What Problems Do Adopted Adults Have?

When we think about adopted children, most of us picture a happy family of cooing parents bonding with an adorable infant. For the adult who was adopted as a child, however, this blissful image is often tarnished by issues that carry over from childhood.

What problems do adopted adults have? Among other things, they often suffer from:

  • Feelings of loss and grief
  • Problems with developing an identity
  • Reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Higher rates of mental health disorders, such as depression and PTSD.

In fact, Childwelfare.gov reports that, “…most of the literature points to adopted adolescents and adults being more likely to receive counseling than their nonadopted peers (Borders et al., 2000; Miller et al., 2000).”

What Are The Psychological Effects Of Adoption?

Way back in 1982, Silverstein and Kaplan did a study that identified seven core issues in adoption that still hold true today. They are:

  • Loss
  • Rejection
  • Guilt/Shame
  • Grief
  • Identity
  • Intimacy
  • and Mastery/Control

The study reports that, “Many of the issues inherent in the adoption experience converge when the adoptee reaches adolescence. At this time three factors intersect: an acute awareness of the significance of being adopted; a drive toward emancipation; and a biopsychosocial striving toward the development of an integrated identity.”

Loss first comes into the adoptee’s life when they are given up by their birth parents. Although the child is taken into a new family, there is still a sense of loss, even if the child is an infant. We know that it is very beneficial for newborns to bond with their mother – imagine how it can affect a baby who does not make this crucial connection.

Later, as the child matures and finds out they were adopted, that sense of loss becomes a theme running through the person’s subconscious. As such, adopted children typically feel succeeding losses much more deeply than their non-adopted counterparts.

Rejection is part of the initial loss the adoptee experiences. In order to be adopted, they had to be rejected by their birth parents. Later in life, if a birth parent blocks the adoptee’s search for them, the person experiences yet another rejection.

Guilt/shame comes from the adoptee’s feelings of rejection. As we know, children tend to blame themselves when something bad happens, therefore an adopted child naturally questions what they must have done wrong (or what was wrong or “bad” about them) that made their birth parent give them away. Even if the adoptee knows the reason they were placed for adoption, they often still secretly harbor the idea that they were somehow “broken” or could have been a “better” baby, which is why their birth parents rejected them.

Grief is part of adoption because the child lost their birth parents. We see adoption as a joyous occasion for the parents who are adopting the child, therefore the thought is that adopted kids should feel thankful to have a new family. Grieving for what they lost doesn’t usually have a place in the child’s life – it is considered a rejection of the adoptive parents if the child grieves.

Additionally, children sometimes don’t feel the effects of their deep-seated loss until they reach adolescence or adulthood and have developed a high enough cognitive level to understand what the loss means to their life. In many cases, this leads to substance abuse, depression, or aggression.

Identity is another loss the adopted adult must face. While they have been given a new name and identity by their adoptive parents, is it who they truly are? Or are they really the person they were before the adoption?

Even if they fully embrace their new family, the adoptee still suffers a loss of identity because they often know nothing about their birth family. What medical concerns do they need to watch out for (i.e.” does heart disease run in their birth family)? Who are their ancestors? What do they know about inherited genetic ties or family backgrounds?

Intimacy is frequently difficult for the adopted adult because they have such deeply rooted feelings of rejection, guilt or shame, and don’t truly have an identity. Often people who have gone through these negative emotions subconsciously push others away to avoid experiencing another loss.

The Silverstein and Kaplan study notes that, “Many adoptees as teen[s] state that they truly have never felt close to anyone. Some youngsters declare a lifetime emptiness related to a longing for the birth mother they may have never seen.”

Lastly, adoptees often feel little sense of mastery/control over their lives because they had no say in the matter of their adoption. Whether placed with their adoptive family at birth or as an older child, they were not given an option. As they mature, this can result in power struggles with authority figures and a reduced sense of responsibility.

How To Cope With Being Adopted

The first step to coping with being adopted is to recognize that the experience itself leaves residual problems. When the adoptee learns about and acknowledges the core issues inherent to adoption, they can begin to talk about them with someone, such as their adoptive parents, support groups, or a professional.

Accepting and exploring these core issues helps the adoptee work through them. The open adoptions that are the norm nowadays may reduce their sense of loss and guilt, while interacting with other adopted adults can allow the person to feel less alone.

It should be said that, while finding the birth parents can give the adoptee answers and closure, this is a deeply emotional process. Before contacting their birth family, the individual should prepare themselves to experience possible further rejection if a reunion is not what they dreamed it would be (or if the birth parents refuse to meet them once they have been found).

In addition, if an adoptee seeks out a therapist, they should make sure they talk to a professional who has special training in adoption issues.  

We Can Help

If you are an adopted adult and are struggling with your feelings, the mental health professionals at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida, can help. For more information, contact us or call us today at 561-496-1094.

71 Comments
  1. Pingback: What Problems Do Adopted Adults Have? - Natural Anxiety Care Guide & Tips

  2. Jaydon

    Hi there, this artical literally made me cry i been trying to find/seek something like this almost explaining exactly how i feel being adopted, many of these things have only really emerged or come to a reality in my mind recently ( i am 24 now adopted when i was 2)
    thankyou so much, i have realized i have very severe identity issues and amounts many of the other issues in this artical. i always thought i was fine with being adopted i always told people i was to ease my mind but i knew deep deep down i had issues but always pushed them aside.

    thankyou again this has truly help me

    • FocusedLum

      I feel you so much. Also started prossesing this at the age of 22 and was adopted when I was 1. @Jaydon

  3. ZW

    I’m 35 years old and I was adopted when I was a year and half. Even knowing that it was done so I could have a better life, i absolutely feel many of these effects. Loss, Rejection, Identity, and Intimacy have been pretty standard for my adult life. Feeling abandoned by the person that should have cared the most. I don’t connect with people easily and at this age I’ve noticed I’m closed off to most people. Why bother if they will just leave when it’s convenient for them.

    Reading over this and realizing so much of this is me, made me cry. I was so young, I didn’t think it could effect me so profoundly. But yeah, as I’ve gotten older the questions always sit in the back of the mind. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to speak with a professional in my area.

    My name, they changed my name. I was given that name by my mother and I’ve never been called by it in all my memory.

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  5. Ross

    Evening, I’m an adopted male 57,both adopted parents past 2 years apart, I’m am doing research for help,where I’m concerned married 3 times ,I find that I embrace the beauty of a new relationship then only to form a strategy of way to push this beautiful thing apart or find reasons or non petty likings of and in the situation. Then to push away only to try and hold has got at a very large loss and sorrow up until this point.reasearch,therapy and lotta soul searching.just to survive the struggle that I did know existed in so many facets of my life. Coping skills I thought was gonna do it just to realize that I have very few. LOST!

