Voices of Adoptees – The Results of the Adoptee Survey

The thought had never even crossed my mind. I did a birthmother survey and that was all I ever expected to do as far as polls go. However, first I had one, then a few more, adoptees ask if I would consider doing a survey of adoptees. Like my birthmother survey, I’m sure it was viewed as a chance for everyone’s voices to be heard. I knew that it would be more difficult to come up with questions for adoptees to answer as I was not an adopted person. The birthmother survey had been almost a no-brainer since I have been active in birthmom communities for about two years now. I understood the many struggles and varied histories of all of us. I was not an adopted person and had no idea where to even start with a survey for adoptees. So, the first thing I did was to take to mixed support groups. The ones where all members of the triad are welcome. I read, I listened, I asked questions. Next, I decided to go back and read all the adoptee blogs I could get my hands on. The good, the bad, the ugly. I even had a few friends who are adopted give their input. This is how the adoptee survey came to be. It was not taken lightly and a lot of thought went into it. You can’t please everyone, though, and I did receive some hate mail from people that were not pleased that a lowly birthmother would presume to survey adopted people. I was even told that my survey wasn’t needed, that adopted people have it covered, thanks but no thanks. I was puzzled as to how my status as a birthmother would disqualify me from giving a platform to any group of people, and, to be honest, the hate mail hurt. It was triggering and every adopted person that spoke out against my survey, to me, was my daughter. So, yes, this survey was emotionally taxing.

The main conclusion that needs to be drawn from this survey is this. Adopted people are not cookie cutter. What applies to one or many does not apply to all. What one or many may struggle with, in regards to their adoption, may not be a struggle at all to the others. Adoption is not trauma to some adoptees and it is the most traumatizing thing that has ever happened to others. I cannot draw solid conclusions as to why this may be but, as you’ll see, a lot has to do with outside factors. I remember reading an article once that suggested that adopted people who have psychological or emotional issues were a product of their genetics. It was implied that because they were adopted something must have been inherently wrong with their family of origin and it was passed onto them. It outraged me. I cannot remember the name of the article as it was about seven years ago that I ran across it. I am sure that you will see that biology is a small influence on how adoptees deal with their adoption. The very act of adoption, itself, can sometimes be enough to cause lifelong issues. On the other hand, the very act of adoption, itself, in some adoptees’ opinions was what their saving grace was. Like I said, no cookie cutter adoptees here.

For the purposes of results, all percentages will be rounded to the nearest whole number.

I was really trying to get at least 300 participants but I feel that the results need to go out sooner rather than later. The end result was 259 participants that completed the entire survey.

The demographics of the survey were as follows:

The highest number of responses were from people who were born between 1960 and 1979.  Here is the breakdown:

Before 1930 – 14%

1930 – 1939 – 1%

1940 – 1949 – 2%

1950 – 1959 – 8%

1960 – 1969 – 34%

1970 – 1979 – 25%

1980 – 1989 – 13%

1990 – 1999 – 4%

2000 or later – 0.5% or 1 participant. 

Interpretation: No interpretation other than the ages correlate to the number of adoptees available to participate. One exception may be that those who are younger are prone not to think about adoption as much as those who are older.

How old were you at the time of your adoption?

At birth or shortly after (within the first month of life) – 56%

Sometime during my first year (other than at birth or shortly after) – 34%

One to 2 years of age – 5%

2 to 5 years of age – 5%

After age 5 – 2%

Comments: For the purposes of this study I wanted to focus on people who were adopted before they were old enough to “remember” anything else. I asked that the survey be limited to people who were adopted within the first year of life but did not want anyone else to feel left out so made it clear than anyone adopted, who would like their voices to be heard, was welcome to participate if they wanted. My reasoning for this was because I did not want the results to be discredited with people saying I was focusing on people adopted from foster care who probably had issues from their biological families before being adopted. It is important to remember, throughout this survey, that 90% of its participants were adopted before 12 months of age. 

Are you an adoptee of more than one race or ethnicity?

Yes – 18%

No – 74%

I don’t know – 8%

Comments: Again, this question was for demographics but it can be pointed out how truly sad it would be not not know if you are more than one race or ethnicity.

Do your adoptive parent(s) share the same race or ethnicity as you?

Yes – 74%

No – 20%

I don’t know – 5%

Comments: I think it is telling that the number of participants that are not of more than on race or ethnicity are the same number that share the same race or ethnicity as their adoptive parents. It seems that being of more than one race correlates with not being raised in a home with people that also have the same race as you.

If you ARE an adoptee whose adoptive parents have a different race or ethnicity than you, has this ever been an issue for you?

Yes this has OFTEN been an issue for me – 26%

Yes this has SOMETIMES been an issue for me – 25%

Yes, but only on RARE OCCASIONS has this been an issue for me – 17%

No, this has NEVER been an issue for me – 32%

Comments: Overall 68% of adoptees, that are a different race or ethnicity than their adoptive parents, have had at least some occasions an issue with being a different race than that of their adoptive parents. Only 32% have never had an issue with it. For someone who is adopted and may already be struggling with their identity, throwing in being a different race seems to only make things harder. 

If you ARE an adoptee whose race or ethnicity is different than that of your adoptive parents, was your culture and heritage taught to you within your adoptive family? Were you exposed to others that did share your race or ethnicity?

Yes, often – 11%

Yes, sometimes – 11%

Yes, but only rarely – 11%

No, not at all – 66%

Comments: How sad is it that 66% of people who don’t share the same race as their adoptive family were never exposed to or taught about their culture? It is part of who they are and this is unacceptable. Hopefully, with education, this isn’t the standard for today’s adoptions.

Do you have identifying information about either of your biological parents? Identifying information would include any of the following: Last names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.?

Yes, I have always known identifying information about my biological parent(s) – 8%

Yes, I learned the identifying information about my biological parent(s) after the age of 18 – 67%

No, I do not have any identifying information about my biological parent(s) but desire to – 22%

No, I do not have any identifying information about my biological parent(s) and have no desire to – 3%

Comments: It is not surprising that most people did not know the identifying information in regards to their birth families until they were adults. It must be pointed out that this does not mean they turned 18 and were handed this information. The participants learned this information some time AFTER they turned 18. Only 3% of participants had no desire to learn the identifying information of their biological parents. The question must be asked. Should open records be withheld for the few? Only 3% of adoptees don’t know and don’t care to know it and an even smaller percentage, according to my birthmother survey, of birthmothers don’t want it released. Why are the masses suffering for the few? 

At what age did you learn about your adoption?

I have known about my adoption for as long as I remember – 68%

Approximately preschool age – 7%

Sometime between the ages of 5 and 8 – 14%

Sometime between the ages of 9 and 12 – 5%

Sometime between the ages of 13 and 17 – 0.5% or 1 participant.

Sometime between the ages of 18 and 21 – 1%

After age 21 but before age 35 – 2%

After age 35 – 3%

Comments: As you can see, for most the fact that they were adopted was never “revealed” and that is how it should be. But for 32% they can remember being told they were adopted. In my opinion, this is never something that should be withheld and should be talked about, in an age appropriate manner, as often as possible throughout infancy and early childhood so that a person never has to “remember” it being revealed to them. Some adoptees may disagree and I understand that. It is their journey, not mine. I find it interesting that during the ages of 13 and 21 only 1.5% had this revealed to them compared to those that were 21 or older at 5%. I am wondering if this has to do with that time period in a person’s life that is usually the most challenging and when a person is developing a sense of self. For those that learned they were adopted after age 21 I would go out on a limb and assume it wasn’t something that was ever intended to be told to them. You would think that in today’s day and age this would no longer be an issue, but you would be wrong. I see, in online forums, everyday, adoptive parents asking if or when they should tell their child they are adopted. The responses to these questions vary but some people do admit to never telling them because it isn’t “important.” I also have quite a few birthmother friends who are up in arms because their children (many preschool age or younger) do not know they are adopted and their adoptive parents have no plans to tell them. This is a LIE by omission. It is wrong. Not only is it a lie, it is a lie of great magnitude. 

If you have not always known about your adoption, who told you? Please choose the best answer.

My parent(s) revealed it to me – 67%

A family member other than my parent(s) revealed it to me – 5%

Someone who is not a member of my family revealed it to me – 13%

A member of my birth family revealed it to me – 3%

I inadvertently discovered it myself – 11%

It was something I had always suspected and knew even though I do not remember exactly how I discovered it – 0%

Not sure – 1%

Comments: So, of those people who were not told they were adopted from the get go, 68% had it revealed to them by their adoptive parents, which is good. It’s not good they weren’t told right away, but it is good that it was their parents who told them. It would be a hard enough thing to be told, let alone not having your parents be the ones who told you so they can be there for you. On the flip side, 11% of these people had to discover it themselves. No one told them. And 3% learned they were adopted when their birth family came looking for them. Can you imagine how difficult that would be? How betrayed you would feel that not only did your parents not tell you right away, they didn’t tell you at all and didn’t plan to. Someone else had to. 

Was adoption, in general, something that was spoken about in your home growing up? Please select the answer that best suits your situation.

Yes, my parent(s) openly talked about it and encouraged me in positive ways in regards to my adoption – 19%

Yes, my parent(s) would talk about it if I brought the subject up, in an encouraging way, but otherwise it wasn’t brought up – 20%

Yes, my parent(s) openly talked about it but it was not in an encouraging way in regards to my adoption – 8%

Yes, my parent(s) would openly talk about it if I brought the subject up, but it was not in an encouraging way in regards to my adoption – 9%

No, my parents rarely or never talked about my adoption and I was actively discouraged from talking about it as well – 21%

No, my parents rarely or never talked about my adoption but I was never actively discouraged from talking about it – 23%

Comments: These are some pretty well-rounded answers. Let’s break it down a little better. 39% had their adoption talked about in an encouraging way. 38% had their adoption talked about in a discouraging way. Similar numbers are included from people who were neither discouraged or actively encouraged to talk about it. Here’s the thing. Some adoptive parents think that as long as their child knows they are adopted that if they have questions they will ask them. This is wrong. A child needs to feel safe to talk about such things. In a household where it is never brought up, by the parents, the child receives the message that it isn’t okay to talk about. Active, encouraging discussions need to be had with a child throughout their life in regards to his or her adoption. This is healthy. Actively discouraging talk about adoption sends the same message as not talking about it at all but to a higher degree. I can find no reason for this ,other than an adoptive parent’s own insecurities and wanting to pretend that a child is “as if” born to them. This is not about an adoptive parent, though. It is about the child and what is in their best interest. Adoption is NOT the cure for infertility. It is simply a very different means of creating a family. As I stated in the beginning, I had read an article that suggested psychological, emotional or drug problems were correlated to the issues of a biology and not adoption itself. As you are seeing, this is most often not the case.

