What Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Understood
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What Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Understood

We may come from different blood lines but our love is strong just the same.

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What Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Understood

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” – Oprah Winfrey


“Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.” ― Jodi Picoult

“We should not be asking who this child belongs to, but who belongs to this child.” – James L. Gritter

“Adoption has the dimension of connection — not only to your own tribe, but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties and family. It is a larger embrace. By adopting, we stretch past our immediate circles and, by reaching out, find an unexpected sense of belonging with others.” – Isabella Rossellini


Being adopted makes your situation different in several ways. Your family dynamic will always work differently.

Adopted by a wonderful family at the age of 5 I have learned to deal with being adopted. My situation in particular doesn't include never meeting my birth family or being adopted by strangers that were looking for a child. I was fortunately adopted by my birth mothers ex-husbad and his new wife. I was lucky enough to get to grow up with my step sisters and experience what a loving family really felt like.

As a parent adopting a child I'm sure there are many things running through your head. In several cases being adopted is a blessing. Some children are born into families that do not have the means to care for them. Several children are born into families that have a drug addiction or alcohol problem. Most of the time i find in those cases the adoptive parents would rather distance themselves and their child from the birth family, obviously with good reason.

One thing that i have experianced first hand is wanting to meet my birth family. Pitching the idea to my adoptive family didn't go so well. The look of confusion and anger quickly grew on my parents faces. I'd imagine that they were thinking "Why would you want to meet someone or spend your time with someone who didn't want you or would rather spend their money on drugs or alcohol instead of caring for you?" or maybe "Have I not done enough for you?" would have crossed their minds as well. Now to be clear I'm not saying that their reactions were unreasonable or unessacry, quite frankly i would feel the same if put into that situation. As someone who has been in this situation there is only one thing i can suggest.

Go ahead and express your distaste with your child and explain the reason why it hurts your feelings or makes you uncomfortable and let them respond. Instantly shutting them down with a "no" or "absolutely no" creates feelings of confusion and frustration. I really believe that 99% of the time the child will meet the birth family and want to keep in shallow contact with them but never have i seen an adopted child grow to appreciate his or her adoptive family less after meeting his or her birth family. It is purely a curiosity in its most honest form.

A few other things that would create better communication and understanding between you and your adopted child:

Never use the birth parents as an example of negative reinforcement. There were several times that i deserved disciplinary action but the example of my birth family would be used to warn me of what i could turn out to be if i continued to act the way I was. In every situation that this occurred i had deserved to be grounded or to be disciplined but i didn't quite understand why something i was inherently a part of was being used to make me feel ashamed or make me act right. It frustrated me and hurt me in a way that i to this day remember. Although i have succeeded in having a sober and successful life i feel like there was definitely a better way to encourage smarter action in me as a teen.

Parents aren't perfect, they deal with so many things at once and we kids put them through so much hell that its understandable that their temper escapes them at points. Just remember that words are forever. Some things will never erase themselves from your childs mind.

Another thing:

Theres a chance that your child won't want to do what you think is best for them in life. Whether thats a choice of sport to play or what to wear or if they go to college or not. What Im trying to say is that DNA is unalterable. Unfortunately no matter how much time you spend with your child they will always and forever be made up of someone else's DNA. They won't always see things the way you do, adopted or not but in particular their characteristics are going to differ from yours in a larger way than a blood related family members would. Remember to appreciate the talents your child possesses and the passions they're chasing no matter if you think its the best or not. They need your understanding and support and if they fail at least they know that you still love them.

This last bit is for both adoptive and blood related parents both.

Your child needs your emotional support. This means communication is key.

In any relationship whether husband and wife or parent and child or between employer and employee communication is key. I understand that as parents there are things that make your frustrated or things that your child has tendencies to do that you don't understand. Positive reinforcement and simple communication skills can be the answer to your child understanding your point of view. As a teen there were several incidents where i needed advice on a situation that was bothering me or i needed to tell my parents that i had made a mistake and i wanted to discuss it. Several times my issues were demeaned by them being made out to look unnecessary or a cry for attention. As a teenage girl obviously there were times that i purely wanted attention. Although more often than not i truly sought the opinion and life knowledge of my parents. Consistently i was in a situation where the question i asked made my mother angry or frustrated her to a point that we began to argue. Yelling solves nothing, in fact in my opinion is purely shows the sign of someone refusing to listen to anything but their point of view. In a yelling argument listening is not possible, both parties are competing to be heard over the voice of the other thus nothing gets resolved.

My tip? If you need a moment to get over the stupidity or naivity of their question simply state that you need a moment to think about your answer. Doing this gives you time to try to see things from your childs perspectives and gives you time to travel back to when you were a kid and how you were feeling about life when you were their age. As parents i understand that life and the "Real World" has drastically altered your way of thinking and understanding but your child has not yet been tainted by the cruelty of the world... so try to understand that the party last Friday or the girls calling your her fat in the hallway or the or the boys making fun of him because he's not allowed to stay out late are all potentially detrimental situations in the mind of your kiddo.

Adopted or not as a child and as a parent we all look to our parents for hope and understanding. They have more experience, more intuition and a clearer way of seeing things than we as children do. The relationship is never going to go smoothly 100% of the time. You may be an adult and haven't spoken to your family in years, you may be in the situation where you've already lost your parents. Cherish each conversation you have with your parent and parents do the same with your children. It vital that we try our hardest to see things from the others perspective, this will continually help avoid confrontation or the escalation of the argument. Remember what you say is there permanently. Help them understand themselves and try to be encouraging. Adopted or not the love a child has for their parents is inherintaly unconditional but just remember that damaging conversations could permanently damage the relationship.


“When she looks in the mirror, we want our daughter to know herself. It’s hard to face the world when you don’t know where your face came from.”

--Adoptive parents

“I believe one of the most sacrificial acts of love adoptive parents can do is to give up their preconceptions and agendas about what their child's views "should" be and be open to hear the conflicting emotions and thoughts their child often experience

-- Sherrie Eldridge

“My life has been shaped by the decision two people made over 24 years ago. They decided to adopt a child. They got me, and I got a chance at the kind of life all children deserve.”

--Karen Fowler


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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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