  6. Kayy Marie

    Wow everything this article has talked about i know understand why ive felt the way i have felt my whole life i was put in foster care at 6 weeks my biological mom is mentally and my biological father was in prison ….. my adoption went thru when i was 3 years old…… im now 27 years old with an almost 7 year old and im fighting for custody for her my adopted parents kicked me out when my daughter turned 3 so im doing research about myself so i can better myself to show them and the court of why im the best choice for my daughter to live with……. i hope to find more great articles like this one while i am on my new research journey of myself and life

  7. Birdie

    My story is similar to Jadons. I’m 33 and was adopted when I was 3. I am very happy that I was adopted. I have a very strong relationship with my mum but turbulent times with my dad which probably sparked more feelings of rejection.

    I’ve met some of my birth family but had no connection to them. I’ve never felt shame but I have an overwhelming identity issue which I’m only starting to realise could be due to my adoption.

    I always feel compelled to change my name so I feel like I have a say in it but I can never think of a name that I feel suits me because I never feel like I know who I am.

    It’s quite comforting to know that some of the issues I have are not really my fault and there’s some explanation for the way I feel.

  8. Ian Forsyth

    Hi
    My name is Ian and I am English. I read this with a lot of emotion and interest. I was adopted in Liverpool 68 years ago and have had problems all my life. There is little support in the UK and I am glad there is somewherr in the US that people like me contact.
    Well done and good luck.
    Ian

    • Jay Bee

      Hi Ian I too was adopted from Liverpool around the same time & I too have sought help with issues that I know are based with the trauma that adoption can bring
      I tried to create a self support group but was told by my local authority that no resources could be found even though all I was asking for was for the provision of a meet up facility
      The US seems much more understanding & aware of the lifelong damage that may follow the adoptee throughout their lives. Jay

  9. nightengale

    I didn’t think I had issues from being adopted (closed adoption at birth) but now as a middle-aged adult, I’m learning online for the first time that I actually do have problems most likely stemming from the fact that I was taken from my birth mother and then never bonded with, and was actually rejected and abused both physically and verbally, by my adopted mother . Articles like this are helpful to me, thank you.

    • charlie

      Im 50, I was adopted at 4 weeks old. My Mother and Father are wonderful, I love them very much. I had what most would consider an idyllic childhood. I wanted for nothing and was and still am made to feel treasured. Still I have always felt like an outsider, I feel like people are not going to like me and I have a difficult time getting close to people. I rebelled as a teen. I have been sober for over 20 years now but I went down the drugs and alcohol path. I know why I was given up, in a general way. It was a legitimate reason. Yet I feel most of what your article described. I am a heterosexual woman been with my husband 20 years and I never agreed to have children because I never felt the slightest desire to have one. My husband has been telling me for years that I had these issues and he believes the stemmed from being adopted.

    • Maureen Parker

      I feel like I coul;d throw up after reading this; I am now 63 and was adopted when I was 6 1/2., I was always feeling like I was rejected amd didn’t fit in. I was also taken from my birth parents and adopted by a family where I was not accepted by my adopted mother and older sister. I have had mental health problems as well as substance abuse problems from mid teens on. I am sober now but depression has really ht me lately. I was married twice and have 4 grown kids who have problems with respecting me.

      • Lou

        I was adopted at 6 weeks. I am 62 now and all my life I have feared rejection. I was a people pleaser because I didnt want another person rejecting me. I was bullied at school for ‘ being adopted’ and told every day by the school bullies that my ‘ real parents’ didnt want me. Those feelings and images in my mind are as real today as back then. Sadly my intimate relationships have proven to be difficult and not equal partnerships. They have been manipulative and controlling and I have simply gone from one bad relationship to another because I hate the thought of being alone. Finding this webpage is a breath of fresh air for me to read names not alone in my feelings.

  10. Chris Potts

    Very interesting.

    I’m 70 and was adopted at 5 months.
    I was given an incredibly good upbringing.But was difficult as a child and prone to go my own way outside the mould.I was a delinquent at boarding school and have always been anti authority.The very good English boarding school I attended got me onto the right track.

    I have always had a strong sense of restlessness and insecurity.Which have driven me to be extremely hard working and goal oriented.

    I became a solicitor in a top London firm.And set up my own law practice aged 31.

    I’m restless and bored if not occupied.I channel into risk taking sports :motor bikes,wreck diving,flying,speedboats.

    My half blood sister traced me in 2011.I was hesitant to see her.But we did meet and now have regular contact,although 6,000 miles distant.She has told me about our mother who died 14 years ago without us ever reuniting.I have also met several of my birth family.And the experiences have generally been very rewarding.
    Relationships are difficult and I blanch from total commitment.I have a strong sex drive and have fathered numerous children.I currently provide for 6 from different mothers.2 girls are de facto adopted.I’m fervently committed to treating them all the same as the blood children.

    I have been divorced for 6 years and am living with a partner,with another partner living with my 4 kids 1.75 hour flight from here.I really love and miss them but we’re separated because of C19 regulations.

    I have been a multi millionaire since age 40 and continue to have strong business acumen and tangible material success.

    From what I read ,I may have some of the adoptee problems but I’ve always got over them.

    I hope you find this helpful in your studies.

    • Jane Haugan

      Adoptées On is a fabulous podcast featuring the voice of the adoptee. It’s so insightful and validating.

  11. John good

    Wow I have had feelings of emptiness and been somewhat depressed from time to time about the loss or not knowing my birth parents. I’m 51 years old now and I remember as early as four that my adopted dad told me I was adopted. Dad was a really kind man and he unfortunately married my mother who thinks there are no problems on this earth. She is clueless and not educated or even being interested in being educated. After my dad died nearly 20 years ago I have really felt all alone and my substance abuse flew out of control I did several stays at the Betty Ford to get sober or get 30 days in my case then afterwards went right back to it then in Feb of 2014 a friend from boarding school was in my AA meeting the day after the super bowl, which is the most called in day of the year for sickness or to be excused from work, and he called me out by saying hey john I think you need the seat more than I do and I have a double huneria operation tomorrow. I was trying to give him my seat because he looked sick but I knew he had 12 years long story short this guy by his remark embrassed me so much I have been sober ever since from alcohol I’m still a pot smoker but I rationalize due to my running daily and tell myself it’s okay not to be perfect from obstaining from everything substance wise. Ok back to adoption again when dad passed a part of me did too. I tried talking to mom about finding my birth parents and she simply replied, why, you don’t love me just unreal so I have just put my quest into hiding about finding birth parents plus it’s just too much I’m the black sheep of the family everyone the family on both sides I’m related to is a doctor lawyer etc or highly successful so were we until dad passed then my mother started dating our mayor and gambled all monies away. Now I just go sell at flea markets have five dogs run daily go to the wrecking yard and cook and take care of mother. I have had many failed relationships and very unhealthy relationships I have even chose relationships that some of my girlfriends have passed due to our laxed or party lifestyles again I have put the drink down in 2014 but I still live like a dry drunk most of the time and take adivan when needed due to anxiety and other thoughts I can’t seem to control. All the lying has stopped due to low selfsteem but the happiness and healthy relationships have yet to begin man I just feel so lost at times. I seem to give up at times in my mind but with dogs and exercising with them daily usually keeps me going in a somewhat positive direction. I use to go out with debutants and very rich women,most unhealthy, until I quit drinking. Now the tides have turned from rich educated women due to my environment and what road or path I have taken I have lived all around the country from Charleston sc to key west fla to Santa Barbara ca. I have really done and seen a lot of shit. Since moving back home the last several years to care for mom I have dated three girls in 2020 their ages vary from 27 to 33 to 47 all on disability and uneducated. Just a world of difference mt airy nc verses the other places I have lived in my lifetime. I’m at the point of never trying to have a relationship again because they all end in disappoint. I seem to relate better to my dogs and I look at it also as no
    drama if I stay out of relations and just hang with my dogs. The lack of friends use to bother me but I have come to terms most people just are work dealing with- so when it’s all said and done I’m not the happiest but I’m not the saddest either I’m just all alone except for my dogs then I deal with their deaths from time to time according to their age and I grieve and usually replace the breed I just lost with another of the same breed and the cycle just keeps running like a clock it never stops this is the only way I even know to live right now. Thanks for all the great articles and explanations it really helps to know these problems are common for the adopted child/adult again sincerely thanks John good