Did your parent(s) ever speak with you about your biological origins? How often?

Yes, my parent(s) frequently spoke about my birth family in a positive and age appropriate way, to the best of their ability, in regards to my birth family’s position at the time of my adoption among other things – 7%

Yes, my parent(s) frequently spoke about my birth family in neither a positive or negative way – 2%

Yes, my parent(s) frequently spoke about my birth family in a mostly negative way – 6%

Yes, my parent(s) occasionally spoke about my birth family in a positive and age appropriate way, to the best of their ability, in regards to my birth family’s position at the time of my adoption among other things – 15%

Yes, my parent(s) occasionally spoke about my birth family in neither a positive or negative way – 9%

Yes, my parent(s) occasionally spoke about my birth family in a mostly negative way – 11%

No, my parent(s) rarely or never spoke about my birth family in any way – 50%

Comments: As you can see, I tailored the questions around the frequency and manner in which birth family was discussed. 17% of the participants had their birth family talked about in a negative way to them. 11% had their birth family discussed in a neutral manner. 22% of participants had their birth family discussed in a positive way and 50% say it wasn’t discussed at all or very rarely. A child, regardless of who is parenting that child, is a part of the people who brought them into the world. This is where their DNA comes from. When you speak in a negative manner about the people who have passed their DNA onto this child, the child, most times, will get the message that there is something wrong with them as well. After all, this child is half of the birthmother and half of the birthfather. Even a child understands that mannerisms, personalities, the way you look comes from the people who created you. Even in the most obscene birth family situations (drug use, abuse, etc) it is not necessary to speak of the birth family in a negative manner. You can be honest. You can say, “You’re birthmother had a hard life and because of that she made poor choices and it was not safe for you to live with her. That is why you have us as parents now. But she loved you, because who couldn’t love you? She just wasn’t able to care for her.” This is a way to talk positively, and honestly, in an age appropriate way to a child. It affirms that there is not something inherently wrong with them just because of their DNA and helps them to begin to understand that poor choices can lead to heavy and heartbreaking circumstances. Not discussing birth family AT ALL, like in the previous question, just leaves an adopted person to their imagination and to fear that they aren’t allowed to ask. Neither of these scenarios is good, psychologically or emotionally, for anyone.

Are you currently in reunion with any member of your birth family? Please choose the answer that best describes your current reunion status.

Yes, I am in reunion with my birthmother only – 6%

Yes, I am in reunion with my birthfather only – 1%

Yes I am in reunion with both my birthmother and birthfather – 2%

Yes, I am in reunion with siblings only – 9%

Yes, I am in reunion with one or both of my birthparents as well as siblings – 13%

Yes, I am in reunion with extended birth family only – 5%

Yes, I am in reunion with my immediate birth family as well as extended birth family – 27%

No, I have never been in reunion with any member of my birth family – 28%

No, I used to be in reunion but I am not anymore – 10%

Comments: As you can see, there are different kinds of reunions and to different degrees. The reasons why someone may only be in reunion with certain members of their birth family are varied. They could include rejection from a birth parent, the fact that a birth parent is no longer alive to be in reunion with, or the fact that the adoptee doesn’t care to be in reunion with someone. Reunion is a complicated thing, as you will see. It is a “coming together” of all things in the adopted person’s life as well as the birth family’s. All the questions in this survey, as well as the birthmother survey, lay the ground work for reunion and expectations.

If you are currently in reunion, how would you describe how well it is going?

It is currently going very well. – 38%

It is going good. There have been some bumps but overall I am currently satisfied. – 33%

It’s been a little rocky but I am not ready to give up yet. – 25%

It’s going horrible and I am about to end the reunion. – 4%

Comments: It is important to note that of all the participants, 36% were NOT in reunion. The above results are calculated only from those who answered that they WERE in reunion. As I was saying, reunion can be hard. However, only 4% say that it is going horrible and they would like to end the reunion. 71% feel it is going well, even if there have been some bumps and 25% say that it hasn’t been going too well but they aren’t giving  up. While I do acknowledge that there are definitely some volatile reunions, from the adopted person’s point of view, it is worth it, for the most part. In this case the good heavily outweighs the bad. 

Are you currently actively searching for any birth family members?

Yes, I am actively searching for any birth family I can find. – 18%

Yes, I am actively searching for my birthmother. – 1%

Yes, I am actively searching for my birthfather. – 7%

Yes, I am actively searching for both of my birth parents. – 0.5% or 1 participant.

No, I am not actively searching but I am passively searching. I plan to actively search in the future. – 13%

No, I am not actively searching but I am passively searching. I have no plans to actively search in the future at the moment. – 6%

No, I am not actively searching but plan to in the future – 4%

No, I am not actively searching and currently have no plans to in the future. – 8%

No, I have already found the birth family members I am looking for. – 31%

No, I am not actively searching because I have already found what I am looking for. – 7%

No, I am not actively searching because my birthparent(s) is deceased. – 4%

Comments: As you can see, if you remove those not searching because they have already found the birth family members they are looking for, search and reunion is a unique journey to each adoptee, in regards to what they are looking for. I would like to point out that only 8% are not searching and have no plans to. And that is totally okay. However, like I said before, it is not enough to deny the masses because of the few.

If you have searched and found your birth parent(s), did you face rejection? Please choose the answer that best fits your situation.

Yes, my birthmother or birthfather refused to acknowledge I was their child. – 5%

Yes, my birthmother or birthfather acknowledged I was their child but had no desire to speak with me. – 6%

Yes, my birthmother or birthfather acknowledged I was their child and were willing to give me some information but did not want further contact. – 6%

Yes and No. One birth parent welcomed me and the other one rejected me. – 12%

No, my birthmother or birthfather welcomed me with open arms. – 30%

No, my birthmother or birthfather eventually welcomed me but at first was reluctant to do so. – 6%

I have not yet searched or I have not yet found my birth parents. – 27%

My birthparent(s) is deceased. – 8%

Comments: I think the biggest fear in any adoptee or birthmother is the fear of rejection. Let’s face it, rejection happens. I won’t go into the logistics and reasons from a birthmother’s side but, suffice to say, it does happen. I wanted to see what the possible statistics were for this happening. Maybe it would help another person decide it they will search or not. Some don’t search at all, even if they want to, for fear that the risk of rejection is quite high. As you can see, from the results, only 11% outright rejected the adoptee. 6% were willing to give whatever information they wanted but didn’t desire further contact. Since the decades that participants responded to the most were the 60’s and 70’s I would predict that as the adoptees from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s get older this rate of rejection will go down. These eras are go about adoptions in a different way. It’s equally as painful but totally different from the baby scoop era. Also, with the popularity of “open” adoptions (most of which are really semi-closed adoptions) the birthmother will have pictures and an occasional update so as not to be so shocked when their grown child comes knocking.

If you have searched and found your birth parent(s), are you a secret to the rest of that birth parent(s) family?

Yes, no one in the family is aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s). – 8%

Yes, most people in the family are not aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s). – 11%

Yes, some people in the family are not aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s). – 13%

No, most people are aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s). – 19%

No, everyone is aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s) but they were not aware before we were reunited. – 24%

No, everyone is aware that I am the biological child of my birth parent(s) and they have always known about me. – 25%

Comments: The good news is that almost half of people that responded who are in reunion are not a secret to ANY of their biological family, even if they had been before. The bad news is that 32% are a secret to some or all of their biological relatives. And 19% are not a secret to MOST family members. As a birthmother, I can only attribute this to the shame, grief, and trauma endured by birthmothers when being forced to relinquish a child. It doesn’t make it right, however. Keeping your child a secret only further inflicts emotional pain onto them. 

Sometimes people equate being adopted with “luck” or “blessings.”

Would you say that you are:

(Please choose the best answer)

Blessed for having been adopted. – 18%

Lucky to have been adopted. – 10%

Neither blessed or lucky to have been adopted. No feelings either way. – 36%

Unlucky to have been adopted. – 17%

Cursed for having been adopted. – 18%

Comments: Honestly, I was a bit surprised at the results of this question. I expected more adopted people to say they felt lucky or blessed and not as many to say they felt unlucky or cursed. This is telling, though. In today’s adoption world we are “taught” to tell children how lucky and blessed they were to have been adopted. Birthmothers are told they will be given a BETTER (see: luckier, more blessed) life. However, most adoptees see it as neither a blessing or a curse. They don’t see it either way. It just is. It’s just different. Which is what I have been saying all along. Adoption doesn’t guarantee a better life, a luckier life, a more blessed life, just a different one. In total only 18% of adopted people viewed being adopted as being lucky or blessed. 25% viewed it as a curse or being unlucky. Adoption is a crap shoot.

As a child, did you ever fantasize about your birthparent(s)?

Yes, a lot. – 52%

Yes, some. – 24%

Yes, a little. – 8%

No, rarely. – 6%

No, not at all. – 9%

Comments: I believe this question just reaffirms my earlier assumption that if biological families are not openly and positively discussed, with the initiate taken by adoptive parents, that it will leave a child’s mind to wander into a fantasy territory that may or may not be healthy for them. People who are adopted want to know, for the most part, where they come from.

Have you ever, or do you currently, have any psychological or emotional issues that, in your opinion, are a direct result of your adoption? Do not include conditions or issues that you do not believe are a direct result from your adoption.

Yes, I have diagnosed psychological or emotional disorder(s) as a direct result of my adoption. – 20%

Yes, I have psychological or emotional issues that are not diagnosed but are a direct result of my adoption. – 34%

Yes, I have some minor emotional issues that are a direct result of my adoption. – 30%

I do have psychological or emotional issues, but they are in no way connected to my adoption. – 5%

No, I do not have any psychological or emotional issues. – 11%

Comments: I do not want to place a label on adoptees that they are “psychologically unstable.” Because of this I would like to clarify what I interpret this to mean. Just because a person has some emotional issues or turmoil surrounding one facet of their lives (in this case, adoption) does not mean that they are psychologically, as a whole, messed up. However, I felt it was very important to understand what kind of trauma adoption could possibly cause. It IS important. I was not prepared for these results. At all. Only 16% of participants say they have no psychological or emotional issues directly related to their adoption. And only 11% have no issues at all. 84% of adoptees say that they have at least some emotional or psychological issues directly related to being adopted, with only 30% of those being minor issues. Why is this? Is the very act of adoption in and of itself enough to cause trauma? Is it the way these adoptees are being raised? Is it because they inherited psychological problems through their DNA? We already know where I stand with the DNA questions and I’m sure you can make an educated guess based on the previous results you have already read. Here’s the thing, though. Human beings are human beings. We cannot dictate how a parent handles the adoption of their child. As long as adoption is used as a means to “cure” infertility the mind set will continue to be the same. 

