Being adopted is a pretty big deal. It may not seem that way to a lot of people, but that's exactly part of the problem. People think being adopted is just something that happened in the past and that once we've been reassured that we're just as important as everyone else in the family, we're fine. But they don't understand because its not that simple. Being adopted is actually kinda complicated.
For one, we know we should feel really grateful to our parents and family, and we are, but at the same time we still feel different, like we don't fit in. We may be told regularly that we're loved and that all the parents involved (birth and adoptive) did everything they could do to give us a good life, but does that change the fact that we were still given up for adoption or that we're living a different life, and with different people, than the one we were biologically meant to? Nope, that's still an obvious reality to those of us that can relate.
Secondly, we're constantly reminded of this through the big and little things in our day. From how differently we may look from our parents and siblings, to the fact that our personalities and interests/talents may not blend with our family's ...We may be more of the "artsy" type while our family members are athletic. We may be much bigger or taller or have totally different facial features. We may have been adopted later than babyhood and have memories and experiences we can't share or relate with others. We may wonder about our roots and identities and feel a sense of emptiness or loneliness that no one understands. Even at school everyone knows their parents, but we have a different story. We might not even know our full story... who our birth parents are, where they are, if they've simply moved on and are living life without us. We may wonder if their circumstances changed or if they miss us? Other people don't wonder about these things. Our siblings don't and neither do our parents.
Thirdly, we may feel lost, angry, and mistrustful. We may feel abandoned or rejected. We may even be confused by our feelings and experience guilt because we know that ultimately our parents really are pretty Ok people overall. But we still feel everything we do, we just don't talk about it. We may be resentful and feel we're unfairly treated at home. We may long for our mom's, the ones who gave birth to us, and want to connect with them. We may feel like the only link we have to them is to be like them, at least the way we imagine them to be, the way we think we're destined to be. We may crave a new identity and wonder what we'd be like if we were raised by our birth parents. No amount of reassurance that we're better off makes us feel better about this necessarily.
Some of us may try to heal the emptiness and wounds we carry with love from other partners, sex, or drugs. We may rebel against our families because deep down we don't feel that we really belong among them anyway or fear that they may inevitably reject us. And yet on the outside, because everyone sees that we have such a nice family, people just expect that all our feelings are supposed to go away. They think we're supposed to just put our adoption in the past and be happy and grateful.
And yet, if you're reading this page, it probably means that some part of you, maybe a little, maybe a lot, hasn't moved on. And that's important. The unanswered questions, the unanswered hurt, that still counts. Even though it may feel like practically no one can understand how you feel inside, when you come talk with us, you'll know that we do. We get it and we care.
So whether you're a younger or older adopted child, no matter your age or how many questions you have, or whether you're the parents of someone you care about, give us a call because at GoVa Counseling we really do care and we know that adoption isn't a small issue. We understand and no matter how you feel, we're here for you.