Adoptees’ Perspectives As Adults

You read and hear a lot of inspiring and feel good stories of children that are adopted, but have you ever wondered how the adoptees now feel about their adoption now that they’re adults? I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing 7 adults to hear their stories and what adoption means to them. Their stories are both insightful and sentimental, and some are real tearjerkers. As you read their stories, prepare to have some tissues handy.

I interviewed siblings Amber and Zach to share their stories and perspective on their adoption. Their birth parents were only teenagers, and their mother worked with their adopted mother.

Amber’s story and perspective of adoption

“I was adopted at 9 months old by my parents who were unable to have kids of their own due to my mom missing some reproductive organs from birth. My birth mom was only 16 when she became pregnant with me, and she had the mental capacity of a young child. She attempted to take care of me, but ultimately realized she couldn’t. That’s why I was adopted at 9 months old. Growing up, I questioned a lot about being adopted. What would my life be like if I would have stayed with my birth family? Who was my dad? Did I have any siblings? I resented my parents for not allowing me to have a relationship with my birth mom. It was a closed adoption, but I still was able to see everyone from my birth family other than my birth mom. As I grew older, I realized it was for the best. The best thing that happened to me was my adoption. My birth mom was in and out of different places to live. She had a lot of mental issues, used drugs, and lost custody of children she had after me. My parents gave me the best life I could have growing up. And for that, I’m extremely grateful for adoption.” -Amber 

Zach’s story and perspective of adoption

“My view on adoption is that it’s one of the greatest acts of love/sacrifice that a parent or parents will ever make. It’s wanting your child to have the best life possible, but realizing that life isn’t going to be spent with you. In my case, my birth parents were teenagers who dated shortly and were ill-equipped to raise a baby. My birth mother worked with my mother, Debbie, and it went from there. So I was adopted at birth, and I was raised as my parents’ child, so I’ve never known anything different. I grew up knowing I was adopted. I can’t remember when I was told, but it was always brought up in a positive light and that my birth mother had wanted me but couldn’t keep me. I’m in regular contact with my birth mother and my younger brother, but my father has made no attempts to contact me, and the times I’ve run into him, he actively avoided me. I know not all adoption stories are great, and I’ve heard horror stories, but I consider myself lucky to have ended up with the parents I did and grow up the way I did.” -Zach

The next person I interviewed prefers to remain anonymous. They were taken out of a drug and alcohol situation that turned deadly. Their story has brought me to tears, and their perspective has a very positive outlook.

Anonymous story and perspective on adoption

“I was adopted when I was 10 years old. I grew up in a very abusive household, living with an alcoholic mother and a heroin-addicted father. I loved my parents very much and knew that the drugs and drinking that they did were wrong. I never wanted them to get into trouble because I was so afraid of losing the only family I’ve ever known. I didn’t want to go over to my friend’s homes after school or on the weekends because I was so scared something would happen to my parents when I wasn’t there. School was my safe haven, and it was the only time when I had a balanced lunch. Some days I wondered when I’d get my next meal; my mother would sell the majority of food stamps to enable my dad’s addiction and to keep him around. Most things about my life with them I don’t like to bring up, but thankfully, I was placed in an immediate foster home after my frantic 911 call about my father’s overdose. I just remember crying so much as I watched my father remain unresponsive as I was hiding in my bedroom closet on the phone with the first responder. My mother screamed at me, saying it was all my fault as I got taken out of the only home I’ve known and the only family I thought I had. The foster family that I was placed in ended up adopting me! My two adoptive dads always made sure every day was full of love, warmth, and care. And they helped me grow up to be a child protective services social worker. I’m very thankful for adoption because it saved my life, and I believe it has the power to change any child’s life, especially if they had a childhood like mine.” -Anonymous

Ben’s adoption story and perspective show the love of a kinship adoption when his mother was neglectful of Ben and his brother. He says that he’s very thankful for grandparents everywhere who devote their lives to take care of their grandchildren.

