Is this really common among adopted families?

posted 3 years ago in Adoption & Surrogacy
Post # 2
16 posts
  • Wedding: September 2017

I think it’s reasonable to expect at some point, your adopted child will not consider you their “real” parent. They will probably want to investigate their biological families, and push you away. However, I believe if you raise them correctly, they will realize what it really means to be family, and come back to you. Teenagers/young adults do crap like this to their biological parents, and it’s probably worse in adoption families, but I certaintly wouldn’t let that detract you from going through with it. Sooner or later they will realize how fortunate they were to have you as a parent

Post # 3
608 posts
Busy bee

TwinkleBoss :  One of the biggest challenges with adoption is attachment.  It’s one of the many reasons that prospective adoptive parents are vetted so thoroughly before they are approved to adopt.  Attachment isn’t always a given, even with biological children, but there is a much much higher risk that adoptive families will have difficulty with bonding and attachment. 

There is a lot of information available that you can look into, but many adoption professionals will try to find a family that matches the child’s needs from an emotional, psychological, physical, cultural and ethicity standpoint – that means that sometimes it’s best not to place a child with a visible minority in a small rural village where they will not encounter anyone that looks like them or shares any cultural/ethnic heritage.  I suspect much of the reading you’ve done about adopted children feeling as though their identities were stolen results from this sort of situation.  

As an aside, I have never heard of anyone pushing foster care over adoption.  I work in this field – adoption and permanency is the absolute goal to help children in need of a home achieve a stable home environment.  Foster care, while necessary, is not often the best solution for a child because it’s temporary and the child knows this.  Children who’ve been shuffled around to many households can have an even more difficult time bonding/attaching with their new foster/adoptive family and it can take a lot of dedicated work on both sides to overcome this issue. 

ETA: Supporting adoptive children to explore the question of “where they came from” is critical to their identity development.  Adoptive parents need to be prepared to answer this honestly and put their own feelings aside as their adopted child grapples with the decision to dig deeper into the circumstances of their adoption and possibly meet and even have a relationship with their biological family. 

Post # 4
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

This doesn’t sound anything like how my adopted friends feel. Now I do have a few friends who dealt with the foster care system and had bad foster parents. But those are actual horror stories of abuse and not the same because I am assuming you obviously don’t intend on fostering/adopting children to abuse. 

None of my adopted friends have ever sought out their biological parents. The closest any of them has come is doing DNA tests like 23 and me. But that was only because they were curious about their ancestry (for fun)  and health risks (to be practical). They all love their parents and siblings just as much as any other family I have seen.  

Post # 5
9157 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

my friend just adopted 3 siblings, none of them are special needs.  2 other friends adopted  newborns in the past 3 years and none of them are special needs.

my brother has spina bifida, so i know a few families who ONLY adopt special needs children.  one has grown children of her own before she started adopting and the other was a single lady who felt a special place in her heart.

good luck.

Post # 6
222 posts
Helper bee

I agree with pp that all children tend to have a “rebellious phase” sometime in their teens when they challenge your authority as a parent. Often this is by wanting to stay out late, boyfriends, talking back etc. but it does pass and your relationship recovers.

With an adopted child, their rebelllion might involve questioning your role as a parent in comparison to their biological connections. But it is recovered from. It’s very rare that these phases of teenage angst continue into adulthood, although it does happen for some people.

Whether the child is adopted or biological, you can never tell the future of what might happen. But as a rule, you get back what you put into the relationship. So giving the child lots of love is the best thing you can do. There is little difference between biological and adopted children.

I don’t think the issues you are worried about are specific to adopted children as everyone goes through a struggle as they mature and examine their place in the world. Having an “identity crisis” is normal and not taking it personally if your child does want to search for their biological relations will mean you can avoid a lot of heartache.

You are clearly a fit parent as you are concerned about these things. An unfit parent wouldnt even think about it. Often child free people would make great parents because they actually put a lot of thought into what it takes to raise kids and have no illusions to how difficult it will be. But it’s that way of thinking that prevents them from having children! I wish you all the best in your decision.

Post # 7
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2027

I think this highly depends on how old the child is when they’re adopted. Other factors to consider are open versus closed adoptions, and domestic versus international (I would be much more inclined to research my bio parents if I were adopted from another country, and these kids MAY feel less attached to their adoptive parents if they are of a different race). I would love to adopt some day, but I’m not sure I would be strong enough to withstand the whole process- or be able to afford it. I’m terrified that I would become attached to a child and then find out the mother wanted him/her back- which in some states they are legally allowed to do until the child is 5 through some loopholes. For the record- usually part of the adoption costs include counseling both for the child and parents regarding many issues you described above, though obviously counseling is not always effective.