Have you ever contemplated suicide?

Yes, I have attempted suicide. – 20%

Yes, I have seriously contemplated suicide. – 23%

Yes, I have thought about it once or twice. – 27%

No, I have never contemplated suicide. – 30%

Comments: We have 70% of adoptees that have attempted or, at least, thought about suicide once or twice (and everything degree in between). 20% of adoptees have admitted to attempting suicide. When you compare that with the national average of the United States it’s pretty staggering. About 250,000 people in the United States attempt suicide each year.(1) The population of the United States is just about 319 million people. This means that 0.07% of Americans attempt suicide. That’s less than half a percentage. That’s less than one tenth of a percentage. That’s less than one in every 10000 people. However, from these results, 20 out of every 100 adoptees or one out of five (instead of less than one out of TEN THOUSAND – the national average) have attempted suicide. This is staggering and I have no more comments on this. The rest of this survey should speak for themselves. Adoptive parents take note. 

Were you ever told by your parent(s) that your birthmother loved you so much that she gave you to them?

Yes, I am proud that my birthmother had the courage to choose adoption. – 10%

Yes, I am conflicted about this. – 46%

Yes, I never really thought much about this. – 2%

No, I was never told that. – 41%

(Let’s break that down without the statistic of those who were NOT told that)

Yes, I am proud that my birthmother had the courage to choose adoption. – 18%

Yes, I am conflicted about this. – 80%

Yes, I never really thought much about this. – 3%

Comments: While 18% of adopted people found it a positive thing to have been told that their birthmother loved them and that is why they were given up for adoption, 80% were conflicted by this sentiment. Why is that? I’m not adopted but I’ll put myself in those shoes for a minute. I am told that someone loved me so much they gave me away. What does that teach me? It teaches me that loving is leaving. It teaches me that parenting me would not have been the loving thing to do. It makes me think that maybe something was inherently wrong with my birthmother (since keeping me would have NOT been the loving thing to do) and maybe that means something is wrong with me (see results for negatively speaking about birth family). This would, no doubt, make someone feel conflicted about the fact they were given away because they were loved. Even if they rationally know that it was in their best interests. So what do you tell a child? You certainly don’t tell them they weren’t loved. You just DON’T equate their adoption to how much they were loved. Tell the truth. It is what it is. Tell your child that their birthmother loved them no matter if she would have parented or not. It had nothing to do with love and everything to do about providing for the needs of a child. 

Are you a member of any support groups?

Yes, online only. – 50%

Yes, in-person only. – 2%

Yes, online and in-person. – 13%

No, not at all. – 35%

Comments: The only thing I’d really like to point out is that adoptees are in support groups at all. It’s understandable for birthmothers because they have suffered a tremendous loss and need help working through it. Adoption agencies, the media, attorneys, the Internet all tell us, though, that adoptees fare well and don’t have issues with being adopted. If babies are blank slates how could anyone possibly have issues surrounding someone they don’t remember? Because they do. And that is why 65% of adoptees are in support groups. It’s not always rainbows and glitter to be adopted. Even if someone is totally at peace with their adoption, you still need support.

Do you know, or have you ever, felt as if you are NOT in control over your own life?

Yes, a lot. – 33%

Yes, sometimes. – 42%

Yes, but only rarely. – 14%

No, never. – 11%

Comments: I do not have any scientific differential to compare this to. I am going to have to make an assumption, like I have heard from so many adoptees, that the reason 75% sometimes or always feel like they do NOT have control over their own lives is because of the nature of adoption. First your fate is decided for you. Not your God-given fate (since God – or the universe if you aren’t religious – decides what parents you will be born to) which no one has control over. Your fate is decided by other imperfect human beings. LOSS OF CONTROL. Next, the people in your life (usually your adoptive parents) control everything about your origins and history. The very thing that makes you  YOU. They decide what information you can have, when you can have, and how much you can have. Shoot, they even decide if you should know if you’re adopted. Even if they are upfront about everything, the knowledge is still there that THEY controlled it. They had that power. Lastly, the government controls you. Your adoption records, an accurate record of your birth, you don’t have access to it at all (in most states – hopefully that will all be changing soon). Now the government is placing their control over your personal life. So, for your entire life you haven’t had control of anything, really. It’s no wonder 65% of adoptees feel they don’t have control over their lives. The very reason they exist on this Earth has been controlled for them.

Are you actively involved in any reform, advocate, or activist movements that are directly associated with adoption. An example would be open records for all adoptees.

Yes, I am extremely active in reform, advocate or activist movements within the adoption community. – 9%

Yes, I am somewhat active in reform, advocate or activist movements within the adoption community. – 44%

No, I very rarely get involved in reform, advocate or activist movements withing the adoption community. – 23%

No, I never get involved in reform, advocate or activist movements within the adoption community. – 25%

Comments: I would just like to say that, contrary to some adoptees assertions that I have no business conducting this interview, With only 48% active in the reform movement, and the majority voicing they would like to see change, it is important that as many people as possible help with this cause. When you factor in just how small the percentage is, compared with the general population, of adopted people, adoptees alone are not enough to institute real change. And who better than the mothers who relinquished them to stand up and say, “ENOUGH.”

As an adoptee, do you also hold other titles within the adoption community?

Yes, I am also a birthmother or birthfather. – 6%

Yes, I am also an adoptive parent. – 5%

Yes, I am also a birthmother or birthfather as well as an adoptive parent. – 0%

No, I am neither a birth parent nor an adoptive parent. – 86%

I’m not sure. – 3%

Comments: As you can see, adoptees can also hold other roles within the adoption community, even if the majority are ONLY adoptees. 

If you are also a birth parent, did your experience as an adoptee contribute to the decision to choose adoption for your child?

Yes, a lot. – 0.5% or 1 participant.

Yes, some. – 1%

No, not really. – 2%

No, not at all. – 2%

I’m not sure. – 1%

I am not a birth parent. – 93%

Let’s take those who are not also birth parents out of the equation.

Yes, a lot. – 6%

Yes, some. – 18%

No, not really. – 28%

No, not at all. – 28%

I’m not sure. – 18%

Comments: I am going to make an educated guess that, because of the numbers, that adoptees don’t relinquish children to adoption because they were adopted themselves. It may have influenced some, but the reasons behind relinquishment are not just because an adoptee thinks an adopted life is better than a life with your birth family.

If you are also an adoptive parent, did your experiences as an adoptee help to contribute to your decision to adopt?

Yes, a lot. – 2%

Yes, some. – 2%

No, not really. – 0%

No, not at all. – 1%

I am not an adoptive parent. – 94%

Let’s take those who are not an adoptive parent out of the equation.

Yes, a lot. – 40%

Yes, some – 40%

No, not really. – 0%

No, not at all. – 20%

Comments: I honestly thought these numbers would be reversed. I would think that infertility would be the driving force for anyone to adopt. It seems that being adopted, for those that did choose to adopt, has different or more reasons behind it than just the inability to conceive children on your own.

Do you believe that all adoption records should be unsealed and available to adoptees from here on out?

Yes, all records, in unaltered form, including original birth certificates, identifying information and every last piece of paper that was filled out should be accessible by adoptees. – 85%

Yes, certain things should be accessible by adoptees such as their original birth certificate, unaltered, but other things should remain private. – 4%

Yes, all records, including original birth certificates, identifying information and every last piece of paper that was filled out should be accessible by adoptees. Certain people should have the option to have their names omitted such as the birthmother. – 5%

Yes, certain things should be accessible by adoptees such as their original birth certificates, but other things should remain private. People should have the option to have their names omitted on items the adoptee does have access to. – 4%

No, records should remained sealed. – 2%

Comments: I was actually surprised that any adoptee would think that all records should always remained sealed. Just goes to show what I stated at the beginning. No adoptee is cookie cutter. The majority at almost 90% feel that, at the least, unaltered original birth certificates should be opened up for everyone. I agree. That’s how it should be. 

Do you believe that adoptees should be issued an amended birth certificate listing their adoptive parents as the people who gave birth to them?

No, birth certificates are not parent certificates. They should always reflect an accurate record of birth. – 78%

No, but I don’t see any other way around it at this moment. – 8%

Yes, this is the way it has worked for years and we should leave it alone. – 4%

Yes, but only because I’m not sure there is another way to do it. – 10%

Comments: As you can see 86% of adoptees do not feel that birth certificates should be amended to show adoptive parents as having gave birth. While some aren’t sure how to change that practice now, the sentiment is there. Since these are the very people that adoption is supposed to benefit, shouldn’t that be left up to them? Shouldn’t we listen? Unless adoption is to benefit prospective and adoptive couples and we’re just being fed a line of bull.

Is there anything else you would like to add that was not covered? Is there a story you would like to share? Your identities are kept anonymous but your responses may be used in future blog postings. Your words will not be altered.

To end the results, I will copy and paste, unaltered, unedited, the words of the adoptees who have spoken out in this survey. This is their platform, their voices. I would like to offer thanks to all who participated and shared their stories. I apologize for anyone that I was not able to accommodate fully with the choices in answers and I appreciate your feedback.

