5 Aspects Of Adoption That No One Talks About
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5 Aspects Of Adoption That No One Talks About

Adoption comes with more than just a new family.

5 Aspects Of Adoption That No One Talks About

When people ask me where I’m from, I never know what to say. Most of the time, I say “Seattle” or “Washington,” but sometimes I feel like I have to explain that I’m adopted from China and that I spent most of my life in the United States and that my parents are white.

For many years, I used to not think about my adoption too much, but once I started talking to other adoptees, I realized that there were many other experiences we shared as well.

Before jumping into some of the things that no one talks about when it comes to adoption, I will give a disclaimer. Many adoptive parents and adoptees may not agree with these points - due to their different experiences and values. I want to respect everyone’s take on adoption; however, I must acknowledge that adoption is a complex, multi-faceted topic that is related to many other aspects of one’s life, family, relationships, and even their country’s politics.

With that being said, here are some things about adoption that no one talks about:

1. Race

Now, this is probably something that mainly applies to transracial adoptees (adoptees who have parents of a different ethnicity); but it is something that many adoptees struggle with from a day to day basis.

Whether it is people wondering why you don’t look like your parents, why you don’t fit the typical “stereotype” for your race, or adoptees experiencing microaggressions - these are all parts of the reality of being adopted.

In the adoption community, we have to recognize that some parents and others are being color blindwhen it comes to our race, as well as that some adoptees are segregated because we don’t fit into our families or communities. As someone who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I used to try to conform to the culture that I was brought up in. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that I can be both Chinese and American. And while some people might point to me and say that I’m Chinese or that “I’m basically white”, where my identity rests is not just American or Chinese American; it’s somewhere in-between.

2. Missing answers

For adoptees who don’t know who their birth parents are, obtaining information can be a life-long search that may never lead anywhere. Wondering where you’re from or who your biological parents are is a common and unfortunate symptom of adoption. While some of us come to terms with our missing origins, others find that they need these missing links of their identity. Part of growing up adopted means that you have to struggle with your core identity from a very young age. Do I look like my mother or father? Do I have any biological siblings? For many of us, we will never know.

3. Mental health

Mental health and adoption was not something I thought about until recently when I realized that my anxiety and depression was directly linked to my adoption. As people who were often abandoned at a young age, experienced trauma, and potentially went through a lack of care from orphanages or caregivers, adoptees are at higher risk for mental health issues. Even if you were adopted at a young age, you may have still experienced trauma that can affect you far into adulthood. Although a lot of these topics are taboo, I’ve learned to admit that I have abandonment issues, have felt unwanted/unloved, have separation anxiety, and more because of my adoption. It is my hope that more of us can join this conversation as well to help adoptees who have to face these struggles.

4. Adoptive parents and their impact

Something that isn’t talked about enough in popular media is how much adoptive parents can affect adoptee’s lives. I’ve heard from many adoptees who have been on both sides of having both positive and extremely negative experiences with their adoptive parents. Some of our parents are much older than most parents. Some of us have many adoptive or biological siblings. And some of us feel like we never fit in with our family, or have been emotionally abused by them.

For all adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents out there, I would urge you to consider all adoptee’s viewpoints and also be open to learning and understanding more about what it means to be an adoptive parent. Don't come into it with the view that you just want to "save a child" or that the child should thank you for "giving them a home."

Instead, listen to your child and understand that they need to grow into their own person and find their own identity; regardless of the way you raised them.

5. Thinking about being adopted and feeling overwhelmed

Something that adoptees think about a lot is all the aspects of adoption that controls a lot of parts of their lives. When you stop and think about it, it can be very overwhelming. The thought that you are the “second choice” for your parents who couldn’t conceive. The thought of losing your birth parents from a young age, and wondering if you would be a good parent. Or the fact that you ended up in a situation that you never asked for, and had to live with the consequences of it.

Although it is impossible to think about all these things on any given day, I have found that these are the things that we, as a society and adoption community need to consider. All of an adoptee’s feelings are valid, and that is why these feelings should be expressed in adoptee communities and beyond.

Overall, I hope more adoptees can share their experiences and that we can start to really talk about adoption, from all sides. We must recognize that there are many more facets of adoption that can’t be covered here; everything from adoptee representation in media to dating. But as this community grows through social media, I hope that more people will listen to adoptee’s voices and seek to expand their views on what adoption is like.

We must recognize that there are many experiences of adoption that need to be shared and embraced.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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