Post # 8
72 posts
Worker bee

TwinkleBoss :  As with most things in life, people tend to tak emore time to broadcast the negetive than they do the possitive.  I have the honor to know many parents who chose to give a child a home.  In the vast majority of circumstances, the children think of their adopted parents as just plain old parents and are grateful for being choosen into a loving happy home.  Off those, some have choosen to find their biological families, but not to flee from their adopted families but instead to understand where they came from.  The reasons they do include gathering medical history, to see if they have siblings, or to understand why they were given for adoption.  In some instances this led to their circle expanding to include a biological family, but never have I seen it replace the family they were raised by.

I do know two people who tell similar stories to what you describe above.  One was horribly abused by their adoptive family, who viewed them as simply a social security paycheck.  And the other was a very disturbed drug addict whose adopted family had been attempting tough love as they could no longer stand by and watch as she rejected their offers for help and continues to kill herself.  She found an allie in her biofather, someone who not only didnt try to get her to rehab he was happy to use right along with her. 

Try changing your search criteria to include happy adoption stories, I think you may be letting your fear and people’s disproportionately negative sharing influence what stories you see.


Choosing to open your home to a stranger and vowing to love and care for them as your own is a beatiful thing, but it isn’t for everone.  Good luck with your journey to parenthood when the time comes!

Post # 9
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

So, I was adopted as an infant, and I just wanted to add my two cents, since it seems like you’ve only gotten responses so far from people who are on the outside in the same way you are. 

First, I want to say that everything you’ve been reading, all the “horror stories,” as you call them, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In the same way that hotel reviews and ratings will mostly only be written by people who feel very strongly one way or the other (usually negative), those stories you read are the same. Very few adopted children who grew up happy in a loving family and are happy adults will even go onto those sites and give their opinions. The ones you’re getting are the ones that have a negative outlook on the whole thing and aren’t happy in general. You aren’t getting any of the good stories. Keep that in mind. 

I was never under the impression that most and/or all adopted kids have special needs. Everyone I know who was adopted, including myself, is a successful, well-rounded, well-adjusted adult with loving parents.

I was adopted because my mom couldn’t have kids. My biological parents were too young when I was born and decided they couldn’t raise a baby, hence adoption. I have never questioned my identity, wondered why they gave me up, etc. I never had any problems with it at all. That being said, my adopted parents were very clear about it from the beginning and I’ve known I was adopted and understood the concept for as long as I can remember. They never hid anything from me, and I think that’s incredibly important. Problems arise when parents lie and say they’re your biological parents when they’re really not because the truth ALWAYS comes out, and then the child will feel blindsided, and that’s when problems arise.

I think adopting kids is great because there are so many who need loving homes and families. I think there’s a difference, however, between adopting a child as an infant, like I was, or adopting a child who is older. Maybe they’ve been through the foster system and understand that their parents gave them away or some other tragic situation. I think, in that case, there could be other difficulties that arise. 

Anyway, sorry for my novel haha if you have any questions, feel free to ask (: 

Post # 11
552 posts
Busy bee

One of my best friends was adopted. Not only did she grow up to be a normal, well-functioning adult, but she has never once considered just abandoning the family that adopted her.

In fact, at 18 years old, my friend’s biological mother contacted her. Although they wrote a few letters back and forth, my friend didn’t want to even give her, her last name or where she lived because she didn’t want her biological mother, a stranger, to know that information.

She has been given many opportunities over the years to meet her biological mother and now her half-siblings, but each time she has declined. She always says that the man and woman who adopted her ARE her parents, even if not by blood.

Just for some of her background: She was adopted at 3 days old, so she never knew her biological parents. Also, there is nothing wrong with her biological parents! They were both 19 when she was born and they decided they were too young to take care of her. Neither of them were into drugs or alcohol or anything that would deter my friend from meeting them. Although they didn’t stay together, her mother went on and raised a beautiful, Christian family with her new husband and her father went on to be a successful business person. She’s just never been overly interested in them since she never knew them as her parents.

Post # 12
407 posts
Helper bee

Hi, obviously a lot of factors influence how adopted children behave but I think you have really only been exposed to some serious horror stories. I was adopted at 14 months and I have never had any major “issues”. There is obviously some cultural curiosity on my part but my parents (my adoptive parents who I 100% consider my REAL parents) have always done their best to educate me and give me the opportunities and tools to learn about my heritage. We also have some family friends who have adopted children that I grew up with and aside from the normal teen drama they we all turned out just fine and well adjusted. I have two degrees, a wonderful fiance, and love my parents. I have no real interest in finding my so called birth parents, why would I need to? I have two amazing parents who went through a lot to raise me. If anything the fact that I am adopted makes me grateful to them but there is a lot more than just blood that makes a family. 

