Why Some Adoptees Are Angry and Others Aren’t

Say What? You're Not Angry?

Imagine a five-year old whose parents were wiped out in a car wreck. She’s just attended their funeral and then witnessed their coffins lowered six feet into the ground.

If you were to strike up a conversation with this child as her aunt takes her hand and leads her to the car, what do you believe the child would say?

Would she throw a fit and resist your appearance and voice, or would she compliantly go to the car, with a fake smile?

Just like the little girl, we adoptees either resist those we are placed with, or comply with their expectations in order to avoid further rejection.

Those Who Struggle with Anger/Depression

The majority of adoptees I know struggle with anger/depression issues. I like to use the word “misplaced” because I believe most adoptee anger is misplaced.

It’s primarily against the first mom for going on in life without us, but since she’s not present in at least the parenting role, that anger targets the mom that is nearby, the mom who is parenting.

Those in this category have no trouble acknowledging the anger challenges of being adopted. This includes me, who until the past year couldn’t understand why I emitted anger from my presence, like a leaky car pipe.

Those Who Live A Life of Flashy Denial

But then, there are those adoptees and foster kids and parents who live a life of flashy denial.

Whenever I write about adoptee anger, they come out of the woodwork. They believe it their duty to tell me they’ve never been angry…especially at their moms. After all, their love is flawless.

When they hear about other adoptees getting into deep straits with anger or depression, they thank God Almighty that they’re not like that.

Frankly, I want to erase their messages.

I’ve met many denial freaks like this in the past. As time passes, new tides come in and suddenly adoption is a salient issue.

For those adoptees who admit their neediness, along with me, there is something we can do to move forward toward healing.

I believe the ugly thoughts that come from such brokenness must be validated. This will increase self-awareness and enable us to eventually grow up.

First, consider the adoptee’s or foster child’s relationship with the adoptive mother. These poor moms want nothing more than to be that haven of love for their children who experienced pre-placement trauma, or for some difficult reason, have been removed from their original home.

I think out of every person involved in adoption, the adoptive and foster moms are the individuals I admire the most.

Oh, I know we’re to not have favorites, but I can’t help myself.

They’re in a war they never chose, in a place they don’t belong, and in an ocean that is life-defying.

Suppose her child says, “You’re such a loser, mom. Why should I ever listen to you?”

First, this mom can see through her child’s eyes and understand what her statement really means. “My daughter is trying to tell me that she thinks about herself as a loser. It is really self-hatred.”

Then, she can anchor herself with truth-soaked affirmations:

  • God loves me dearly.
  • He has every day of my life planned, including this one.
  • He is here with me in the messiness of helping my child heal.
  • God has called me to parent this child.

Last, she would be willing to reflect the adoptee thought back, “I hear that you see me as a loser mom. I think being a loser mom entitles me to love you, right?”

So, the adoptee hears and is validated.

Then, I would encourage the mom to say, “And, even though it hurts to be a loser mom, I will always love you.”

Parents, I realize you’ve not been taught to do this, but I believe it is essential for your child’s development, for emotional intelligence.

I wish my mom would have given me this kind of truth.

I love you all and am cheering you on.

When I never kept curfews and kept mom waiting up for hours, I wish she would have told me how exhausted she was.

Tell me your response to this post? What do you agree with, disagree with?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments

  • I am also an adoptee who was never angry. Or so I still believe. I am angry now because I learned more about my neglect and realizing the life long effect it’s having on me – but i’m not angry at the bio parents. They were kids. I’m angry at the circumstances. I’m angry at the lack of knowledge and help that I should have had. My sis and bro are angry people, they are adopted. My son hates ME, he is adopted. But I understand why and just try to work through it with him. It is possible to be in a place where you understand enough of your past and the people that you can forgive or not be angry at them for choices they made that affected you. Not everyone can be painted with the same brush. But do I believe a lot of adoptees are in denial? Absolutely. We’re told to be grateful, that we were chosen, blah blah blah. Never mind the fact that we were first thrown away. Adoption is trauma. Some come through better than others, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is trauma that will always affect you in some way.

  • I agree that there are angry adoptees, and they have a right to their feelings. The part I disagree with is that anyone who is not angry is in denial. I’ve even gone to therapists who specialize in adoption issues to ask them why I don’t feel angry, and both of their responses were because I’m not. I can’t pretend to be something I’m not just because others think I should feel that way. I acknowledge everyone’s rights and thoughts to their feelings and experiences. We’re all different and unique and all I ask is that all adoptees be respected for how they truly feel. I love a lot of what you write, Sherrie, but please respect that not all of us feel the same way about adoption and relinquishment in our personal circumstances. You are an amazing writer, by the way!

  • Sherrie, I have difficulty honoring the adoptive parents because of their lies. I followed Nancy Parkhill’s advice and wrote each individual’s name on an egg and threw them one at a time as far as I could. It expiated some of the anger.

  • I was honestly always mad at my circumstances not so much the human beings. My understanding was that both of my bio parents ended up in a situation they could never control, so they had no good choice. It turned out to be pretty much true. My birth mother had health problems that were not her fault. ( She didn’t take good care of herself as an independent adult, which was her own doing, but as a teenager when my adoption happened, it was never her fault. Birth father could have taken more initiative but back in the day, men did not many rights. He had no one to help him.

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