My situation is that my birth mother decided “getting rid of me anyway” meant that she and her boyfriend (not my father) could do whatever they wanted to me. She remains unapologetic for this and contends it didn’t matter, I wasn’t a person. My first attempt at contact with her was an outright rejection. Why? I should be “somebody else’s problem” Twenty years later she changed her mind and contacted me. I have since cut off contact with her. The cruelty and now verbal abuse has been horrific and has taken me to very dark places. I maintain contact with the rest of her extended family and they are wonderful to me and are absolutely appalled by her behaviour. My birth father was found only because my mother’s initial rejection of me was so vehement and hateful that the social worker broke the rules and contacted him (my mother in a fit of rage left him off my birth certificate which means I have no legal right to attempt contact). He came forward immediately but then almost instantly said he’s not sure I’m his daughter and if we didn’t have the same hair colour he wouldn’t have continued the contact. We struggled for a few years but then he didn’t want any part of it anymore and he left. He too just came back last year after about 14 years. I also maintained – albeit a distant “once a year xmas card” contact with his family. It is very slow going as I no longer trust him. My adoptive parents were well-meaning but ill-equipped. Although a newborn I came home from the hospital already “broken”. They didn’t know how to handle it and instead of getting me help (which wasn’t even really available back in those days), they figured if they just disciplined it out of me and forced me to be more like them (I’m very opposite to them and their natural-born son) I would eventually come around. Instead it just got steadily worse over the years until they kicked me out of the house as a teenager and said I wasn’t their daughter. When you have FOUR parents, all of whom say you’re not their daughter… all of whom say it’s not their responsibility (in fact my birth mother has told me the whole thing is my fault)… you see yourself as the common denominator. I have spend most of my adult life in and out of therapy and hospitals wishing I was never born at all.

My aparents went to great lengths to stress how loved and wanted I was. Yet I have never felt connected to anyone. I have always felt the outsider, looking in, unattached. Not until the birth of my own child did I feel that I had any connection to anyone. I have always felt a deep sadness that can only be momentarily chased off. I have obsessively strived to form a family of my own. The thought of my own family breaking up is an unbearable thought.

I knew at a young age that I was adopted. I had made a comment about coming out of my mothers tummy and she told me, “No honey, you came from another lady’s tummy.” The concept was a bit foreign to me and I don’t think I fully understood until I was a bit older. If I had questions about the adoption, my parents were always willing to discuss them with me, but they waited until I was an appropriate age (sometime in college) for me to reach out to my birth parents if it was something I wanted to do. Eventually I did reach out and it was a joyous reunion. At some point it did plateau and then I found out there were two other children who had been given up for adoption as well, which didn’t make the reunion as special to me as it once had been. Over time we have sort of lost touch. Overall, I’d say it was worth meeting my birth mother, two siblings (one full and one half) and my birth father as well as some of the other extended family. I say this because it allowed me to put a face with a name. I had always imagined what it would be like to meet somebody that looked like me, having seen all my friends look like their siblings and parents.

I am not active now, but if Ohio makes a move to open completely the adoption records with no way for me to ensure that my right to privacy as an adoptee remains intact, then i will become active. I consider the recent change in Ohio law to be an affront to privacy rights. The “mutual consent” that was in effect was ideal protection for both adoptees and birth parents. I do not consider the change to be a positive one.

RE: Q #17: Incomplete answer. I have never felt lucky to be adopted, I never felt I fit in. However, after meeing my maternal family I am grateful to have been adopted out. I was spared sexual abuse at the hands of my bio-mother’s choice of men and from witnessing physical abuse of my maternal great aunt to had stated she would have taken me in had my existence been known.

I was adopted for the sole purpose of “fixing” a broken marriage. While a few parts of my life as an adopted child were good, a large part of it was just the opposite. Being kept in the dark snout my birth family has been akin to torture.

It is never good to be completely separated from family or origin.

Although I am in reunion with both sides, my mom passed away 12 years before I found her. She had been waiting for me to search as she was told she would be arrested if she tried looking for me. I was given “permission” to search by arents to get my medical history after my 7 yr old was contemplating suicide. Thanks to some very hard working people, my Province now has opened OBC records. My dad had been told I was someone else’s child but he welcomed me and so did my 1/2 siblings. (BTW – my mom is my mom, my dad is my dad. I hate the birth term. If I need to differentiate, I will opt for adoptive. And, yes, I had good people as adoptive parents but they were not the right family for me.)

Www.adoptionfind.wordpress.com, eulogy for adoptive father

I am frustrated by the lack of understanding by the general public. If you read the comments on any fluff adoption piece, it is FULL of incorrect thinking and idioms. Why don’t people want to think critically of adoption? They say what they’ve been taught to say, but I’m so sick of it. JW

I was in foster care by the time I was five months old. I was legally adopted by the age of five. I think I would have experienced the same life regardless.

My adoptive parents always told me that both my birth parents made the hardest choice they will ever make by giving me up – they always respected that and made sure I did as well. I am in full search mode, have a possible…recently took dna and paid the “fees” to the local agency in order to confirm the possibles or start over. Whatever my birth parents situation at time of my birth I will always give them respect knowing she carried me for nine months yet felt for whatever reason she couldn’t raise me and entrusted the agency to find me a wonderful family – which, they did.

I am an adoptee, in my 50s, who was adopted at 5 weeks of age into a nice middle-class, loving family. Even though I’ve always known I was adopted, it was never discussed openly or frequently. But my curiosity over my birthparents never waned. I kept the fact that I was an adopted kid a secret out of fear of rejection or idle joking (“Oh – no one wanted you, that’s why you were adopted”). When I was 30 years old, I researched & received non-identifying information from the adoption agency … FINALLY – I had some facts and felt like I belonged to … something/someone. Even though the facts were vague, I found out nationality, ages of birthparents, vital statistics, and some of the circumstances surrounding my conception, birth, and placement into my adoptive family. I found the courage to share this information with my adoptive mother who dismissed it, stating, “Hmmpf… OK.” I never talked about it again with my adoptive mother. Once again, it went back to being a secret. I felt like someone’s dirty little secret. Life went on, as it does. I was married but never had kids of my own. After divorcing the first husband, I then remarried years later to a wonderful man. We decided not to have kids of our own as he already had adult children from a previous marriage. As I grew older and became more comfortable with my life, my legacy and being true to myself, I slowly began to admit to people that I was adopted. This was never met with the negativity or rejection I had once feared. SCORE! Little things like this helped me grow emotionally as an adult. In 2014, the state in which I was born changed their adoption laws to allow adoptees to receive their original birth certificates. I couldn’t fill out the forms and send them in fast enough!! I will never forget the day I received my original birth certificate – it was a Saturday. I ran from the mailbox all the way back down the driveway and into the house at lightning speed. I had a name!! I had validation!! I . WAS . SOMEONE! Thanks to Google and some sleuthing, I found out my birthmother’s address within one hour. A few hours later, thanks to more sleuthing, I found her high school yearbook picture. The resemblance was uncanny – I finally look like somebody! Once again, an immense feeling of validation swept over me. I. WAS. SOMEONE! I sent my first letter to my birthmother within a few weeks telling her a bit about myself. A very powerful, emotional letter. I included pictures which I felt would definitely show the family resemblance. I like to think that what I wrote was very eloquent, well written, positive and informative. I never received a response. Six months later, I sent a simple Christmas card. No response. Recently I sent another letter. I have yet to receive a response. Yes, I have her phone number but I will not be calling her – I feel that’s too intrusive. I searched for other family members. I found a first cousin. She answered my email with a short response stating that majority of the family knows my birthmother had a child in the 60s but it was never discussed, and my birthmother doesn’t know that the entire family knows. She made vague comments around betraying my birthmother’s trust by communicating to me. So once again, I was rejected. I was someone’s dirty little secret. But I did not give up. Nor will I ever give up. I did make contact with a younger second cousin and have been in email contact with her. She emailed current pictures of my birthmother. This second cousin seems like a very down-to-earth, smart, kindhearted person and I am eternally grateful that she has found it in her heart to communicate with me. It is a slow, very emotional process. But one that I will never give up on. I’m trying to find a balance between yearning to know about my origin, the circumstances surrounding my birth & conception, and information/identity about my birthfather, but yet trying to sympathize about what my birthmother went through, the shame she must’ve felt, being unmarried and placed in a home for unwed mothers, told to forget about me and pretend like it never happened. That balance is hard to find, but by taking it slow and stepping back now & then to try to think as objectively as possible I believe that some day I will actually find more peace knowing my true origin. One of the main takeaways for me from this experience has been this – what is the true meaning of family? I used to think of this as just a cliché, but not any more. I look at pictures of my birthmother and don’t see myself in her eyes and smile anymore. I see a stranger, someone I don’t know. When I look at pictures of my adoptive mother, I feel all sorts of emotion – comforting me as a child, feeding me dinner, punishing me when I stayed out too late — typical parent/child relationship. I know my adoptive mother’s likes & dislikes, I know her personality, I. KNOW. HER. I don’t know my birthmother. Family, to me, is a relationship with someone that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling – someone who knows you & accepts you no matter what, through thick & thin. What does this mean? I’m in the midst of finding out. This has been an extremely emotional journey – searching for information about my birth family. But very rewarding. I’m glad this happened to me at this age – older, with more life experience – and I’m glad it happened following the death of both adoptive parents. In approximately 5 weeks, I’m planning on meeting this second cousin who has been so kind in communicating with me. I’m nervous, yet excited. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to meet my birthmother but plan to take it day by day. Quite a journey, it’s been. All my successes I owe to my adoptive parents who gave me a wonderful upbringing. But a number of my traits, ingrained within me, I owe to my birthparents. And I choose to celebrate that.

I am grateful that my birth mother chose life for me. As a result when I was pregnant at 17, I chose life for my daughter. I was able to raise her but if I wasn’t able to I would have placed her for adoption.

about identifying info, my options for no were unreadable,like they were typed on top of each other. I only have my non id info from CHS of Fl. It includes county,but not hospital,of birth. time,weightetc. It has a brief description of both parents,physical and education level. says they dated on off in college.found themselves pregnant,and wanted a stable,intact,loving home for me . Believe Dad was involved in the process as my mom(a mom) has always told me that one of the office girls at the adoption agency told her and my daddy that my b dad was the most handsome man they had ever seen and looked like a tall greek god!!! Which was funny because non id included his strong Greek heritage. Anyway,hope that answers # 7 correctly.

As an adoptee from the Baby Scoop Era, born in the late 60s, I was “taken in” by a family that wanted the novelty and attention of having another baby in the house and to look good in the eyes of their Catholic church for rescuing a homeless bastard. I was the only adopted kid in the home and the mother was a basket case. The father thought I might help her out of her psychosis. I think many of us were used as pawns like this, tools to help fix other major issues going on in the households, and since there were so many of us and it was easy to get one, why not. Because when you think about it, why else would some strange family want to take in another family’s reject baby? They had to have massive issues or avoidance behaviors themselves to even consider it. Raising a stranger’s baby and pretending it’s yours? That is totally fucked up when you truly think about it.

