The Adoptees’ Voices.

So if you haven’t seen it, there’s AMAZING conversations happening over on a post I penned last week. With the input of some close friends, I shared — in my own sarcastic way — comments that are made to us that can be invasive, hurtful and/or upsetting — to our children as well as to us.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the response. Adoptive parents, birth mothers, adoptees, prospective adoptive parents, friends and family of adoptive parents are all weighing in. For the most part, everyone has been so respectful of one another’s experiences and there is lots of great encouragement happening. How cool is that?

If you’ve read the comments of the many adoptive parents who have shared their experiences, you’ve probably gathered that we adoptive parents are pretty good at letting things roll off our backs because we have lots of practice. We get it: most people are truly just curious and mean well, and we’re proud of our kiddos and proud to be their parents.

What is always my ultimate goal when handling questions or comments from strangers, friends and even family is to protect my son from feeling devalued as an adoptee. I’m learning so much from EVERYONE who is sharing their stories, but do you know what the most powerful thing has been for me? Hearing from the adoptees.

In the 350+ comments on the original post, I realize that their insight can get lost and overlooked. I’m copying and pasting their comments here (in their original form — so I won’t be correcting any spelling or grammar!). I’m doing it because THIS IS VALUABLE STUFF.  I can’t write a post about what adoptees find hurtful and hard to hear because I’m not an adoptee — so I can only share with you what others have shared here for you to see.  In the triangle of birth mother, adoptee and adoptive parent, it is important that we listen to ALL the voices of those involved. Let’s seek to build one another up!

(Please note: I welcome open dialogue and varying viewpoints and won’t delete a comment if you choose to disagree with me or anyone else. I will delete comments that attack adoption or individuals. This is to be a SAFE PLACE for people to share their experiences.)


I am adopted (age 56). So are my 2 brothers and 1 sister. We ARE brothers and sisters. Blood doesn’t make you siblings…love does. And to top it off….I married a guy who was also adopted. And guess what…WE COULD GIVE A RATS ASS WHO GAVE BIRTH TO IS

The things adopted kids are asked too… don’t forget about us! I hate some of the things I have been asked. Its complicated, I don’t mind talking about how complicated it can be, but some people just say things so offensively.

I was adopted, and am an only child. I was always introduced as their daughter, not their adopted daughter.

I am an adopted child who has known my birth mother since I was 12 years old. People can say offensive and ignorant things to adoptees as well. I can’t count the times people have asked “your real mom?”. This question always stuns me because they are both my REAL mom. I always ask “do you mean my adoptive mom or my birth mom?”.

I was adopted from Vietnam and SO many people say “you don’t look Vietnamese”. Also, I’ve got “do you ever want to meet your real parents?” I’m pretty sure I know them well. They adopted me.

Hi, I’m 16 years old I was adopted when I was a year old. Many people (adults and kids) ask me why I was given up for adopted. They never directly ask “oh didn’t your mother love you?”. But that’s the thing I know my biological mother loved me, because my adoptive mother never failed to tell me how much I was loved. I come from El Salvador and of course times are tough, especially for a 16 year old expecting mother. I never met my biological father but my adoptive father is and will forever be my real father. Unlike most adoptive hispanic kids I had the privilege to be raised in a spanish speaking house.

An advice for any parents adopting or thinking about it, even if it’s a closed adoption tell your child they are adopted from the beginning, tell them the story of how excited you were to have them. And if they come from a different country please, please do your research and tell them about it. If it’s possible show them pictures of where they came from. And also encourage your child to learn their birth language.

This is SO good! One day… when I’m ready for kids ;-)…. I want to adopt! I’m also adopted and some of these points can be extended out to adopted children as well.

