gallery Dear Adoption, I Just Want to be Heard



Dear Adoption, I Just Want to be Heard

I think. Sometimes, I pray. I talk myself into it.

This is always the lead up to me beginning a conversation, hitting send on an email, or clicking post/share on social media.

The topic: Adoption.

And then, inevitably, with unwavering consistency, the pushback begins.

Argh. Why?


Why can I not share freely without someone interjecting their feelings about my feelings.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions; on politics, education, parenting, etc. But we aren’t entitled to an opinion on how another person should or should not feel about their own experience.

Okay, Adoption (adoptive parents, adoptive families, non adoptees), allow me to give you a small sampling of what I’m talking about…

When I talk about something I am grieving because of adoption, you say:

      “But look at all you have!”

      “Those things weren’t meant for you.”

      “This is better.”

When I say I’m unsure if adoption has been and is ethical, you say:

      “Well, we did the best we could.”

      “No one else was going to adopt you.”

      “Would you rather be living in that orphanage?”

      “You would have died if we didn’t adopt you.”

When I wonder about my first family and my culture, you say:

      “We did the best we could.”

      “God chose a different family for you.”

      “Why aren’t we enough?”

      “What’s wrong with us?”

      “We tried to help you grieve. You were always allowed to grieve.”

      “Remember who was there for you. We were.”

      “Would you rather be with people who didn’t want you than with us?”

      “You sound really ungrateful.”

Every conversation played out above has actually occurred in my life and there are many, many more.

Since I have the floor, this is what I want to say without any pushback:

I’m not ungrateful. 

I’m not crazy for wondering about my first family.

I’m not dishonoring my adoptive family by grieving or desiring the things I am       missing.

No one knows where I would be had I not been adopted. No one knows if I’d be dead, alive, thriving, suffering, healthy, ill, poor, wealthy, happy or unhappy.

My experience as an adoptee is personal to me and no one else should tell me how to feel (not even other adoptees, but especially not non adoptees).

I should be able to talk about adoption without adoptive parents, adoptive families, and non adoptees becoming defensive.

My need to explore my heritage isn’t connected to whether my adoptive family was good or bad. It’s a natural need.

I can be happy with the life I’ve been given and mourn the life that was taken away.

I can decide if I’m okay with adoption or not. Just because adoption was a part of my life doesn’t mean I have to be on board with it. I get to decide.

I just want to be heard without being judged and accused of ingratitude and looked down upon.

Can you hear me? Can you stop and just listen?

I just want to be heard.

This piece was submitted anonymously by a South Korean adoptee who is just beginning to search for her first family. She recently submitted her DNA and is hopeful about finding connections she’s never had. She also hopes that, in sharing this, more families will listen to their adopted children.


  1. I love the summary of “Yes, buts….” As adoptees, by definition we live the reality of “both and” while trying to navigate a society that still operates out of an “either or” mindset. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Thank you! I feel the same way. I am tired of the buts – of the be grateful you aren’t in a ricefield – you weren’t’ abortion. People feel like that they need to tell my about their experiences of adoption or people that they know – to make adoption more palatable all while dismissing the feelings of the adoptee.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dear Adoptee, I hear you. Very well written, have adoptive parents as friends. And I have been through the adoption process to adopt a child, for personal reason I did not go through it. Good luck to you, your thoughts and feelings do count.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. My husband and his twin were adopted at six weeks at 50 he found their mother, they connected and it didn’t alter how he or they were with the adoptive family, it just delivered a piece of his missing. You are heard. 😇

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I hear you.

    I just realized while walking in the woods the other day that I feel sad about my loss of raising my son and I feel grateful that he was taken care of. It may seem so simple to others but my feelings were lost in a forest of shame and guilt plastered over by platitudes.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I gave my child up for adoption 27 years ago and wonder about him everyday. My dream is he someday look for me but I did what I had to do at the time and have no expectation that he could ever understand or even want to know. it is a tricky subject. I have two friends who are adopted one found her biological family the other never wants to know. my heart goes out to you -I hope you find what you seek.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. My sister and I are both adoptees from different families. how we and each adoptee deals with everything especially the emotions is how they need to deal with it. my sister and i dealt differently.
    We send strength and understanding to all who go through this.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I am not a person who has ever had to deal with any of those issues, but I can understand them. I would like to say that even a person who is not adopted would as a child have “what if” scenarios…what if I was born to a richer set of parents, what if I was born in a different country, etc…there are millions of people who are not adopted who send their DNA off to get it checked to investigate their roots and they are people who have come from natural parents who have lived in the same country for generations. I don’t think that anyone should look down on a person for looking into roots, or wondering about the state of their life, and how it came to be that way… whether adopted or not…these are all very natural and human feelings…part of wanting to know who we are and how we fit into the world we live in. I applaud that you are able to voice these feelings, and sincerely hope you are able to find the answers you are seeking!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Coming from a family obsessed with culture and heritage, I think all adopted people should atleast be given the chance to explore their heritage. Internal feelings can not me talked away. Goodluck with your search and I hope you find peace in your heart

    Liked by 4 people

  10. This is so touching, her grieve and curiosity so obvious. I’d often wondered how adopted persons feel when they discover they were adopted…I guess this write up appease my curiosity somewhat. I always suspected in my gut, some would wonder what sort of lives they would ‘ve had with their biological parents…what path they would have chosen. It seems the adopters always have to work extra hard to measure up in the eye adopted. Sadly an innocent comment may be constantly be misconstrued even if one’s biological parent might have done or said worse in that very same situation.
    Although I empathize with the writer, can’t say I know how she feels. But then, the adopted should also always consider the sacrifices, love and understanding shown to them by people that adopted them. It may not be enough but at least they tried…not everyone can raise another person’s child, albeit a stranger’s.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m assuming from the picture on this blog post that your birth family were Korean. I think, if you haven’t been there already, that you would find South Korea a very welcoming country and that people there will be interested in your story.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I’m so glad you spoke your piece and I hope you continue to do so. You are absolutely right in everything you say. I’m sorry those around you didn’t know how to respond. You are paving a path for others and that’s really important. Stay true to yourself.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Thank you for voicing this. My sister was adopted in the early 1960’s from South Korea. It was a dysfunctional screwed up family yet had magic moments. My sister and I pursued separate lives and paths for the last 20 years but she found peace, happiness and self-confidence in the life she built with her husband, her career and her daughter.
    I on the other hand, was “adopted” into a single-mom with three sons family sixteen years ago. And we not only survived – with bumps and bruises but thrived.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. I really appreciate this insight into your struggle. I have 9 kids through adoption and recognize there’s a lot of fairy tale thinking when it comes to this subject. I hope answers find their way to you. Blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s