I have been warmly welcomed by my natural mother and her family, but I tend to think his family does not yet know. This reunion is in early stages and I am giving time as the one who did the search should. In terms of “blessed”, I am blessed to have been safe and loved and blessed to have a wonderful family all my life and to now have more family to meet and love. I said “neither here nor there” in terms of the “blessed” question because it asked about the adoption itself being a blessing. I feel very blessed but it is because I have been lived and raised honestly and respectfully in terms if my adoption and I am blessed to have met such a remarkable woman who has been through the trenches so that I can experience this world and now I can know her and live her too. He’s a bit on the fence and hope he comes around… the daylight in the sun is a better place to be!

To clarify my responses to questions 14 – 16, especially 16: I remain my mother’s “secret”; my father and welcomed me in to his family. Some of my mother’s extended family members have welcomed me, but don’t speak of their interactions with me with my mother. I would like to share that there should always be hope that situations can change. And that the secrets can be uncovered. My mother soundly rejected me when I first found her in the early ’80’s. A couple of years ago, I reached out again and she was willing to talk, but not to meet. I found my father with a few details my mother mentioned in conversation along with the non-id from the agency. It took a lot of work and some luck, but it CAN be done.

Re: Lucky to be adopted How about if I had to be adopted, meaning my birthfamily didn’t keep me, thatn I was lucky to be adopted by the family that adopted me. (that wasn’t an option on your survey)

I am thrilled that original birth certificates will be available on March 20, 2015 in Ohio! My spouse is also an adoptee and has not yet chosen to actively search, although he did join a DNA testing site and has found distant cousins.

Some of your questions should have had non applicable because I couldn’t answer them since I’m an LDA (late discovery adoptee) and my adoptive parents were deceased when I found out at 53 that I was adopted.

I found my birthmother one half hour. From my home all my life. I was 51 when I I found her she was 74. None of her family knew a about me. She put me in foster care. from there I was adopted at the age of 4. My first name was changed, from Sharon to Elizabeth. I had seven years ,before she died of diabetes complications. I tried to find my other sister she placed before she died, but, I was denied by the courts. My mother was a quiet and gently soul. She never allowed the heartaches to harden her over the years. My mother was very poor as a child and indured an alcoholic father. I believe she suffered emotional and psychological scars. I believe my mother also was slow and simple in intelligence. I have a half brother whom I still communicate with, I found a half sister three years ago. I am still missing another sister. My mother took my fathers name to the grave. I have had 3 DNA tests done awaiting for a close match to my fathers family. I am hopeful. I check everyday, in hopes I will also find my missing sister. I am still not at peace and won’t be until I find the last missing pieces. I am in hopes Ny will open their records, before I die. After that what does it really matter.my children will be left in the dark about their heritage. I hate what adoption has done to my life.

My a/mom used my race against me. When she thought I was acting badly, she would say things like “That’s your heritage coming out in you.” 10. I was constantly reminded that I was adopted (though I didn’t need any reminders. It was always evident, but just in case I forgot, my a/mom always introduced me as her “adopted daughter.” 13. I’m in reunion with my mom and sibs. It’s difficult. We aren’t building a deeper relationship because I don’t want to talk about how awful it was to be adopted. I don’t want to make her feel bad. She seems to appreciate that but it keeps our relationship distant. She calls and we talk about the weather, her other grandkids, what we all had for supper. I guess that seems like normal conversation but every time we hang up I feel deeply depressed. It all just seems hopelessly sad to me. 15. Birth Father was weird when I called him. I think his wife was there. I feel too old and too tired to play games. 18. I was raised in open adoption. I spent my childhood fantasizing about what it would be like to be with my mom and sisters all of the time. My fantasies were so vivid because I had the faces and personalities to place in them. There is a huge difference between being with a person and getting to visit a person. I’ve never craved anything or anyone like I craved my mom while I was little.

People who give their children up for adoption are selfish bitches. There should never be secrets, we are human beings not dogs! We are not pieces of property that parents who adopt get their names put on our birth certificates like some title transfer like the BMV do. Being adopted is not normal…..whoever dreamed this up as an acceptable practice for human beings is heartless. People should be responsible for getting pregnant and raise their dirty little secrets. I hate all of you mothers for giving your children up.

I was president of Adoption Identity Movement of Northern Michigan/Traverse City, MI up until 2005 when I moved back to Indiana. During that time I have helped many families with reuniting

Both my birth parents had passed away by the time I located my family. Had my state did open records, my adoptive parents would have found them and I could have met them before they died. Both birth parents suffered terribly with cancer and I would have spent time with them. Closed records cheated me out of ever knowing them and I am angry with that fact.

I think every adoptee should have access to medical records. Countless times going to a new doctor you always have to give medical background. That is something that cannot be done if you have no idea of what runs in your birth family. I was told that I was adopted when I was around 5 years old, and it is something I have tried to deal with in my life. My birth parents live in the same town, but was told my birth mother does not want to see me. My birth parents apparently divorced a day she remarried but he knows nothing about me. Not sure if my birth father would want to know me or not, along with my older brother. Going to the store I could pass her or be behind her in the checkout line. Just imagine if you did not know who you looked like or traits that you may have inherited. This was a closed adoption and unfortunately the lawyer that handled the adoption has passed, along with the doctor that was my birth parents and adoptive parents doctor recently passed also. The lawyers office had also had a fire and all or most of the records he had were destroyed. Been trying for years to find something out about my birth family. It is something I didn’t pursue full force until recently, because I didn’t want to hurt my adoptive parents while they were still living. I also never wanted any of my own children because I didn’t want to possibly pass something on to them that I would not even know about. It is hard enough to not know my medical history from my birthparents.

All adoptees are not the same. We should not be treated as if we were all the same. There are some adoptees who have extreme mental disorders and some who have PTSD and others with mild depression, etc. Some adoptees are stable and seemingly unaffected by their adoptions. Adoptees comprise people of all ages and all nationalities and both sexes. There is no one person out of this group who can be the poster child/adult for our group. What we all do need is our basic human rights returned to us. The govt., Federal or State and lawyers or social workers should not be making laws and/or life choices for us. If there must be laws, then let representatives from our group be involved in making these laws. Expect for some of us to fight for our rights – just as there were some African Americans who fought for their civil rights back in the 60’s. We will over come. Some day.

Some of these questions did not have an answer that I would chose. For instance, being adopted is how I came to be with my family, other than that being adopted doesn’t define who I am. I LOVE what adoption did for my life. I have had my bio parents info my whole life Im almost 50yrs old and have never even looked at it , even after I lost my parents. I could care less about having my original birth b=certificate. Its not who I am, If other want it than I guess they should be able to . For me its the fake one, cause I am who I am now. Not who I might have been for a day or 2 before I was adopted.

There was one thng that maybe you can consider. As far as searching for my bithparents, I am just in the beginning stages of deciding whether I want to search or not, so it was difficult to answer a couple of questions. I tried to answer as close as I could.

Technically, I dont feel “blessed” or “lucky” to be adopted, per se. But I am blessed to have the parents that I do/did have 🙂

My biological mother had me when she was barely 20 years old and live for decades with bipolar disorder which was not diagnosed until she was in her 50’s. She had no maternal instinct whatsoever. My biological father had no idea she was prengant with me and he was never in the picture. I shudder to think what kind of life I would have suffered at her hands. The state had to take me away from her when I was just 6 months old after she had abandoned me more than once with random boyfriends and total strangers. My adopted parents saved me from a horrible childhood.

As an adoptee in an open/in-family adoption, I had a difficult time picking an answer to some questions. Adoption is never black and white and every situation is unique, different and difficult in its own way. Question #17 bothered me. None of those answers fit, so I selected the middle one. But I do have feelings both ways. On one hand, I probably had a better life with 2 parents and siblings, instead of being raised by a single mother. So does that make me lucky or blessed? On the other hand, I also don’t know what my life would have been like had my birth mother kept me. What I do know is that being adopted is a deeply rooted emotional issue that will be with me for the rest of my life. It has impacts on me every single day. I have a hard time trusting people, letting myself feel vulnerable and connected, thus relationships are difficult. I don’t feel close to my adoptive family. They have one mentality when it comes to my adoption and my birth mother and there are multiple facets of hurt and frustration that come as a result of that. Gratefulness and positivity are my only allowable emotions, according to them. I also need to shun my birth mother, even though she is a family member and every one else in the family can have a good relationship with her. It’s an impossibly frustrating double standard. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere in this world and have only begun to understand that I am not abnormal in feeling this way once I started talking to other adoptees online in the last few months.

Lies and deceit have no place in the world of adoption. Secrecy is wrong. We exist and are people and should be treated with the equality afforded to everyone else who was not adopted. We are given a different life but it is not necessarily better, We are not lucky, we are generally not angry just weary of not being heard.

Quite a few questions on this survey did not offer answer options sufficient to describe my experience. I chalk this up to the incredible complexity of adoption and reunion.

A lot of the questions were difficult/impossible to answer for someone like me who was in a semi-closed adoption.

Adoption creates a split-self. It is abusive because it requires adoptees to live life as someone we are not for the benefit of others. It is the most lonely existence imaginable.

I was the 6th of 8 children; birthparents kept the first 5. Number 7 and I were adopted by same parents but #8 is still out there somewhere; we would like to find her. The first 5 kids didn’t know that the last 3 existed until I found them. Birthfather died while I was a kid (never met him). Birthmom died two years after I found her. Two of my older siblings have passed. I would encourage everyone to search. When we adopted our daughter it was an open adoption. Didn’t want her to go through what I did with closed records.

I did not have an easy life growing up with my adoptive parents, but I would not change the family I grew up with regardless of the happiness I’ve found with my original family (first mother and extended maternal family).

I was adopted and never felt I belonged anywhere. I’m 36 years old and still looking for a place to belong. My adoptive family always picked on me about the fact that I was adoptive, and always throw it in my face ever chance they got.

Being in reunion, and knowing the circumstances that led to my adoption, I can see that I am likely off with my life as it played out (birthdad was an addict and was abusive towards birthmom). But it hurts to know that I grew up apart from my birthmom’s family and my brother. I am so glad to know them now, but I mourn 40 years of separation and of feeling slightly our of place in my adoptive family. Adoption is much more complicated than most people want to believe.

My first mother kept her pregnancy a secret until she was 7 months along and a month away from graduating high school. She never explicitly told the birth father, who was a fling. Despite her secrecy and her parents’ reactions, her whole family and her husband knew about me before I contacted them. Reunion has been complicated and hard, but not because of rejection there. My birth father and I have had no direct contact, but I did get some family information from that side of the family. That came with a weird side of rejection and a request for DNA testing that was never followed through (I did — they didn’t).