    • April Sieracki

      Wow. I really appreciate your statements. I am 52 and was adopted at 6 months. Also, at 18 I gave up my baby girl for adoption. She is 34 and on heavy drugs. Shooting. I’m going to see her tomorrow. I am glad I read these articles, I’ve had ALOT of issues in my younger years with drugs, belonging, and holding onto relationships. This all makes alot of sense now. And just knowing these are common problems with adoptive children is going to help me to talk to her TREMENDOUSLY!!! Thank you again for your input.
      April

  12. Jayney

    Truly and deeply touched and inspired reading through your wonderful and heartfelt stories. You are all such strong, vibrant and wonderful people dealing with this. It’s certainly made me think about things. You are all inspirational, regardless of what you think or feel your failures are. We are only ever a product of our being and circumstances, and in the light of the fact we can’t change that, we can however change what and who we become and how we deal with things.

    I thank god i found this tonight, it will wake and shake me to realise what MY birth adopted daughter ive reconected with after 33 year has felt. God bless you all.xx

  13. Lina

    Hi Chris,

    Thought your comment was really interesting, especially about the part about being anti-authority! 🙂

    I was adopted at birth in an international and interracial arrangement, and conscious of it from about four. However, my parents asked me never to talk about it publicly, afraid of “what people would say.”

    At that time, we lived in a town in middle England, one white English dad, one brown Indian mum and me. My parents fought constantly. Someone once spray painted the word “Paki” on our front door. Even though we were middle class with a Mercedes parked out front, home life felt unsafe.

    But instead of acting up against a racist community or against my adoptive parents, I became *completely* passive. I never once defended myself against bullies, never spoke out of turn to a teacher. I suffered from the disease of compulsive English politeness.

    When you describe “going your own way” and being “anti-authority” did you ever question where this came from?

    Analysing my own situation, I surmised that not having a strong identity to begin with plus being surrounded by neglectful and aggressive people, was the perfect storm to making me feel that “going along with whatever came my way” was the only way to go.

    So that’s why I am all the more intrigued that from an early age you were able to find your own path, and channel that into being admirably successful in later life. Not just materially, but also by always getting over adoptee problems.

  14. Veronica

    Can anyone please suggest a book or two to help a middle-aged man learn how to the deal with the pain of adoption? He’s never learned how to truly love (except his own children), how to be vulnerable, how to be honest and accept his own faults. People who love him, see it so clearly but he’s in denial. We don’t know how to help.. perhaps a great book will be eye opening. Thank you, I’m advance.

    • Roger B

      I was placed in foster homes at age 1.5. After 4 different homes, I was eventually adopted at age 3. Every last detail of this article describes my tumultuous life. At 48, I found the book “The body keeps the score” which has helped me understand how the early trauma had been impressed upon me physiologically. Perhaps this will aid your friend understand how their physiological responses to stress impacts behavior and emotion. I too struggle with being honest and vulnerable, comfortable in my own skin, accepting my failings, fear of rejection, isolation, rage and depression.

  15. JC Crutsinger

    Little did I know that so much of my mental state comes from being adopted. I am 56 and I started self InJuring when I was very little. My parents are non drinking, non smoking, Christians, and if you think that matters to a kid that’s being adopted, it does not. I was still abused, physically by beatings, and being neglected by being ignored because church socializing was much more important. Bible studies all the time. We, my brother, also adopted, also with problems, and I were required to come out, say hi, then go back to are separate rooms to be extremely quiet, for hours. With the beatings we were told “Cry? And I‘ll give you something to cry about.“ That meant 3 more swats, and how many swats depended on how bad the crime was, and always had to drop are pants. Bare butt. I was a sensitive kid and learned very early not to have any feelings and so now I am trying to learn what they are and what to do with them.

    I started hearing voices when I was little and I guess I dissisociate with having different “Parts“ of me doing or having there own ideas. I forget, I lose things, I can even cut myself and not realize I have. I have suicidal ideations that I can‘t seem to get rid of. I‘ve tried it a couple times, suicide.

    I‘ve never been able to have a relationship with a partner for a number of different reasons. I had always wished I had never been born, that I should have been aborted, at least that way I might have come in later to a family that could have kept me, one that I could relate to, in more ways then one. Adoption is not always a answer.

    It was, however, helpful to see, unfortunately, that other adoptees have had similar problems.

    Thanks,

    JC

  16. Maria

    I’m going to be 25 and I’m struggling. I was taken away from my biological parents around 4 or 5 and in foster care until age 9 . I got adopted by a wonderful lady when I was around 11 but she died a month after I turned 14 from cancer . I went to live with her friends after that so I wouldn’t go back into the system. I meet my real family on Facebook and they were so close to each other I wanted to be like them , and be apart of a huge family . But my biological mom is like the black sheep of the family and I just couldn’t develop a relationship with my aunts or uncles because they were so close and I was just so new I tried for years but I never got invited to cookouts or parties . So since I was so alone I just decided to stick with my biological mom who I feel isn’t there for me how I need her to be. I’m not sure if I should just cut off all ties or distance myself because there is so much pain . It’s been years and years of trying to develop a good relationship but it’s not working . It’s more painful to stay but it hurts to walk away too .

