8 things you may not know about an adoptee from someone who is an adoptee:
1. An adoptee is someone who was adopted.
2. Adoptee's, in most cases, are the only ones in the adoption triangle-birth parents, child, adoptive parents - who did not have a choice.
3. An adoptee has lost and must grieve the loss of their birth parents, especially their birth mother, at some point in their life no matter the circumstances and "great life" they now have.
4. Being adopted does not mean the adopted person wants to be reminded of this by being known as the "adopted" child. It does mean that the adoptee wants the option to talk about their adoption and should be given it in their own terms. My sister is noticeably different than me and whenever we are together and the subject of relations and looks comes up - which is often - my sister has always replied one of us is adopted - And the subject is always dropped!
5. The right to know about their adoption should always be given freely and without fear of the child pushing away. People ask me, often, when they should tell their children about their adoption; I believe it shouldn't have to be "told" in one sit down family meeting - but given to them bit by bit as they grow older. Start with photos, tell them about your desire to have children, and how you became a family. Then, they'll never have to guess.
6. An adoptee may feel insecure at times about their place among a family that may not seem like them in look or personality. It isn't their fault and the parents should do everything they can to make sure that all their children feel "loved" the same. Someone asked a friend of mine who adopted and has had children by birth, if she could "love" her adopted child as much as the two she gave birth too- her answer was a resounding Yes! I remember having these insecure feelings - but I also remember, my parents doing all they could to make sure that I didn't feel this way for long.
7. There is a second reality that an adoptee experiences and that is the curiosity of what if I wasn't adopted, what would I be like, would I have a better life, what if my mom would have kept me... It's a natural curiosity and one I had until I met my birth father and birth mother's family a couple of years ago; when my second reality came crashing down - a story for another post. You can never know as a parent of an adopted child what that second reality is like, unless you create an openness with your child that you are not afraid to hear what they think or feel about these questions. Accepting the adoptee's feelings, doesn't mean that they will love you less.
8. An adopted child can have a deep and loving appreciation for their adoptive parents. There are distinguishing meanings between the word mommy and the word mother. I understand my birth mother's reasons for relinquishing her rights as a mom and she will always have that special place in my heart as a champion for my life happiness. My mom, my adoptive mom, is the only person I have or will ever call mommy.
Adoption is a part of my life. It is never in the back of my mind - it is always in the front; whether it be my own adoption, my children's adoption, or answering other people questions about adoption. Are you adopted? Are you a birth mother? Adopted Parent? Do you know someone who is adopted? Either way, what are your feelings on this post - would you add anything or change anything?
If you are looking for information and understanding about adoptee's, the book Journey to the adopted self is an exceptional read. I read this book when I was about 26 and it changed the way I felt about my adoption.