#10 should have been formatted like #11 – to allow for answering neither positive or negative way – simply as a fact. #15 omitted the opportunity to determine how many of us found a grave at the end of our search – which doesn’t allow us say if we would have been welcomed or rejected. Biggest omission – have you or your children been impacted by the lack of family health history.

I think it’s unfair for anyone to be lied to or have their origins hidden from them. Closed adoptions with sealed records and amended birth certificates do much more harm than good. The adults in the situation need to remember that adoption is NOT about them. It’s supposed to be in the best interest of the child. Hiding that child’s true identity is cruel. I believe it violates basic human rights. When the birthmother makes the very adult decision to give up her child, she should take into consideration that she’s also giving up that child’s rights. For her to ask for complete privacy isn’t in the child’s best interest…it’s in HERS! Same for the adopted parents. It’s selfish to try and mold a child into something he’s not or hide his identity from him. I realize that it’s not always in the child’s best interest to know his biological parent(s). But when that child becomes an adult, he should be allowed, without conditions, to discover who he is and where he came from. Many adoptees live their entire lives feeling the pain of adoption. That feeling of never quite fitting in anywhere. That’s because they don’t know who they are! Something different needs to start happening in regards to adoption. Tell me who I am!

I am a supporter of family preservation! I founded a non profit organization in my community to meet the needs of adoption vulnerable women & teens. I hope my organization model will be copied around the Country. http://www.nlclakeland.org

The long term relationship. I was welcomed with open atms but then my birth mother pulled back and i rarely have contact with her. The repsonse options could have been better in this qnr

I was 69 when I accidentally discovered i was adopted. My birth family if full of ovarian, breast and prostate cancers, with many of the women carrying the BRCA gene responsible for ovarian cancer. If I had know this prior to my diagnosis of ov ca stage 4, met. to lungs., and being a proactive person for my health, I am sure I could have been spared this late diagnosis. I still have trouble with adoptive family members who knew about my adoption, and cannot bring myself to be involved withthem any more.Sad, but true. They lied, and still do. To tell me that they only carried out my adoptive Mohter’s wishes, is a sign of very weak people.amen.

About the ethnicity questions…….my birthmom was Mexican but I didn’t know it until I found her family a few years ago. Although I look darker (people always asked me if I was Indian, meaning Native American)than my adoptive family, I didnt know until later that I was mixed. they didn’t know either…social services told my adoptive parents that my mother was of French origin. I’m sure in the 60s it would have been harder to find a home for a mixed child.

The above doesn’t have an answer I would choose! I really don’t get involved in all the adoptee stuff besides chat group on fb. My birth certificate has my parents name on it, they are my legal parents. Perhaps the birth certificate for adoptees could state parents instead of birth parents. But the govt hasn’t got that far yet! These documents have been around for many years and I guess changing the wording isn’t top priority. Never the less I am quite ok with my birth certificate just the way it is. They are my parents and that is my legal name on it. I love the life adoption has given me. I hold no ill will toward my birth family. They just haven’t ever been on my radar, my life is busy and full enough.the way it is.

My birth certificate was altered. It shows my adopted parents as my parents. As for me being a birth mother, when I was a teenager, my parents forced me into giving up my child. I was told that since I was a minor I had no choice. Was the biggest mistake of my life.

Both adotive parents and adoptees should have to have some sort of therapy during their chil rearing and growing up years. I feel that I could have used that as well as my adoptive parents. You’re not really given the tools to raise a child that is not genetically yours and that may have issues that come along with adoption trauma.

Language is important. Lets call this what it really is. Human trafficking. In some cases it is modern day slavery. Im great at cleaning houses and polishing silver. Nothing more was expected of me than to marry a wealthy man who could take over financing my existance. Apparently this is all that matters in life. Money. My experience growing up without conscious knowledge of my adoption can show example after example of behaviors that are consistent with others who have always known. I have to believe that this is a universal trauma that we can no longer afford to ignore for the well being of our entire society. We have all this information yet we ignore it because what? The money.

I think another question would be if the adoptee ever felt fully accepted by their adoptive family. Most adopted people I know feel as though they were always the black sheep of the family because they never fit in. My adoptive family are Russian/Polish Jews and I was raised to believe I was Jewish, but I never felt that was me in any way. I don’t behave like them or even think like them, not to mention look nothing like them. I’m of Irish/English decent, red hair and freckles. They never once acknowledge that my bloodline was not theirs or my own. They had no interest in helping me find any sort of identy. I did it all on my own. I was always told by my adopted mother that if I wanted to find my birth mother I could, but she wanted me to know that would hurt her very much if I did. I was eight when she first told me and would always say that to me whenever I had questions about my birth mother. I only had questions about my birth mother because she was in her early twenties when she was pregnant with me and single or so they think. It was a private adoption when they purchased me.

I have been “awake” now for eight years, finally realizing how I had to “sleepwalk” through my previous years as a traumatized baby, child and adult. Understanding the distancing and denial of the pain of separation from my mother was my only way in surviving. I have read many, many adoption books and other articles written by mothers of loss and of adoptees and am in such awe of how we have all danced around our pain in survival mode. I have done research on the intelligence of a newborn and the significance the mother plays in this infant’s development emotionally, physically and spiritually I believe. There are so many facets to the adoption world that I am drawn to and attempting to understand on some level. For instance how a reunion can occur between mother and child then in a matter of hours, days, months or even several years later will disintegrate with no warning or reason. Also the different ways our lives seem to travel in a parallel of each other, sharing the same degrees of walking this journey. I nightly sit and read blogs, posts and articles on this life-altering thing called adoption, hoping to gain some in-sight on how it breathes the way it does. I am the result of an occurrence that happened during the BSE period and the waves keep rippling through my life and my children’s lives. I know these waves will keep swelling and rolling but it is so important to inform others of our stories to lessen their ignorance regarding the plight of a separated mother and child.

Being adopted sucks. Period.

This survey addresses people who were actually adopted. I was not legally adopted. I was a black market adoption. My parents paid $10,000 for me and never had adoption papers. My birth certificate was falsified by naming my adoptive parents as my birth parents. No non-id information exists for me. I’m not sure what could be done to help others like me, other than to bring this side of adoption out in the open.

For me being Adopted has been the Root of a lot of my problem’s in life. I’m now almost 40 years old and I’m a Single Mom. When I try and date I stay distant and not want to get to close in fear that that person might leave too. I have a very strong bond with my kids and after having them realized how much more of a Selfish Act Adoption is. I petitioned the Court when I was 25 to have my sealed adoption records opened and after a lot of time, money and permission later on from My Birth parents who have kept me their “Dirty Little Secret”, I finally met them at 26. Come to find out they are still together and I have two Full Sisters they kept. Originally they didn’t want to meet me or let anyone know about me, especially my two Sister’s. After time they finally agreed so I met them and some of the family but have really felt further rejected and have been treated very poorly by the family. It has cause some new issues to arise in me. I do not regret finding them and meeting them, it has brought some closure it somethings and other things made worst! There really is no help or support for us adoptees and if you do find it, its very expensive!

I live in Australia where the laws of sealed adoptions was changed in the 1980s so that adoptees over 18 could apply for their records including OBC. A simple right but something that has helped me and so many fellow adoptees get past the psychological hurdles of self identity minus the fight.

Question #17 should have included another answer around “both lucky and cursed,” or something along that lines. I feel like in some ways I’ve been blessed, because of opportunities, but in other ways I have been cursed. I also think that you should distinguish between being a ‘birth parent’ and a ‘biological parent’ in the question about myself being a birth parent/adoptive parent. I consider myself a biological mom, and write about that, because I AM a birth parent/biological mom, though I am raising my son. I did not relinquish a child for adoptive, but feel like every woman who gives birth is a ‘birth mom’ or a ‘biological mom,’ but the experience of relinquishing is different. I know that’s parceling out words and might only apply to me, but I feel like my experience as an adoptee, raising a biological child, is different than a non-adoptee raising a biological child. Also, under the question about ‘actively discouraging talking about it,’ I would say that my parents talked about adoption, but passively discouraged talking about it through body language and non overt ways, which is important to distinguish as an answer.

As an adoptee, I have questions which can only be answered by birth family. I am very fortunate to have been adopted by a childless couple who wanted me with all their heart. I was raised in a warm, loving, nurturing family. My father is gone, but my mother supports my search & does not feel the least bit threatened. My adult children support my search efforts as well. I would like to know my birth family, before it is too late. If for no other reason than to say “thank you “.

I truly appreciate this survey.

I’m a transracial adoptee. My birth mother was killed when I was one, and my father came around occasionally until I was 6. I was adopted at 8, and reunited with my biological siblings, as they were also adopted by the family. Favoritism applied heavily, as J and T had two biological sons. J, the father, has anger issues that have never been addressed. T is a manipulative liar and their youngest son is emotionally abusive. I’m writing this because I have yet to meet any other Native transracial adoptees that were kept together by adoption.

I think it’s a crime that anyone in the US can get a copy of their original birth certificate except adoptees. Where are my rights?

I always felt very blessed to be adopted by the adoptive parents I had, because they were truly wonderful people who loved me and did their best for me, and always kept my best interests at heart , of course, our hands were tied In the 60’s ,with a super closed adoption. They knew nothing about my background, except that my birth mother “wasn’t a teenager”. They helped me initiate mÿ search and welcomed my first mom and sister into my family. Still, adoption left its ugly stain in my psyche, as I still have crippling PTSD when triggered or abandoned/when there’s a death or any kind of major loss of a loved one. I experience abject terror at being left alone or abandoned and it’s negatively affected my life, my family and relationships in so many ways.

If you didn’t allow Adoptive parents to rename (First name) the child (if they already have a name) I think that would bring a sense of worth of their own identity. No need to rename the child as if the past didn’t excist. I kept my name, and I’ve always been grateful for that.

As an LDA with a complicated birth family situation, some of these questions were tricky to answer. Birth certificates should never altered. Being adopted sucks, but being an LDA (late discovery adoptee) sucks even more. If it weren’t for the lies on our birth certificates, adopters could never hide the truth about our origins. There is no reason to change legal documents, ever.