  17. Pat Shepherd

    I am almost 70 years old, had a happy family upbringing in the U.K. but like many adopted people I felt something was missing in my life. I dabbled with finding my birth mother over several years, initially triggered when I became a mother myself. I eventually found her but she didn’t want to know me and the hurt from that rejection is hard to describe. After her death I traced three of my four siblings. This turned out to be a bitter sweet experience as it turned out that I was not her oldest child as I had always imagined but her second. Two of these sisters were extremely welcoming towards me and my family but whilst it was lovely to meet people whom I had a physical resemblance, there was no emotional attachment and indeed I found the meetings quite false and traumatic. When I moved house I used it as an excuse to break ties with them. I wrote thanking them for their kindness towards me but saying I didn’t wish to continue any form of relationship. Thinking about adoption and it’s effect on my life, I can identify with almost all of the research given above. I’ve never really felt wanted, even by my own husband and children. Over the years I have recognised that despite a successful career I have never felt accepted for being myself and nwhilst I am described as an outgoing, friendly person I have numerous past friendships that have withered on the vine because as soon as I show my true self I am rejected. I have learnt to be what I think other people want me to be and whenever I take the risk to be myself, I am rejected. Adoption is a lifetimes burden and I say that despite the fact I had two amazing parents and brothers. On a more positive note, now as a grandmother at long last I believe my grandchildren accept and love me for who I am. It’s taken a long while to get to this position, if you are not adopted you will find it difficult to understand.

    • Roger B

      very well said, I feel same. thank you.

    • Mary B

      So brilliantly described. I , among the thousands of others like myself adopted at birth in New Zealand between 1960 up until mid 1970s transversed the highs and lows of the adoptee legacy. I feel an immense appreciation and deep level of understanding while reading the very personal and so many times the emotionally painful journeys we have endured. Reflecting 53 years down the track, adoption and I were regular fighting partners, everything I was from my beginning, over 53 years right up until today directly originated from being adopted. If I knew then what I know now I would of walked away from the fighting ring but it wasn’t the right time. I had to learn the skills of endurance and resilience to come out the winner. I believe I succeeded from being the weaker fighter challenged with all the facets of being adopted , rejection, abandonment, anger, guilt, feeling unworthy, unlovable, hypersensitive, shame, empty, struggling with identity, anxiety, nicotine addiction, searching naively for approval from others often being so disappointed ☹️ and searching for that imagined eutopia where I belonged ….I fought all of these issues from my adopted opponent in the boxing ring for years. Age 53 years on, I choose to step out of the boxing ring, hold my head up high knowing that my being adopted 53 years ago was outside of my control. It doesn’t define who I was the moment I was given away nor who i have become, it was how it was in those days with closed adoptions, My biological parents whom I rarely have contact with, not by choice have their own families, their own lives and life experienced. I have the best of both worlds… the lived experience of adoption and the wisdom that I don’t let to let adoption have control over my every being. There a definitely triggers like birthdays any many more but that’s all they are…. a short lived trigger that i refuse to indulge that only serves to pull me down. I do walk my journey with those I love and who love me together. Some days I venture off the path on my own but it’s doesn’t overwhelm me as it did because where I had no confidence in any of my abilities now I do, where I over leaned on others for security and approval now I’m not compelled to, where i felt I was insignificant and of lesser worth now I know I am very significant and extremely worthwhile just as much as anyone else adopted or non-adopted is. I believe I finally won against an extremely strong powerful fighting opponent in my boxing ring… 53 years later 👌 Mary B

  18. Lia

    Lia Brewer
    August 18, 2020
    I was taken from my Biological Mother at the age of 4 because they say that I was neglected, placed as a ward of the court, put in foster care by social services where I was physically, sexually and mentally assaulted until the age of 11 actually where I was finally adopted by a Couple with their own daughter. The woman ended up being a real piece of work, she drank often with her best friend and ridiculed and ostracized me most nights, there was nothing I was ever praised for by this woman in front of her friend. This got worse after she learned her husband had another woman, they weren’t supposed to adopt me if either were single, this woman did anyway some how. When I started my Period at the age of 9, she told that I made My self sick. One of my first foster mothers tried drowning me, her husband sexually abused at 4-5. Adopted mother’s boyfriend molested me at 16 , never told her she would have blamed me and kicked me out of the house. He could keep his hands to himself. It seemed like my whole life consisted of one of these people, I asked myself on a regular basis what the hell did I do for all of this do I sound pissed, you bet I am, I still I I’ve thought of taking a knife many times and cutting deep not to do away with myself but to help stop my agonizing pain of being placed in these situations. I am seeing a Psychiatrist he thinks that I’ve managed to cope to get this far, but there are things I haven’t dealt really.
    I resented having my name changed at the age of 6 where I knew perfectly well what it was. I lived with my Biological mother long enough to know what she looked like, her even and possibly my father to miss her every day suffer panic attacks where I couldn’t breath’ couldn’t eat without feeling sick. I remember this woman, adopted mother I had no love for speaking at through the bathroom door while I was attempting to go to the bathroom,being so upset and crying and talking to myself and her demanding to know what I said and that was,”Where’s my mommy! I MISS HER SO MUCH!! This woman put her head back and cried loudly when I think back about it, it was so fake. She didn’t get me any help, attempt to anyway tell the social worker about any of my anxiety or severe panic , because I had Alot of panic like attacks breathing episodes and I would sit and just sob.
    This escalalated in today and I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Severe Anxiety Disorder, panic Disorder, PTSD, Social Anxiety
    There is so much more about this adopted family that I could talk about. I’M IN Canada!

  19. Bella

    Hello everyone,
    I am an adoptive mom. I adopted my daughter and twin brother from foster care. Their mom was adiicted to drugs, sadly my daughter seemed to suffer the most mentally from it. She is now 18 years old, and took off to live with her boyfriend and his family. They are only dating 4 months. Sadly our family has lost all contact with her, even her twin brother she no longer associates with. My husband and I have tried to text, call, etc, but are not receiving any response. She has had an extreme amount of issues throughout her life (hospitalization, police, cutting, etc). We worked through these issues, and were doing well. She met the boy mentioned above (we found he has quietly insulted her, lied to her, and is 100% dedicated to his family~ a true mamas boy-his mother won’t let him leave home at the age of 18). My daughter talked about moving out, I supported her decision and even tried to help find a house for her that we would help purchase so she didn’t have to rent. There was an issue of me asking for help, but she had to go with her boyfriend so he could help his family. The next day, again I asked for help, but he needed to leave and she followed. That evening, after a bad day of being overwhelmed, and having to clean up some of her mess, I exploded. I said things I shouldn’t have, which lead her to say “that’s it, I’m out of here”, and she left. Her boyfriend took her to his house, and she basically cut us out of her life completely. I know I was wrong for exploding at her, but in my heart I feel if she could have taken one hour to assist me none of this ever would have happened. I know we are both at fault for that night. I have been trying to mend our relationship, but am at a loss since she won’t talk, text or see us. I did seek therapy. They tell me to let her go for now, but my heart is crying just to speak with her or see her. Can someone please give this heartbroken adoptive family guidance on what I can do for my daughter. I know I am missing something, but with her not speaking to us, I do not know what it is. I really want things to get better between us, but can’t reach her. I appreciate any input you can give. Thank you in advance.

