All About Adoptees

By Nicole Hatton

Do you ever wonder what adoption is like for the adoptee? There are numerous factors that influence an individual’s adoption experience. Each person embarks on their own unique journey. Additionally, each adoptee will have different personal relationships with their adoptive family and biological parents. There are also different backgrounds and situations that contribute to the decision to come to adoption. These could include an unplanned pregnancy, teen pregnancy, or the birth mother is not in a good position to parent. Whatever the case is, choosing adoption is a loving decision and can impact the child in tremendous ways. Keep reading to learn more about emotional challenges, understanding cultures, and family dynamics.

Who Are Adoptees?

Adoptees are anyone who is adopted into another family apart from their biological family. Through the legal adoption process, they belong to a different family. Adoptees can actually be any age, even adults! Adoptees can also be adopted from other countries and go through the international adoption process. Furthermore, adoptees can also come from a step-parent adoption in which they legally adopt their spouse’s child. When adoptees are older in age, they are often adopted through a foster care system. When it comes to adult adoptions, it can be done to establish legal inheritance rights. Overall, adoptees are legally considered the children of their adoptive parents. 

Emotional Challenges That Adoptees Face

Everyone goes through their own adoption journey and may experience similar and different emotions during the adoption process. One aspect of adoption that may affect adoptees is learning more about their identity and culture. If the birth mother did not choose open adoption, then the adoptee would not have anyone to ask for answers. This can contribute to a feeling of detachment or loss from being disconnected from their biological family. Feelings of grief can come through at different stages in the adoptee’s life, including adolescence and adulthood. Emotions can also influence their relationships with others as they can develop attachment and trust issues. Potentially, going through adoption under different circumstances could also affect the adoptee’s self-esteem and worth. However, just because these emotions are valid and present in some adoptees, that does not mean that all adoptees share them. In fact, many adoptees may be too busy with other life events to pay as much attention to the details of their adoption story. Many adoptees are happy where they are and don’t think of their adoptive parents as any less real. 

Support and Coping Strategies For Adoptees

Adoptees can receive more adoption info or work with local adoption agencies to help cope. There are numerous adoption agencies in Colorado that can connect birth mothers and peers to adoption specialists. Additionally, adoptees can sort out their emotions by going to therapy and other support groups. If they had an open adoption, having some open communication can also be beneficial for the birth parents and child to reconnect. Having honesty and trust from the beginning can lessen feelings of pain.

Understanding and Embracing Cultures

Another aspect of being an adoptee is learning about culture. While some adoptees have a connection with their birth parents through open adoption, others have to learn on their own. Adoptees can start by asking questions to their adoptive parents if they know anything or have any records. Outside of asking those whom you have personal connections with, there are many different resources online and through libraries. Additionally, you can attend different cultural events such as festivals, workshops, and other community events. Some of these events may hold cultural conversations where you can lead discussions on certain topics you’re interested in. If you are able to, you can also travel to the homeland if possible and possibly even meet extended family. Another thing that adoptees can do is to adopt similar habits. This can include learning the language if coming from another place, cooking traditional foods, and exploring art and music. 

Different Family Dynamics Adoptees Can Be A Part Of

Family dynamics are strongly influenced by a combination of factors such as the adoptive family’s structure, level of openness, and more. One kind of family dynamic is nuclear, in which the adoptive parents have no other biological children. However, if the adoptive family already has biological children, then the new adoptee would be a part of a blended family. This type of dynamic involves integrating the new adoptee into their customs of living, which could be difficult at times. There are also transracial or transcultural family dynamics in which the adoptee is of a different cultural background than the adoptive parents. However, each family experience is unique, and adoptive families are diverse.

Extra Resources and Empowering Your Adoption Decision

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to local adoption agencies such as Adoption Choices of Colorado. Keep in mind that “giving your baby up for adoption” is not giving up on yourself or your baby. Adoption is a big decision and shows that you are considerate for having your child’s best interests at heart.

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