Of all the freedoms we as Americans enjoy it boggles my mind that ti try and understand the Adoption laws that are clearly made to only protect the birth parents. I want total access, but at the top of my list is Medical history. There are too many genetic disorders that one could benefit from having this info. Early detection and treatment are key. Having access could help the adoptee to better educate and prepare for such disorders if the case may be. I for 1 am thrilled Our Voices have been finally heard. I could expand on the subject but space doesn’t permit. Ty for the opportunity to say what I could.

A couple of questions were hard to answer because they apply one way on my bio father’s side and the other/opposite way on my bio mother’s side. Example: Am I a secret? Yes, on my dad’s side. Even still, after reunion. No, on my mom’s side, and I wasn’t before reunion, either. She told all of my siblings during their childhood and her husband and stepsons before she and my stepdad got married. Another example: I’m in reunion with mom, siblings, and extended family on her side. I’m in reunion with dad but not siblings or extended family on his side. I’m satisfied with my reunion with my mom, siblings, stepdad, step brothers, aunts, cousins, etc. and unsatisfied/frustrated with my reunion with my dad. I want to meet my sisters and uncle (or at least talk to them) but they don’t know about me. I wish reunion with mom/her family and dad/his family had been tested entirely separately in the survey.

Honestly the answers to pick from didn’t feel to cover both sides of the spectrum in some questions. I am adopted & a birth mom, I feel that adoption by lawyer, not agency, tend to have more happy parents (birth and adoption) and children in the long run. I don’t always agree with his agency’s run, but I take offense at so many people trying to say adoption is a money maker set up.

I’ll will be interested in telling my story at later stage but I want to be fully transparent as I have been hide away for years

I believe on one hand that we should have unaltered birth certificates, but on the other hand, I believe that adoptees should have two, one listing their adopted family, one listing their birth. If you are like me, you were adopted at birth and have never had official contact with your birth family (though you have had occasional contact with the rise of technology and social media), so you don’t really no any different. Also, I’m not sure if this is important, but probably because of my status as adoptee, I am extremely, extremely interested in genealogy and matters of heritage and culture. Even if my adopted parents shared the same ethnicity (caucasian) as myself, there is still a lot of cultural difference within different countries in Europe. You can’t say that a South German, a Norwegian Lutheran, an Irish Catholic, and a Colonial-English American have the same cultures, so I have continually strived to learn about my people, my ancestors, and my roots, which I fear not a lot of adoptees have access too. In the words of Alex Haley, “In all of us is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we came from.” Even if you have been separated from your birth family for 50 years, you should still have access to your people, your tribe, your ancestors. That is one thing that every single man, woman, and child should have access to: the knowledge of who came before them, who gave birth to them, their generations, and so on.These things are integral to who we are, and my status as an adoptee, I believe, has shown me that.

No mother should be allowed to even consider relinquishing a child until after the birth and she has proven not to have any postpartum depression or psychosis. No child should be placed by private agencies or lawyers but only by professionals who are concerned with the best interests of the child. Adoption needs to be a service for children in need and not a service for adults. Every child placed for adoption should be subject to follow up visits. Adopted children are not the same as bio children and should not be treated as such. Adoptive patents should be issued with a certificate of adoption and not a false birth certificate.

I grew up in an open adoption, in-family. Most people think that’s the “best” adoption situation. While it does provide knowledge of my birth mother and my origin, I’ve experienced as much grief and confusion as those who are in closed adoptions. I know my birth mother. I’ve met her. But when I read blog posts, stories, poetry from other adoptees who express grief over losing a mother they’ve never met, I identify with their feelings. Only, I’ve met my mother. I don’t know if that’s better or worse.

It seems to me that people,especially government, do not care about the well-being( physical or emotional) of adopted children or adults.

This survey is biased. Only applicable to adoptees of presumed illegitimacy. Also presumes adoptees is the searching and finding party. I was born within a marriage. My mother died when I was three months old. Father relinquished me. 18 years later I was found – I did not search – by siblings I never knew. So, please be aware – and make known – that adoptees are also products of marital unions. Not all adoptees are illegitimate. Not all adoptees are searchers. Many adoptees were found and therefore, not aware of others searching for them.

I found a few of the questions on reunion did not apply to my situation. My birth mother I had reunion with and her children and extended family. My birth mother and her extended I am no longer in reunion with but keep contact with my younger “half-siblings”. My birth father committed suicide around the time my adoption was finalized when I was six months old. I only have contact with two of at least 8 known daughters he had. One of my sisters on his side is two months older than me as his wife was pregnant the same time my bottom was. Was birth father was 35 and in his third marriage. My birth mother was 19 years old. I have had many visits with my birthmother and her children and family. None recently as she has cut me off from her life for 2.5 yrs now. I have not met any siblings from my deceased birth father’s side. Only facebook and initially snail mail with one sister. Omg I rambling!!!! So sorry!!!!

I grew up knowing who my biological parents are. My story of adoption is not about finding out my family origins. It’s about how I realise that adoption is my personal path to freedom and anbundant living. I have a blog detailing my story and perspectives. You are welcome to check it out http://www.empoweringadoptees.com

The feelings I have, of being rejected, carried on into my adult life. I have never been able to fully trust another individual…making it difficult to have relationships. In my case, the rejection continued with my siblings. They want nothing to do with me. I only have one cousin, that had the courage to step forward and help me; and ultimately welcome me into the family. I used to fantasize what it would be like to be reunited with my own blood….the reality was nothing like my fantasy! It’s difficult for others to understand the pain of adoption. It is like having a hole in your soul.

each one of these responses might be individually looked at for how true it is instead of forcing just one choice. as in a likert scale: highly disagree to highly agree. question 4 needs “was unaware of ethnicity/culture/ heritage until locating birth family/information.

I did hire a Private Investigator to find my birthmom, I talked to her on the phone for maybe 5 seconds. She proceeded to tell me that I have 2 half brothers that she gave up as well. She gave all 3 of us up. She always teased me and acted like she would tell me things in emails but never did for years. She is all about herself and acted very controlling withholding info. She is a very mean, hateful, hurtful woman who I never want to meet. She lives 20 miles down the road, unmarried, no children, very little family. I choose to not have contact. I found both of my 1/2 brothers she gave up and have numerous half siblings on my birthfathers side. He died in 1988. Never saw a photo of him. My adoptive parents were great. My adoptive dad died in 1988 as well. I was 17.

I have mixed ethnic identities in both my adoptive and biological families. The only overlap is that my adoptive dad is puerto rican and my birth dad is half puerto rican. I put that “I don’t know if my birth and adoptive ethnicities are the same” because it’s complicated. I’m also part mexican, and my adoptive mom tried to give me opportunities to learn about mexican culture (easy in our region). She also thought I shared her ancestry, which I was less comfortable with. She still says she doesn’t think of me as brown (I’m evenly split white and latina) and is amazed that I face any racism. So, it’s complicated.

My amom was extremely jealous that she was not the woman who gave birth to me. Any time that I asked about my origins she would become very passive aggressive with the intent to hurt me as much as my desire to know my own family hurt her.

My adoption was Grey market. My mother was young and pretty my bed forced to give me up. When in labor she was given drugs. She wanted to change her mind but when she woke up from the drugs I was taken. She was unwed and her family said it was best. The family who got me loved me until I was 3 and they unexpectedly had. Biological child . Then they said they didn’t want me anymore and I spent time between them and a loving grandma. They horribly abused me. I didn’t have a bed and was kept in the garage at times. The grandma was great. I’m a grown woman. I have a great life, 4 sons of my own and took in an 8 year old girl who’s mom had abused her and raised her up as my own with my husband. She couldn’t speak when I got her but she graduated from Highschool with honors and scholarships. It wasn’t firmal adoption. I wanted to love how my grandma loved me.

The receipt for the amount of money my adoptive parents paid to obtain me ($300) is the first item in my baby book. It has always been extremely distressing to me. They seemed proud that they dished out this money to get me. Years later I found out that I was not willingly given up for adoption. Both my mother and father wanted me, but since they were unmarried, the Catholic church and Social Services intervened to take me away. It took 3 months in the court system to declare my mother a “juvenile delinquent” so that I could be adopted away. My adoptive parents were told I was born 3 months premature and had to stay in the hospital and that is why I was adopted first at 3 months. They are now angry that they “paid so much money” for a baby and are “fearful that she (the birth mother) will extort us for money”.

I’m conflicted on some of my answers. I was fortunate to have been adopted by fabulous parents who were as open as they could be with the limited information they were given. My amended birth certificate was a mystery to me, and I was always looking for clues on it as to my birth parents’ identity. That was futile, of course. Born in the state of Missouri with closed records, I joined an adoption support group, and armed with information, I was able to get my original birth certificate. I was able to locate my birth mother and birth father, siblings, grandmothers, aunt, uncles and cousins. My adoptive parents have met everyone as well. I was 38 at the time of my search and grateful everyone was alive at that time. I was welcomed and have wonderful enriching relationships with all. My questions have been answered, I know who I look like, where my talents come from, and so important, my health history. I’m sad for those who can’t get to this information (or are rejected once they get that far). My reunions took place 14 years ago, and I’ve grown so much personally by knowing my roots. I knew the risks going into this. I can’t imagine going through this life without this information. Timing is everything. Being respectful of privacy is everything. I don’t think I would have been emotionally ready for these reunions until I was the age I was when I chose to search. I am lucky/blessed/fortunate/complete.

My adoption was within my family, adoption by my father’s parents. I was adopted with my younger sister. I’m assuming because someone was willing to take us, the time in history, and the agencies involved didn’t follow up or screen my grandparents well enough for our safety. I am currently in therapy for PTSD, OCD, and extreme anxiety stemming from child abuse from my grandmother/adoptive mother. I am not in contact with either side of my family or my birth parents and don’t plan to. I figure if they had done all this to me in my early life it is definitely not safe to be in contact with them now. I have been given conflicting stories regarding my early childhood and adoption, but it all seems to have stemmed from people who just didn’t seem to k ow what to do with children.

I am the first of four adopted children, so adoption was never a secret subject in our household. After the first two of us, my a-mother chose not to follow the strict matching of ethnicities between child and a-parents. Hence my middle sister is a person of colour (a rarity in a late 1950s working-class town in southeastern New England). The circumstances of our adoptions were never discussed when we were children. My a-mother died when I was 15 years old, and my a-father completely withdrew from us. He later declared (in a court of law) that we were his “foster children” and therefore had no connection to him. I discovered my complete original name on a document in my a-father’s files when I was 18, but it never occurred to me until a few years ago that if it was written on that document, then my a-parents knew it, and they (primarily my a-father) intentionally withheld that information from me! It was not the most pleasant family life, and after I left home for college, I became estranged from my a-father and never spoke to him after that. He died in 2010. I am in contact with two of my a-sisters.

