love in truth.” – Doux
67. “Adoption feels like a very long rocky road of sadness and rejection but can end up in a smooth and beautiful journey of self-love and acceptance with the right support.” – Michelle @babybebrave_
68. “We’ve heard it all for centuries in the adoption community, “Love is all you need!” I’m here to tell you that love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff. I needed my truth because there is no healing from secrecy, lies, and half-truths. And even after I have the truth, the trauma, grief, and loss will remain lifelong visitors. I feel robbed of what normal people have like I’m marked. Acceptance is key, and acknowledging adoption has stolen 47 years from me. I’m doing a life sentence for a crime I didn’t commit but I moved across the country and abandoned them all. No more tug-of-war split between many families, never really belonging to any .” – Pamela A. Karanova
69. “Starting an adoptee’s story with adoption is like picking up a book and jumping straight to chapter 4. You’ll figure out some things somewhat, but never fully like having those first three chapters.” – Lee McLamb
70. “My true identity will never be. It was thoughtlessly taken away from me. Leaving me longing for answers no one else understood to see. My life as an adoptee has been both complicated and lonely.” – Pamela Lovell Guerin
71. “Adoption is like having an aerial view of a stagnant labyrinth, you can see the twists and turns, but there is no flow from one section to the next. Following the path with constant and unforgiving dead ends, you are left alone and starving. This labyrinth becomes your home where you are forced to exist lost and forgotten, even by yourself.” – Maura Nicholson
72. “Adoption caused me to be stripped of my biological origins and live in an emotionally abusive, alternative reality. I felt like a mistake, with no right to be born. I needed to know how I got here, who and where I came from. It took 50 years to find my answers and enjoy living authentically me.” Barb R.
73. “Being adopted means searching for yourself in the faces and names of strangers and wishing everyone would just take a DNA test so you could get back to your tribe. It also means even after you search and find biological family, you will still probably feel like you don’t belong to anyone.” – Sophi Hamovitz-Richman Fletcher
74. “I came into the world alone; a discarded, relinquished, innocent baby. I had waited 9 long months to meet a woman who I would not actually meet until 32 years after my birth. It wasn’t until I met her face-to-face that I realized how deep this primal wound really is, and finally, I began to come out of the fog. The memory of being one with my Mother is frozen in the year 1981.” – Kimberly R. Weeks, LCSW, CADC I
75. “Now that I have my entire adoption file and original birth certificate, I am still left wondering who I really am. I have been listed as No Name K, Mother’s Name’s Baby, Baby Girl K, Sharon Louise K, and Wendy Kay J, all in the span of 6 weeks. It’s no wonder adoptees struggle with their identity.” – WKJ
76. “I am not a toaster, so why can I readily access more about my toaster than I can about my time as a sentient being?” – Anonymous Adoptee
77. “The best thing adoptive parents can do for their children is allowing them to be different. They will have physical differences, different talents and skills, and different weaknesses. Don’t attempt to mold them in your image, and celebrate the things that make them unique. Be careful not to allow their differences to make them feel ostracized.” – @amamelmarr / Reddit
78. “Please don’t ask why I’m adopted because it will end the conversation faster than saying I’m friends with Prince Andrew.” – @oranges_and_lemmings / Reddit
79. “RELINQUISHED; It’s not that you couldn’t hold on. It’s the fact that you let go.” – Anonymous Adoptee
80. “I think the biggest struggle is finding where I fit into my own world, not anyone else’s. I can be whoever anyone needs me to be, but when it comes to myself, I still feel like the child waiting for that one person I depended on to lead me to success, but my arm is left extended.” – Lexie
81. “I always knew I was adopted. My parents never sat me down and had a formal conversation with me. That wasn’t necessary because mine was an “open adoption.” I was in contact with my biological parents and siblings from the beginning. My parents felt it was important for me to be close to my oldest sister, and she spent nearly every weekend at our house and would even go on vacation with us. I loved spending time with her. It was very painful when she eventually moved away the summer after fifth grade. It had a really negative effect on me, and I felt lost and became withdrawn from my peers. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been less confusing and painful if I didn’t meet my biological family until I was an adult.” – Tia
82. “Embrace culture and change; never be ashamed of your roots. I was adopted at 1 year old from Vietnam and brought to the U.S. My adoptive parents never embraced my culture, and I was put into a predominantly white school until I was 18. I always felt ashamed for being Asian and looking different. It took me years to appreciate my ethnic background, but I am so glad my perspective has changed.” – @Rough-Philosopher-34 / Reddit
83. “All adoptees experience trauma and deserve someone taking the time to address that trauma and help them heal. Also, there is nothing like getting to know your heritage when you never knew where you came from. Finally, to adoptive parents – please let them get to know their biological brothers and sisters if that’s an option because it means so much to know your biological siblings and you find out you have so much in common; every adoptee should experience it if possible.” – Louis
84. “Just because I was raised in a good family doesn’t mean I don’t deserve and yearn to know my beginning story.” – Gina Durham
85. “I am a 60+-year-old woman where I just found out my birth mother lives in The Villages, Florida. The most Trump-centric place on earth. I had search angels guiding me through DNA, etc. All of them say I should contact them, as I have known I was adopted since I was 3. But although this is what I always wanted, I do not think at this stage of my life I want to get involved with a Trump person. Is it horrible that I don’t want to get involved? Btw, I found my bio dad. His family has been wonderful.” – Randi C.