Post # 13
608 posts
Busy bee

TwinkleBoss :  If you think you’ d like to pursue adoption, I would recommend thinking about whether you picture yourself adopting an infant or an older child.  There are fewer challenges with infant adoption for fairly obvious reasons; however, the demand certainly outweighs supply as more and more couples are experiencing infertility, more young parents choose to parent instead of place their child for adoption, and there is more access to family planning services like birth control and abortion. 

You will often hear people say something like “oh why would I have a child when there are so many children in need of a home?” Welp…it’s not really that simple.  There are some serious challenges that families encounter with the adoption of older children who have experienced some sort of trauma (and most older children have).  This is why you hear people say “adopted children all have special needs”.  It’s not meant to be interpreted in the way that many people think of “special needs”.  What they mean is that there will be at minimum, pretty significant emotional and behavioral issues that will require time and commitment to resolving.  Like I said above, these are often attributed to attachment and bonding difficulties that arise when a child lives in foster care, etc. 

Adoption is an absolutely amazing way to build a family, and most of my work involves seeking adoptive homes for children who need them.  But I always tell my clients to approach adoption with eyes wide open, not with rose colored glasses.  Adoptive parents need to do a lot of soul searching to really consider whether they’re willing to invest the time and commitment that it will take to make it work. 

My favorite saying is: “Adoption is not about finding the perfect child for a family.  It’s about finding the perfect family for a child”.  It’s a critical distinction that is often overlooked when people explore the possibilty of adopting.  Unfortunately in my business I see far too many families who go into it with the right intentions, but insufficient knowledge and skills, and it ends poorly for all involved.

But for those who really do their research and understand the commitment they are making, I’ve seen the most inspirational, uplifting, heart-warming, tear-jerking stories that demonstrate just how wonderful adoption can be for both the child and their adoptive family! (I’m trying to end this somewhat scary post with some positivity because adoption truly is wonderful when it’s done right!)

Post # 14
225 posts
Helper bee

I’m adopted. And 2 of my friends are adopted. I don’t know where you got that information. It’s totally untrue and kind of sad that anyone would think that.

Post # 15
7412 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m not sure where you’ve been getting your information, because it’s really not correct!

I was adopted when I was an infant. My parents told me from a very early age; I can’t remember ever not knowing I was adopted. And of course the other kids in school picked on me for it, but kids are viscious pricks and will pick on anyone for anything. My parents told me that they actually had to spend a lot of money to get me, when the other kids’ parents got them for free, and that those other kids were just jealous. I never felt the urge to go find my birth parents, despite my mother telling me she knows who my birth mother is. I did have a rebellious phase and moved out the day I turned 18 but that was because I was 18, not because I was adopted lol. My sisters and brother are every bit my siblings even though they all look alike and I don’t match.

Your “research” may be skewed because I’d reckon well-adjusted people who have happy, healthy relationships with their families aren’t posting about it on the internet. It’s quite boring, really. My sisters and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner together and my brother did the dishes and my mom went to have a nap, whoopty doo, but that’s family life for lots and lots of adopted people.

I had a cousin who was adopted and he was a giant ass, and used the fact that he was adopted as an insult against his parents when they would fight, but that’s because they were crappy parents and he was a giant ass, not because he was adopted.

I also have a co-worker who recently found his birth mother, not because he had some great pressing urge to go find her, but because he had ordered a copy of his birth certificate and it came with an unexpected name for the Mother’s Name line, and that’s how he found out about being adopted… and he was curious and went to meet his birth mom, and they’re now good friends, but his relationship with his adoptive parents never changed. They are still as close as they ever were.  Oh and my neighbors up the street adopted a little boy when he was about 3 months old; he’s a tween now, and he adores his two dads, because they are good parents who love him.

Moral of the story: be a good parent and you won’t have to worry about your child wanting to be in your life. Which is advice that we can all take, regardless of adoption or bio children. Don’t underestimate your child’s capacity to love, though; if they feel the need to go find their bio parents, it doesn’t mean they don’t still love you. It just means they want to know where they came from, and that’s perfectly natural. You’re not being rejected (and I suspect more than one family relationship was ruined by a parent who equated an adoptive child’s curiousity with the child rejecting them). And be skeptical of what you read online, because it’s always going to have a more negative slant.

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