I’ve been in and out of reunion with my birth mother(not in relationship now) but have good relations with some cousins and a few uncles and aunts on mother’s side. Took a DNA test In hope to find birth father side of family but nothing yet.

I always knew while growing up I was different from my adopted faily. I was told by my mother,when I was 15, that I was adopted. She told me due to receiving court papers that my dad wanted us to live with him. My birth mother is cousins with my adopted mother. She told me in a selfish way and told me I was nothing by blood to my fathers family but their actually the ones that never treated me any different. Me and my BM have had a rocky relationship since we met when I was 15. I lost who I thought I was. But we are not giving up. My BM introduced me and my son to my BFather August 1, 2010. He accepted me for nearly 4 yrs and visited a lot. but rejected me March 2014. He got jealous of my son and spouse and treated me as a child and chose his family(I’m only hold he has no spouse. His family as in his sisters brothers nieces nephews)over me and his only grandson(6yrs old) and now granddaughter (2months old). Me and my BM have issues due to not having the actual mother daughter relationship and her expecting the same respect as my adopted mother. Me and BM are still working on our relationship. She has met her grandson and was t hospital when I had my daughter which made my adopted other somewhat jealous jut now she knows I love them both indifferent ways.

These options are often N/A – you’ve crammed a ton of radio buttons in here but they are still not applicable to all situations, including my own. I know surveys are difficult to design and would suggest fewer radio button options with an N/A or “Other’ and text field as the last option. For example, I did find/meet my birthmother, but she died. The siblings want no contact. My biofather was already deceased and I’ve yet to meet my siblings on that side. And the psych question doesn’t permit an open ended response so becomes invalid from a data perspective. Same with the “life control” question – the answers are too limited. But thank you for putting this together and good luck with your results. Just be careful when extrapolating assumptions / conclusions.

I can see how this series of questions are pertinent for domestic adoptees at a general level, however, being an international adoptee, transracial adoptee, many of these questions could have also been asked of “reunion”, “reconnection” or “discussion” with one’s original country, culture, language, as well as ‘reunion’ with one’s original family. As with all survey’s also, I felt that for me, my best answer would often have been between two answers. My experiences with adoption haven’t followed a linear trajectory. #23: In some ways, I’m very much in control of my life, but in regards to adoption, I had no control, and in terms of healing from adoption, with no info, loss of LANGUAGE, family, culture, I still have little control. Also, in some ways, I’ve been lucky in life or have had a lot of great experiences/opportunities, which wouldn’t have happened if I haven’t been imported from overseas and had my identity, history, everything erased. Thus, I would never say that I was lucky to have had my identity, history, and forced to live a life post forced-amnesia and displacement via adoption. I’d love to share my story, but it’s unfinished, and not begun (and least to my cognitive ability). Such is the curse of adoption, and ranks as one of the cruelest things one can impose on another – take away someone else’s story, identity, and existence.

Thanks for creating this survey – I will be interested in the results!

It has been six years since my first phone call to my birthmother. After half a dozen strained phone conversations, she has now stopped answering my calls. My half siblings (2 and 4 years older) no nothing of my existence. Only my birthmother and her ex husband (half siblings father) know and possibly some extended older family members. It is beyond my understanding how anyone lives with a secret like that for all these years. I have offered to remain her secret and just work on our relationship but even that hasn’t happened. I am sad that she is now choosing no contact and will never know what a wonderful person I am. But life goes on and I am “luckily blessed” with very loving parents and a sister (also adopted), my husband and my beautiful daughter and only biological link. Hopefully one day before it’s too late my birth mother will find the courage to stop living the lie, own her choices and be free of the past.

It’s a sad feeling to be adopted. Your mom didn’t want you and you were a second choice or last resort to the people who adopted you. It’s like being a mistake your whole life. Yet people think you should feel lucky. It’s ridiculous.

Thank you for creating this survey. I think it will be very valuable.

Why is this a survey? It seems to me you are trying to get people to feel hurry because they were adopted. Adoption is beautiful! Adoption is wonderful. Adoption creates families!

Amended birth certificates are not used everywhere. My own parents were given a certificate of adoption to use in place of a birth certificate. My only birth certificate is the one that gives my original name. I have the right to access all my records and exercised it. This harmed nobody and I can see no reason why adult adoptees shouldn’t have the same access. We are the only ones who didn’t agree to the adoption and as a consequence we should be the only ones with access to all of the records.

In regard to question 16: Most of my birthmother’s family was aware of me (grandparents, her siblings, my siblings, and some cousins). My birthfather and his family was unaware of me until I found them.

I am unsure how to answer some of these questions, so here are some clarifications. 18. Every time I thought of my birthparents before reunion, I had to fantasize because I had nothing else. 14. I have found all the biological family I know of, but I found out that I have biological cousins that were relinquished for adoption, and I did a DNA test in order to see if I could find other cousins and reconnect them with our biological family. 28. Every record pertaining to the adoptee should be accessible to the adoptee, including parents’ names, medical and heritage information about the biological family and information about the pregnancy and birth. Things not directly related to the adoptee are different, but I would hope the biological families would be willing to share info with the adoptee openly. 29. I can see a need legally to have some kind of certificate establishing the adoptive parenting relationship. It shouldn’t be in the form of altered new and sealed original birth certificates.

This survey does not cover the cases where adoptees never lost touch with their family of origin – OR were found by them. I had NO interest in searching and was found. Adoptions currently take a MINIMUM of six months post placement and filing of the petition. Over the years covered by this survey – that minimum was as long as 30 months. What you seem to be referring to is the date of PLACEMENT in the pre-adoptive home as a foster child/ward of the State.

The stories I get were that my birth mother was forced to give me up for adoption or lose me to the state. I have tried to get information about who my birth father was, but there seems to be some kind of family “secret.” I have been given two or three names to go on. It is my understanding that the one most people think is my birth father is now deceased. I had a medical condition as a child involving blood transfusions and purpura (cannot remember the actual name of the condition). It would help to have medical information on my birth parents. I have been overwhelmed with the birth family that I have met – not at all what I expected. One person tells me one thing, another tells me another, then two others tell me another. My bio brother tells me who I should and shouldn’t speak to and seems to want to keep things secret. He went to live with our bio maternal grandmother as a child at the same time as I was adopted. He chose to stay with the grandmother because she put things in his head. This is all my understanding. I just wish that people realized that it is my choice and I have a right to the information as to who my birth father was, no matter the circumstances, instead of trying to keep it from me. My bio brother is “worried he is going to lose me again” and the thought of other potential siblings out there kills him because he doesn’t want to share. It has caused problems in my personal life – he wants no one to get close to me and is overbearing most of the time, now trying to step in and be the big brother. I didn’t even meet these people until I was in my 30s and now they all want to be part of my life and it is extremely overwhelming to me. WAY too much drama in that family. I am now searching for answers as to who my birth father was on my own, and keeping this phase of the search to myself so as not to cause any more drama or uproar.

(1) http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=705D5DF4-055B-F1EC-3F66462866FCB4E6

11 thoughts on “Voices of Adoptees – The Results of the Adoptee Survey

  1. Please read up on sampling bias before claiming that 20% of adoptees have attempted suicide. This statement is akin to Fox news claiming that according to their Internet poll, 90% of Americans want to impeach Barack Obama.


      1. apologies for not offering up more personal info to people with a history/habit of harassment in real life. have fun with my ip.

        Care to post the research you cite? I think your survey is great and these voices absolutely need to be heard, I just have a problem with taking the results and saying “20% of adoptees….XYZ.” You have to preface that with “x% of adoptees in this survey…” and can’t necessarily extrapolate to the entirety of adoptees. Think of it this way: I ask 20 random people in a target parking lot their history and experience with alcohol for a survey. How do you think those results would compare if I did the same survey but in the parking lot as an AA meeting is letting out? Would it be right to use the second results to say “90% of americans have had serious trouble with alcohol?” that’s sampling bias, and it’s the reason why it’s so hard to get accurate representative data for studies such as this.


      2. Agreed. This survey was posted in “fluff” adoption groups as equally as it was posted in groups such as Bastard Nation. The University of Minnesota had similar findings although their sampling was only teenagers (and mine was mostly those born in the 60s and 70s). That could explain the higher incidence in my survey as opposed to the teenage study – more years of life or more open adoptions. The Minnesota survey found a 9% incidence of attempted suicide of teenage adoptees in comparison to 1.5% of the control group.


  2. Interesting results. You wrote that you weren’t sure why there would be such varied results with trauma within children. I’m sure there are more studies out there regarding trauma related behavior and symptoms from different types of early childhood scenarios, but what is coming out of scientific studies in why babies thrive more with their own mothers is fairly interesting. Some say it’s because of the smell and sounds our own mothers would have- take that away into another environment regardless of care of new family opens up a feeling of displacement. It seems we have more of a biological need to be physically with our mothers/close to our wombs than previously thought. Attachment theory in psychology is very interesting, as well as what happens to the brain of children in healthy relationships versus displacement, neglect, and abuse- brains will actually be physically smaller in worse scenarios. It all boils down to the fact that we as human beings need to be with our mothers that birthed us in order to actually physically THRIVE and grow properly. It’s not ‘mommy/daddy issues’ or ‘attachment issues’ in the dismissive sense they have become in our society. We actually NEED our mothers. It doesn’t apply to all obviously as there are anomalies as well as those situations where the attachment and needs are met well enough- or hell maybe the new mother smells similar! I haven’t read up on that part yet.

    I want to say that’s my meant to be a slap or dig at birth mothers. That’s science. Unfortunately we are learning more every day on child development. I’m excited to see what we learn next.

    Thank you for making this survey. It was definitely interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I applaud you trying to bring in “fluff” adoptees as well, but the fact that the MN study found a 6x higher incidence and your survey found a 2000x higher incidence should have given you pause. I would hardly say that the two results are “aligned”.

    Again, not discounting the need for such a survey, or your survey in general. just taking issue with your claim that 20% of all adoptees have attempted suicide. As I mentioned, the hard part is trying to get a large and varied enough sample size. As is, most people who have no issues with their adoption are probably not members of support groups so aren’t likely to be included.


    1. The Minnesota study found a 9% rate. I found 20%. I would say, given how hard it is to conduct a survey such as this online, it is probably, realistically somewhere in between.


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