86. “I see you, I hear you, I feel you, said no one.” – Rebecca Leqve
87. “Only adopted people know the experience of your loving ‘family’ and community expecting you to forget your Mother and father, ignore who you are and where you’re from. Requiring a state of voluntary permanent amnesia in which you’re criticized for wanting to recover.” – Kimberly S. Worden-Poledna
88. “Adoptees never experience unconditional love. They are taught that love must be earned again every day. They must demonstrate gratitude every day. It’s a horrible existence.” – Rebecca C.
89. “When I first admitted to being adopted, it started to feel normal to me for the first time. When I internalized that I have more than one root, I realized my strength. Now my adoption is a part of me that makes me who I am. If I hadn’t been adopted, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” – Gamze Bilir-Seyhan @birevlatedinilmehikayesi
90. “Relinquishment severed my soul and my spirit. Adoption and religion didn’t save me. It fractured me.” – Xiomara R.
91. “When I was on the inside, I was one with you. When I was born, you disappeared. Ever since then, I have been stuck in survival mode. And nothing, I mean nothing, numbs the pain. The purchased baby spends their lifetime paying the price.” – Veronica Collins
92. “My adoption story is the fuel that drives everything in my life. I am bigger than the box that holds my story. My voice will NOT be silenced, and if I can get up, I will show up.” – Ms. Ereka Howard MS Certified Life Coach
93. “Not applicable; adopted; do not know my history. Just words filled out for decades onto doctor forms. Now that I know. I am giddy with the knowledge that everyone else takes for granted.” – Meg Cullum
94. “Adoptees were born to do hard things, starting from birth.” – Zinta K.
95. “At that age, she did not know how to miss them, and now she does not know how to remember them.” – Lori Mier
96. “Purchased to heal a wound that was not my responsibility to heal. Identity: stolen, hidden and refused.” – Michelle M.
97. “Dear adoptive parents, our lives didn’t start with you.” – Cam Lee Small, MS, LPCC
98. “The way adoption has impacted my life is that every relationship, every situation is filtered through the prism of the trauma. I have found healing through connection with other adoptees, but it is about living with being adopted and knowing we are like an alien species in this world. We are the voices of the primally dispossessed, and we are beginning to be heard, but it is slowly, slowly, drip by drip. I believe that change will come based on the lived experience of the adoptees who share their stories.” – Julia Richardson
99. “I don’t want to be an island. I crave community, belonging, and reciprocal love – but fear that I’ll only ever be accessible by boat.” – Shantu
100. “Being pulled in every direction trying to keep everyone happy, which leads to self-neglect and poor mental health…and the never-ending cycle continues.” – Harley-Jade E.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read quotes from 100 adoptees. Please share this article in your online communities. Our hope is that we raise a brighter light around adoptee voices and bring the truth to light, one story, quote, and click at a time.
If you are an adoptee, what quotes spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow adoptee’s quotes?
Maybe you are an adoptee and missed the call to be included in this 100, we still want to hear from you! If you are an adoptee who has a quote to share, please drop them in the comment section below.
If you are not an adoptee, but you have been impacted by this article in some way, we would love to hear your thoughts as well.
Once again, a special thank you to all 100 adoptees who took the time to share your quote with me, and in return collaborated with one of the most important articles we can share. 100 of us coming TOGETHER to share our truth is a powerful initiative.