  20. Heather

    After suffering from panic and anxiety I felt I needed to investigate possible reasons. I was adopted at6 months to an incredible family. I was loved and doted on and never felt I wasn’t wanted. Having said this from a young age I always felt I didn’t quite fit. My whole life I’ve felt “ not good enough” and I could never really figure out why. Because the feelings I experienced seem to go hand in hand with a poor childhood with abuse or lacking love neither which I experienced. How ever my need to please or fix or never be the one that caused someone to feel bad seem to stem from the fear of being given away or not wanted. It seems hard to understand that at 6 months old I might have been cognitively aware enough to feel abandoned. I’m not sure how to learn that it’s ok for me to accept love. I’m married with children and love them with all my heart.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Heather, Please contact us through the contact page for the options and support available.

      • Mary

        Hello, are there any online support groups that are somewhere. They have groups like this online for Recovery of many things, so I am wondering how about for adult children that were adopted. I have looked into intherooms.com
        Thank you for any help.
        Mary.

    • Melissa P.

      Hi Heather.
      I just felt compelled to comment that I TOTALLY understand and relate to your post! I have the same confusing feelings. Great upbringing, but still at 49 feel not good enough or that I’ll ever fit in. Thought I’d grow out of that as I got older and started my own family. Still waiting!
      I just felt the need to let you know that you are not alone.
      Melissa

    • Cynthia Trier

      Heather. I’m 65 and have had those feelings as well, and a great upbringing. However, the not feeling good enough, has lasted. But in looking back my adopted parents never told me , good job, well done. Never praised. Also never in my lifetime have I heard them tell me they love me. Now I know this just wasn’t done back in the 50s and 60s, but in hindsight it should be number one! As an example, still, was 52 and sang at my mother’s brothers funeral. Everyone was shocked that I could sing and was telling me how beautiful it was. My mother chimed in, oh course she can sing, she got that from me! Never once saying how nice. She also never heard me sing alone before. Ps. I was adopted at 9 months.

  21. Claudia

    Can you recommend any good literature for an adoptee suffering from pretty much all of the above? I’m 50, was adopted at birth, had an amazing life, but have always felt restless, unloved, angry, lost, and have absolutely zero sense of self. I need to get my shit together. Would love some direction on reading material. Also, to all of you feeling the same way – I SEE you!! <3

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Claudia, Please contact us through the contact page for the support and recommendations available.

    • lb

      Hi Claudia, I’m a fellow adoptee. Check out the books THE PRIMAL WOUND and COMING HOME TO SELF by Nancy Verrier. I highly recommend them both to help you understand and process the loss, grief and issues around adoption.

      • Liv

        Thank you!

    • Jane Haugan

      1. You Don’t Look Adopted by Anne Heffron
      2. 10 Foundations for a Meaningful Life no matter what’s happened by Pam Cordano
      3. Primal Wound
      4. Podcast- Adoptees On

  22. Darrin Beazley

    Loss of identity is my major issue. Find life pointless and abserb. Zero self esteem and motivation. Enduring total mental health bi polar so darkness is my state of being. Drug addictio. Never wanted kids and hate love. Feel alienation no self. Yet find substance in fanatical devotion 2 many successful sports teams MUFC all Boston teams Celtics ,Patriots and Red Sox. Covid 19 unemployment yet adore second lockdown AK NZ. Find respite and solice in music. Adopted from birth by exceptional loving grandparents. Close 2 birth Mother and all nine siblings. Am a completely broken puzzle with pieces missing. Abyss. Struggling through each day.
    How is it going and I reply U cannot deal with my reality always suicidal.
    Have empathetic accepting friends and family can’t destroy them.
    That above list of adoptive issues I’ve focused on my whole life. Yet am still good honest productive humorous popular wise encourageing person inspite of my mental paralysis

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Darrin, Please contact us through the contact page if you are interested in the options and support available.

  23. Davy

    My wife is adopted and we have never talked about her being adopted. I can see many of the symptoms that you write about in her and how they affect her and our marriage. Wish we had gotten counseling years ago.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Davy, If you and your wife are open to it, please contact us through the contact page for the options and support available.

      • Dianne

        Can you please share tips for people who are in romantic relationships with someone who was adopted and have some if not all of these issues? My boyfriend was adopted and I can tell he is trying so hard to make me happy but part of him is shut down to me. There are several other issues that we have that are talked about in this article. Please help… thank you!

  24. River

    I just found birth relatives.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have.
    Ever since I talked to them I have felt like “Oh my God ! I am biologically related to this crazy story.”
    And I do mean crazy.
    I saw pictures of the birth mother, and now when I look in a mirror, I can see her. We resemble each other quite a bit.
    This has affected me in a negative way.
    I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this. Maybe I don’t want anyone else to know the horrible stories.

  25. F Johnston

    I was adopted at six weeks from the hospital in which I was born. I have always felt ostracised from my adoptive narcissistic mother, now departed. At age 63 I still can’t form lasting relationships. I have learned to live a solitary existence now after two failed marriages. I have pieced together a sense of self after many years of suffering. I believe my rights were never considered and still are not acknowledged. I had the chance to meet my birth mother some years ago but chose not to fearing further emotional turmoil. I feel betrayed by all who participated in the adoption. Multiple immune diseases affect my life and I believe are the result of past traumas caused by the adoption process and the family I was so carelessly thrown into.

  26. David

    I am recently married to a woman who was adopted. She is a wonderful person in many many ways. However, I can see a trace of all the characteristics you mention in the above article. However, the one that is significant is the intimacy difficulties. This was a surprise to me as I never met a woman who did not want to be intimate and I always considered that to be a strong female desire.
    What can I do as a caring new husband to help penetrate this realm and enhance our relationship? It is obviously very deep rooted. Any tips you can provide me, or reading material, will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You!

  27. L A Anderson

    I am a biracial man adopted as an infant in Pittsburgh PA. in 1957 by a Black Family. I grew up in a Black family atmosphere but I am not Black. I have been searching for an answer to why I feel how I do and now I know I am not alone. I too was physically and mentally and sexually abused as a child by my adopted mother. My adopted father divorced her and it took years for him to get custody of me from her. I have since moved to CA. And married a Black woman for over 30yrs. And am still feeling lost as far as “Who I am.” I just keep going on, I will be 63 this year and thought this emptiness would fade, but it hangs around my life like a pain in my side.

  28. Maryann

    To think I was alone, apparently not based on the comments. I’m a 49 year old adoptee, adopted at birth in a closed adoption. My ex-husband was the one who told me I was adopted, not my adoptive parents. It’s a small town, everyone knew except me. My adoptive father was deceased by this point. But, in reading through what files were kept, it was my adoptive mom who wanted to keep everything locked up tight. This has been confirmed by many adoptive family members. It also makes sense to me as I’ve observed her through the years.

    Identity has been a huge challenge since my adoptive mom tried to mold me into a little version of her. It’s taken quite a few years of undoing and redoing according to my heart, not hers. It’s a continuing process. People-pleasing and abandonment issues were also very prevalent, and there were times of feeling suicidal and that I could easily slip into substance abuse. Control issues, anxiety, and the need for autonomy are still present.

