I was adopted. That does not automatically make me lucky, and it doesn’t automatically put me in debt to anyone. I am still a human being, just like everyone else, and my circumstances don’t change that in any way. We are all dealt a hand when we are born, and our fates are not in our control as we wind our way through the experience of childhood. Now that I am an adult, I can reflect back on where I came from, and I often do. And as an adoptee, I appreciate it when others understand what it’s like—here are five things I want them to know:
I Was Adopted – 5 Things I Want You to Know
But I am still human, just like you.
Children don’t come into this world with anything other than an innate will to survive. Whether you are born into a family situation and were “planned” or you came to be from a one night stand, you were born into this world in a way that was completely outside of your control or choice. As a human being, your circumstances were not your choice, and regardless of how you came into this world, you are entitled to a basic upbringing that will prepare you for a successful adult life. I don’t expect to be told that I should be grateful that I was adopted and that I am somehow in debt for that.
Just because I was adopted, doesn’t mean that I am not curious about who my biological parents are and what their ancestry is. In fact, most adoptees are extremely curious about their biological roots. As an adoptee, I am very passionate about my right to know where I come from and who my biological parents are. There is no law or argument that will convince me otherwise, and I will never let any of that get in the way of my basic human right.
If you’re not sure what to say to an adoptee about his or her circumstances, then don’t say anything at all. I remember being told when I was growing up things like, “you’re so lucky,” or “you look just like your brother.” As an adoptee, I just don’t want to hear any of that. I don’t feel “lucky,” and I don’t look like my adoptive “brother” whom I have nothing in common with. Please don’t pretend to know how I feel about my own situation, and don’t just assume that it’s all sunshine and roses.
It is hard for adoptees to reconcile the fact that they were not able to stay with their biological families—no matter what the reason. In many cases, they will fantasize about what their lives might have been like if they had not been given up for adoption. It is traumatic for many adoptees to accept the fact that they were not kept in their biological families to be raised and they often place blame on themselves. I was no exception. Although I knew intuitively that it was the circumstances and not me personally that led to my adoption, I often felt bad about myself because of the situation.
I have heard all the arguments about how a biological mother or father was promised they would never be found, or that they need to be protected from the truth somehow. But it is not often that I hear about the rights of the adoptee to know about his or her biological roots. In many cases, it seems that people make their judgments based on the notion that the adoptee is a child. But the adoptee grows up, and there is no justifiable reason to deny his or her right to know where he or she comes from as an adult.
Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.
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