Some one once said to my adopted husband “it is so sad for adopted kids, they know their parents didn’t want them” He had no words, I on the other hand had several….we no longer see that person

This is a great article. Thanks. I haven’t adopted, but I am adopted and would offer this: When you cross paths with an adopted person, be equally sensitive with your comments. Do you know who your real parents (real brother/sister) are? (btw yes, I do. I’m just not genetically related to them). Don’t be angry, I’m sure your life is much better here! (btw I’m not. But how condescending do YOU sound). How lucky are you! (btw I am, but I have birth parents somewhere that I love and am grateful for as well). Are you nervous to have children, that you might have some sort of horrible genetic history that you don’t know about? (btw, no. I’m not. My kids are in God’s hands and all five of them are perfectly wonderful). I can’t believe you’d have five kids of your ‘own’ and not adopt. Shouldn’t you pay it forward a little? (btw, you’re a jerk).

I am adopted as well and I completely agree with you there. Also one thing blew my mind. Someone asked my mother if I was going to speak English or Romanian ( I am adopted from Romania, when I was a newborn might I add). As if you come out of the womb speaking whatever language your bio parents do. Another woman asked something else that my mother was horrified and very angry about; she asked if she was going to love me as much as her “real” kids when she has them. It took every ounce of strength in my mom’s body to not slap that lady. But instead she smiled and said she is my “real” child and I will love her just as much as my bio kids when I have them. A lot of it is ignorance but I really think if people just put some thought into what they were asking before they did, they would realize how wrong what they were about to say is. I am blessed to have been adopted and my family is blessed to have me. 

Being an adopted kid, it drives me crazy when some feel the need to point out so, and so’s adopted child __________. Adopted kids are just as much the adopted parents kids as their bio kids. So, unless it is important to the conversation, I don’t think it needs to be pointed out.

If some one refers to my “real parents” I get what their saying and don’t correct to PC adoption lingo. Its not one of my triggers so I just go with it. I myself use just mother mostly when speaking of my true mother. For myself its hard putting anything in front of her or my fathers name just seems disrespectful to me, she is my mother. So I don’t unless I need to. If I do its usually natural mother which still makes me twitch because adoption might be one of the most unnatural acts known to man. That being said people do make some really dumb, insensitive comments when it comes to adoption. As an adoptee my list is ever growing . I have heard many, some are hurtful triggers for me, some just make no sense. 
I get your lucky to be adopted a lot.
Yep it rocks losing your mother/family at birth. Do you tell children whose mothers died at birth how lucky they are too?
I also get You were chosen.
My parents were infertile and had tried for years to adopt, ANY healthy newborn would do not just myself. Truth is I was next infant in line and they had the check.
Do you know how much you cost?
Yes I do. I also know how much the dog cost too. Thanks for reminding me.
Do you know how much you were wanted?
They wanted their own. I would do though. Adoption is not most Apars first choice and its certainly not a newborns first choice…..
What a selfless sacrifice.
Takes on a whole new meaning when you ARE the sacrificed…..
Do your parents celebrate “Gotcha Day? 
When I was younger. Never quite understood if we were celebrating my loss or their gain. Fitting by definition though. Gotcha? gotツキcha (gch) interj. Used to indicate understanding or to signal the fact of having caught or defeated another. A game or endeavor in which one party seeks to catch another out, as in a mistake or lie….
We prayed for you to find us. 
Really? Who prays for a infant to lose its mother so they can parent.
We dreamed of adopting a newborn. 
Your dream is a newborns worse nightmare. We may learn to live without our mothers but at birth she our universe.
Bet your thankful, you weren’t aborted. 
Great I have to waste my brain cells dealing with some dunderhead telling me to be glad I wasn’t aborted. Do you tell all to be glad they weren’t or just those YOU happen to believe were unwanted. I don’t think I have ever told another human to be thankful they weren’t aborted. 
At church when my pastors young bio daughter died. I can not tell you how many people, most who know I am adopted, said “So sad. You know she was their only real child”
Yeah I know, so do ALL their other adopted children.

I was adopted…..I didn’t adopt, BUT, someone told my mom many years ago something beautiful which touched her, and I thought I would share: “To have a child is a choice from God. To adopt a child is a God-given choice.” I thought those words lovely. And, from MY perspective, (secret): I always felt extra special having been hand-picked.


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