Ben’s story and perspective on adoption

“I was adopted by my grandparents when my brother and I were in first grade and preschool. I remember going to school in dirty clothes and unkempt hair. Teachers were concerned for my brother’s and my welfare when my mother would show up late to get us, which caused CPS to intervene. Long story short, my grandmother fought in court to keep us out of foster care, and she ended up adopting us because of my mom showing neglect. My perspective on adoption is that I think it’s an amazing and unselfish thing to be a caring family willing to take a child or children in their home. I’m very thankful for my grandparents for adopting my brother and I and showing us what a great and caring family environment is.” -Ben 

Cindy’s birth father was in and out of jail, and at 10 years old, she realized her father wasn’t fit to parent.

Cindy’s story and perspective on adoption

“When I was 10, I asked my adopted dad to adopt me because I believe everyone needs a mom and dad, and my dad was in and out of jail. He was never around, so we went through the process of me being adopted, and my real dad signed the adoption papers on my 12th birthday. There were rough times as much as good times, but I am glad he adopted me and showed me love and had that daughter and father bond with me. My feelings on being adopted is that it’s amazing that someone who isn’t a child’s parent can come in and step up to give them a parent.” -Cindy

Celia’s story and perspective on adoption are that she’s glad to have been adopted by her best friend’s parents.

Celia’s story and perspective on adoption

“I got adopted at 13 by my best friend’s parents. My birth mom got sick with cancer, and when she died, and I had no other immediate family members that would take me in, so I had no choice but to go to foster care. I didn’t think there was any hope for me, and I was scared of being adopted by complete strangers. I didn’t want to change schools, lose my friends, and move to another state. But luckily, I got adopted 6 months later after I told my friend what was going on. Her parents felt the need to take me in and got to work getting everything set up for my adoption. When I got invited over to my friend’s house, she and her parents told me the news, and we had a small adoption celebration. For the first time in a long time, that day I felt true happiness. I’m lucky to have my best friend as my sister and adoptive parents who have already considered me as their daughter. My perspective on adoption is that it’s the greatest gift you can give a child who’s lost the only family they have, and to give them a fresh start in life.” -Celia

The last person I chose to interview prefers to remain anonymous. Although she has had some very strong and mixed feelings on adoption, she feels it’s a great thing to help children who need loving adults to care for them, when the birth mother they’re closest to can’t do it on her own.

Anonymous story and perspective on adoption

“My birth mother is currently incarcerated. She was in and out of jail for retail theft and tried to change her life around when I was born. My birth father was never in my life, so my mom tried her best to raise me on her own. I’ve always been close to my birth mom, and we always did everything together growing up. I looked up to her, even though she wasn’t the greatest role model. She taught me how to steal when I was around 12—stealing things from makeup, to clothes, to basic household necessities we couldn’t afford. Unfortunately, up until I was 16, I thought I was invincible, and it would always be my mom and I being content as long as we didn’t get caught that is. Well, we did, and she took the fall for me.

While in jail, she had no choice but to give me up. I was in a foster home for about 3 months and still rebelled and stole, thinking I wasn’t worth being adopted at my age anyway. Come to find out, I did get adopted by an elderly couple in their late 60s who my mom knew through the church she went to. I remember feeling very strong emotions of just not wanting to be adopted and wanting my mom back so badly. But no matter how much I rebelled and how bad I verbally lashed out on them, my adoptive parents showed me unconditional love. When I turned 18, they let me leave their home but told me I was always welcome back with open arms. Before I left, I sobbed heavily, thanking them for taking me in and showing me endless love and support, even when I felt like I didn’t deserve it. Now I’m 25, and I still keep in touch with my birth mom and my adoptive parents. My perspective on adoption is if a family is willing to open up their home to a kid, or in my case, a teenager as defiant as I was, I see it now as one of the most life-changing experiences. If you would’ve asked me back when I was younger, I would’ve said that adoptive parents only want the good, younger kids, not the kids who are going to be an adult in a few years. Now I see it all differently. If I wasn’t adopted, I’d probably go down the same path my mom did. My adoptive parents gave me a chance at a good future, helped me graduate high school, and showed me how to be a good person. They helped me see my potential and showed me there’s much more to life than a life of crime and material things. I’m forever thankful for them.” -Anonymous

Adoption is both a wonderful and sensitive topic and having birth parents with issues dealing with mental illness, neglect, drug addiction, incarceration, and abuse can be traumatic for adoptees. But with these stories and perspectives, there’s always a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel. I thanked each adult adoptee I interviewed for sharing their remarkable stories with me, and I hope that their stories moved you too.