    What I can’t seem to get to is forgiveness, particularly my adoptive mom. She’s 88, needs a small level of care, but I find myself very angry with her. I don’t want to take this out on her, but I’m mad at the lies. I can’t reconcile how someone could treat another’s life so cavalierly. Maybe that will come as I continue to grow, I’m not sure but I hope so.

    Blessings to you all!

    • Kathy

      Maryann, I can relate to your anger. I’m struggling so much with anger towards my adoptive mom. I want to forgive her for everything, but I really feel just bitter resentment…which is NOT a positive feeling. I am praying to rid myself of this, and all the other struggles of being an adoptee.
      Wishing you peace for your journey.

  29. Jodi

    I am 49 years old and was adopted when I was three months old. My biological mother had me at first but was very young and she unable to take care of me. I was adopted into a great family. I was loved and very well taken care of. Three or four years ago the state I was adopted in opened their adoption records and I was able to get my original birth certificate. I found out who my biological mother was and that she had passed away 16 years ago. I was also able through biological relatives find out more about her and that I have a half sister. I found out my biological father was young and abandoned my biological mother when he found out she was pregnant. I always wondered about my biological mother but not my biological father. I had my son when I was 21 with a man I loved but was a alcoholic with many other problems. We split up soon after my son was born. I still had tremendous support through my adopted family. I first remember having depression after having my son. Not the post pardon kind but depressed about being a single mom and life at times. I have struggled with depression for 27 years now. I’ve been mostly on medication for it. Since then I have gone through menopause and have been diagnosed with Bipolar II. I am pretty sure I am bipolar II with more on the depressed end. I believe menopause was a major trigger for it. My problem is I really suffer with depression and lack of motivation quite often. I am on medication with a pretty decent psychiatric nurse practitioner. I kind of feel like I have hit a wall with her though and she can’t do anything additional for me.
    When I found out I had a biological 1/2 sister I wrote her a letter. ( She is 10 years younger then me.) 2 1/2 years later she called me. That was about a week ago. I found the call a little weird. She said she had anxiety. She was either very emotional or a little off. She verified my biological mom had had me and loved me. She also said she would like to meet me some day. We live very far apart, I am in no hurry or even sure I want to meet in person. I thought in writing all this I would feel somewhat relieved but honestly I don’t. I feel mostly numb. I have been pretty unmotivated lately,
    I know I have abandonment issues and mental health issues but I am really not sure about the impact of how being adopted at 3 months old plays into it. I would really like to get over my depression and be a relative happy person.

  30. Maya Duble

    I’m from India. My twin sister and I were adopted at 6 months old into a caring family out of an unnamed orphanage. We are the eldest kids, adoptive parents had to biological kids after us. We were told that we were adopted at 8 years old. Being Indian, Adoption is still a taboo subject and we were told not to tell anyone when we were growing up. Someone in the school found out and teased us relentlessly when we were teenagers, as a result, my twin sister left the school. Both of us finished our Graduation and Post-graduation in different states from the one in which we live. When we were young, we found letters addressed to my adoptive parents (in our adoption file) by their parents advising against the adoption or to take just one of us, although we are twins. Even though I understand the concerns, that is something I’ve carried with me since I was 8 years old. Relatives used to tell us stories of how we were put to work when the Bio kids were born, it wasn’t anything that other older kids (1.5 yrs difference between the first bio kid) weren’t put to. Only recently, after turning 25, we felt a sense of loss, self-hate, being unwanted, and rejected. I didn’t realize this happens in adulthood and found this article to be very helpful.
    One thing that haunts me, is that we were told that our Birth mother died during labor, and I’m Twin two.
    I feel responsible for her death and therefore the change in my sister’s and my life.

  31. Anonymous

    Hello Dr Rosen
    I have read all of the posts & my heart goes out to each & every one who is suffering experiencing anxiety / stress from being adopted. I wasn’t adopted but I did adopt a beautiful little girl when she was 3 yrs old. She is now 26 & I can see she is struggling with anxiety. We weren’t given any support from social services 22 yrs ago & basically left to get on with it! Which we did & she is a successful young graduate excelling in her field. However I to am struggling and I worry about saying the wrong thing & possibly driving her away. We’ve got this far but suddenly I feel helpless!

  32. Kyle

    Hi guys I am 26 and was adopted at the age of 2 along with 4 brothers and 1 sister and kept in contact with with two of them until I was 7 as my other two brothers were in foster care at the time until they got adopted that’s when the contact with them stoped the last I heard of my adopted mother was that there new family’s didn’t want to keep in contact. Which I can see from there point of view as this might keep riminding them that they are not actually blood related. I’ve had problems growing up getting in fights mainly in school for being the “adopted kid” and struggling to make friends. It’s only when I met my wife that I started to talk about it.(but not my full emotions) it’s nice to talk about it sometimes but I dint like being put in the spot with questions about my adoption I’d rather come out with it myself and explain little bits in my own way. If anyone has a way of finding siblings they have lost in the uk I’d be interested to know how to go about it thanks guys.

  33. Kathy

    Thank you everyone for sharing. Hearing my adoptee feelings by so many others, was unbelievably helpful. I feel less alone, less crazy. I think another issue for adoptees, is the isolation they experience with these challenges of adoption, and even going to therapy doesn’t help, because of this isolation. I’ve been to great therapists, but none have ever really addressed these issues stated above as categorically ones I have to deal with. I’ve instead worked with my ‘known’ struggles with my adoptive family, relationships, guilt and shame, etc. But to clearly say the above issues are the ones that come simple due to the trauma of adoption needs to be more readily accessible to therapists and adoptees. Additionally, so much guilt is heaped on an adoptee for not being ‘grateful’ for their adoption. However, since loss, grief, loss of control, and all the other issues surround the adoption, it IS difficult to get to gratitude and integration of self. But we are all on this human journey, so we get to choose to find as much healing as possible…maybe even spending hours a day focusing on healing. We ALL want to be joyful, present, loving, connected, purposeful. Adoption is part of our story. I like to think it’s possible for us as much as any other person. I personally have found Alanon & ACA (it’s adult children of Alcholics, but I like to replace alcohol for ADOPTION!) Adult child of Adoption…so I get to heal all my little girls that were Deeply wounded and re-parent myself in a community of people who also experienced childhood trauma & less-than enough parenting. I’m gonna keep coming back here to hear from your hearts. Thank you for making me not feel so alone in all my negative feelings.

  34. Michael King

    This post and all the following comments are like a mirror to my life. It’s profound how consistently we all have manifest the shortcomings of adoption. I suffer from every point mentioned and experienced the same failed relationships, substance abuse, utter isolation emotionally, lost professional opportunities due to emotional unsteadiness and/or substance abuse ect.
    About 9 years ago, I found my birth mother by mutual consent, as others have, after changes in the law. She was married to a retired dentist, a wealthy practicing Christian. It started well and for 6-8 months we had regular contact, she was folding me into her “real” family – a stepson and his family (age 48) and my half sister and her doctor husband/kids (age 36). My birth mother was eccentric, at times there was evidence that she was very cold, other times smothering, fawning. She was happy to find that I had succeeded professionally (I was totally sober for 6 -7 years).
    And then, it all suddenly changed into a terrible situation instantly!
    Once my birth mother realized I was researching my father and taking a DNA test she went ballistic and cut me off immediately, as well as the rest of her family immediately shutting off all contact. That was some years ago, none has ever communicated again, although I tried gently to reach out several times. Rejection #2 was a body slam. She had good reason to resent my curiosity but I didn’t know it yet.
    There was a big discrepancy in the two versions she told me about my father – that he knew and ran or never knew she was pregnant. Her encounter with my biological father was a brief one, but she was a Special Forces groupy apparently. She, early in pregnancy, managed to marry an Army buddy of my real father who agreed to raise me as his – until he found out who impregnated my mother! He demanded to be sent to Vietnam ( as a Green Beret Medic) to escape my mother and his mistake marrying her. Incredibly, he was killed 30 days into Vietnam while trying to divorce my mother long distance. That left her with GI death benefits, single and pregnant. She had tried to abort me but couldn’t find an illegal abortion clinic in Myrtle Beach when she and her GI husband tried. Her dead husband bore such a resemblance to me in photos that I suspected he actually had to be my biological father, either she lied or was mistaken. In speaking with the family of the dead GI, and actually paying for their DNA tests, we concluded my father was the person named by my mother. Old Army buddies of my biological father and my mother’s dead GI husband, as well as his sister told me my mother was a monster, crazy. Her stepson told me she was a monster, that I was so lucky to have missed the torment he received. The dead GI’s sister sent me a huge envelope of correspondence where my mother is harassing the family for money after their son’s death, after she gave me up. DNA tests, led to a 1st cousin who also said my mother,( her aunt) was a monster. She sent me an envelope of papers where my bio mother had cleaned out her elderly mother’s bank account (my and my cousin’s maternal grandmother) and literally abandoned her in her last days. This happened while my mother and I were meeting, and my grandmother was literally 40 minutes from my house, abandoned! The pastor of our grandmother’s church confirmed this, she gave me contact for a Meals on Wheels volunteer that was the last to regularly visit the elderly woman. My first cousin (on the opposite coast) had to claim the body and pay for a funeral because my birth mother refused to have any contact with anyone regarding her mother or settling her estate after death.
    In short – I challenge other adoptees to consider these questions:
    What personality type would let go of her/his own child?
    Are some of the problems we are experiencing as a result of the Mortal Wound, also exacerbated by genetic mental or emotional deficiencies of our birth parents? Are we more susceptible genetically in many cases also?
    My adopted family was pretty unstable due to a violent father who beat and verbally humiliated my adopted mother regularly. He became a distant but still occasionally explosive figure the last days of my adopted mother’s life. He was an open philanderer and had started an affair with young gold digger that had much of his attention. My adopted mother and I were literally in his way for the life he wanted. When I was 16, my adopted mother whom I loved and worried for constantly was found shot to death in the passenger seat of her car on a dirt path that joined our subdivision. It was ruled a suicide in small town South of 1984 but few believed that – neighbors hired a private homicide detective, and family members (including me and my mother’s sister) all believe he staged it. I moved in with my aunt and her family at age 16 and he went to another state with the mistress, I assume because he had barely escaped a murder charge and wanted to keep a low profile. Money was never an issue, my adopted father was very successful in business, but all of this violence after the adoption really has made a mess of me as a human. Today is Thanksgiving for example, my wife and son are eating elsewhere as I sit at home alone, another holiday that I opted out of to be totally alone (except dogs).
    Much sympathy for those whose life has been turned upside down by this very real phenomenon of the mortal wound.

  35. mc

    This is helpful information, and myself had really only began digging into this a few years ago after a lifetime of struggle. I am 40, adopted at 6 months after a brief foster family. Raised in a comfortable middle class christian family. I was told since I could remember I was adopted, but was always loved and supported by them. I suffered lots of bullying growing up, was very sensitive, needy, and emotional, and was in and out of therapy. I never fit in, was always last picked, ostracized, which pushed me into more of an oppositional mode of being. Once I moved away from my incredibly repressive home town things got a little better. I have had many friends, and social groups have coagulated around me for one reason or another, but even with that, I always have felt outside and not a part of any group or tribe if you will. I have a deep suspicion and even fear of large groups and group ideologies, whether it be religious, political, national, racial, or cultural. Rather than having a loss of identity, it has made me a fiercely independent thinker.

    I was encouraged from my adoptive parents to seek out my birth family in my early 20s. I have always wanted to find out about them, but became less interested once in college and distracted with social life. I did meet them through a mediated meeting with the department of HR, as it was through the state. They were still together and I had 2 siblings, much younger. I came to understand why it all happened, being they were poor teens in the deeply conservative south. My mother was swept away to a single expectant mothers home, so many in their lives never found out what happened, until I became known. We have a good relationship and I visit them, as well as adoptive family when back in the region. I also developed a great relationship with my siblings, as we are all smart and driven. Until meeting them, the shocking similarities to my genetic family felt alien and even wrong in the context of my upbringing. It has led me to believe a lot more in nature than nurture, though the experience of loss and alienation due to the adoption is an unshakeable weight in my life.

    Restless, uncomfortable, negative, angry, helpless, hopeless, and alone are my regular emotional states. Despite growing up comfortable, obtaining a terminal degree, and having a bit of professional success and recognition, I have lived hand to mouth, through many difficult times and situations. I always have operated from survival, which has left me exhausted and hopeless. This has caused conflict in my relationships and employment situations over the years. I have also used and abused substances for most of my adult life though I am a little more balanced these days, and find responsible psychedelics helpful. Channeling my restlessness into my work has proven helpful, though even that gets taken to an extreme…

    I have had a few long term relationships, including being currently married and with her for 12 years. She has done her best to try and help me through this, and even led me to this deeper journey, though my inability to trust or have faith in the future has created a deep conflict. It has made me scrappy and a survivor, but also leads me to feel I am best alone, and that she will leave regardless. Perhaps it is why also she is closer to my birth mother’s age than mine, and when we fight, she threatens to leave…. not a great cycle to find oneself in with such baggage.

    I had found a therapist which specialized in this field, and it did help a bit, but due to finances, therapy is no longer an option. While I have worked through a lot of the deep feelings and understanding, I don’t feel this will ever change. I can’t help but feel it will all be taken away in a moment, that the good in life is fleeting and elusive, and that a true bond of trust and love is impossible. I am currently in the position of possibly losing my wife and my way of life, and it feels completely unavoidable, and following that I will be alone until the end. The lack of agency in my life mirrors my initial experience, which has become even more concrete and self-enforced. It helps to know I am not the only one dealing with this, but it sure feels like a curse to bear.

  36. Ian

    Hi All

    I woke up this morning wondering whether my other half’s personality might be a result of her adoption when she was 2 weeks old and it is like a light has appeared. She is now in her 60s and the big issues I face are her desperation to have “recognition”, and the lack of intimacy after over 25 years of marriage. There is no doubt she wants people to look up to her, to be appreciated publically, so gets involved in a community activity where she gets in the local news a lot, On top of that she has had employment where people reply on her expertise so presumably makes her feel valued.
    She did meet her birth mother before she passed some years ago and understands why she was adopted away- all positive- and has a half sibling from the birth mother who she relates to very well. She doesn’t even want me to cook for myself even the simplest things and prefers to do it for me. It is as if she wants to be indispensible.
    It all does have the classic feel and the question for me is where I go from here as it is hard work nowadays. I am glad I looked this up.

  37. Sad Mom

    I am an adoptive mother of an amazing 19 year old son. He has been ours since birth. We have been told over and over that he shouldn’t have “adoption issues” because we brought him home from the hospital, but have been skeptical.
    My husband and I have seen all of these signs for many years, but have felt helpless in helping our adopted son get support. When he started high school he seemed to put up a wall. We have tried therapy – both family and individual, but that seems to make him feel worse. Because he has shown patterns of and spoken of not fitting in, not being good enough, not forming solid relationships, pushing people away, struggles in school in spite of having a very high IQ, substance abuse, lack of confidence, etc., it is difficult to say to him, “you are adopted, so you need to be fixed.” We feel like we are telling him there is something that is wrong with him, which will tear him away from us even further than he feels already. It is breaking our hearts that he is pushing us away, and appears to be on a path of self destruction.
    What can we do to help him without reinforcing the idea that he is “not good enough”? I love him so much, and I don’t know what to do.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available.

  38. tetris

    Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offering such helpful information here.

  39. JOY WINTERS

    I am the grandmother of an 18 year old grandson. My husband and I adopted him when he was 7 yrs. old. At 14 he wanted to se his mother. We arranged this. He has always know his father. When he met his mother he wanted to go live with her. We allowed this. This is when all of his problems started. He attended a large high school while living with her.. His started getting failing grades, wouldn’t do his homework, hanging with the wrong crowd. In January of that school year he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 2 weeks for depression and suicidal thoughts. He came back to live with us and nothing we do or say helps him. He won’t do his school work and just recently turned 18 so he is dropping out of school. He has gone back to live with his mother which is not a good environment for him to be in because this is where all of his problems started. But he is 18 and he tells us we can’t make him do anything. He has anger problems, no motivation, very few friends, those he has are loosers, has trouble making friends and fitting in, feeling accepted. He doesn’t want us to meet any of his friends (boys/girls) Is constantly on the phone talking to trashy girls.
    It is breaking our hearts that he is throwing his life away and he seems to be going down the wrong path.
    Can you recommend a psychologist in the Frankfort, Lexington or Louisville, KY area that is experienced in
    the treatment of these psychological effects of adoptees?
    Also, what else can we do to help him? We love him so much and we don’t know what else to do. Thank you for any advice or help you can share with us. I would be willing to bring him to your office in Florida if you think it is necessary.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Joy,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available.

  40. A

    I feel like going crazy after I found out my adoption paper.. I’m now 23 almost 24, I was adopted when I was only 10 days old. My biological mother gave birth to me when she was 21 years old, don’t know much about my biological father but they had me out of wedlock. I feel almost all these signs.. and it sickens me when I look at myself and all these physical features are not from my parents (adoptive), but rather from someone who are now strangers to me. My father hasn’t told me yet about this, he, my mom and my brothers promised to tell me when the right time comes. But, I found out about it all by myself while looking for other documents instead. I feel.. lost, immediately. Lost, sad, mostly things unexplainable. I don’t know how to wrap my mind around this. Might need some time and maturity to accept the fact that I was adopted.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi A,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available.

  41. Judi Beauford

    So so happy that this research is being done. I was adopted at age 2 and felt the rejection and isolation from it. I’m so glad people are TALKING about this, NOT to cast shade on adoption, but to educate parents on how to parent adoptees better, and to educate adoptees on how to heal. I can say for myself, at age 56, I have established a firm identity for myself, finally. The rejection issues when I was young affected me profoundly and I never married, but I have extended family that I love and keep connected to, so my message is don’t lose hope. Adoption is NOT perfect, but is does allow for life, and I am glad I’ve had the chance to live mine. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work that you do to educate people about how to heal from the pitfalls of Adoption.

  42. Fay

    Hello, Everyone,
    This article caught my attention because it doesn’t soften its description of the troubles adoptees face as adults. It was reassuring to hear these serious symptoms laid out so clearly and that there is a reason for them. I am a 57-year-old female adoptee and was adopted through a privately-arranged adoption when I was 3 days old. My birth mother and adoptive mother went to the same gynecologist, and he arranged for the adoption.

    I have three adult kids and I found the article because I was in the middle of answering a long email from my 23-year-old child that was asking me about some of my past overly intense emotional reactions to situations in her and her older siblings’ lives that weren’t really that big. For instance, when my first-born met her first boyfriend (a nice young man) and drove off in his car with him, I felt this strange seeming-not-to-fit overwhelming sense of grief and loss and fear and couldn’t stop sobbing for days. There are many other examples like this one. As I was trying to write my reply, I found myself reliving those experiences and feeling those painful feelings again, and it occurred to me to google adoptee trauma manifestations.

    I found my birth-family when I was 30, and though I’m glad I did, the imperfect state of our reunion has created more pain. I had my first panic attack when I was 13 at a birth-control class and fainted from it. As a teen and continuing into adulthood, I have lacked a sense of self and have been plagued with deep fear from any criticism or perceived rejection. As a teen, I learned how to chameleon very well, but I was an empty shell walking around. I have been constantly filled with shame–even over tiny things. I spent 10 days in the hospital due to severe anxiety when I was 23. A counselor I saw said it was interesting how my anxiety was so closely related to a feeling of shame; she thought it was unusual. Somehow I’ve managed to live a full life, but my anxiety has always been severe. I began an SSRI recently for the first time, and it is helping. I didn’t realize I was also experiencing depression until the SSRI started helping.

    I feel for every one of you, and I hope we find that this organization might offer some online workshops and support groups. Those of you who are in a really bad place right now, please reach out for help!

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  44. Buddy Collins

    Tuesday, March,30, 2021 11:56 AM
    My name is Buddy I was adopted when I was four years old. I am now sixteen and living with my amazing adoptive parents. But I still feel something is missing my mother was the one who told me I was adopted when I was eight years old. To tell you the truth it hit my hard to the point where I just broke down on the spot from then on I just felt empty and really really depressed and curious. Sometimes I think it’s my fault sometimes but my parents told me it wasn’t I still can’t shake that feeling though, it’s hard. I spend many nights just laying awake or standing on a building top thinking “What could I have done differently?” A lot of people hurt me some I forgave and some I never forgave my birth parents I never forgave. Now I just want to save people and I know my truth now I’d rather die saving people then thinking about the past and how it hurt me.

    • Dr. Andrew Rosen

      Hi Buddy,

      Please contact us through the contact page to learn more about the options and support available.

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