The Unwanted Adversarial Relationship

How One Adoptee Got Triggered

Specific present-day circumstances can trigger my profound wound of losing Elizabeth, my first Mom. What I’m about to share is personal and I’m asking that you’ll read with mercy and grace. I hope this post will be helpful to both adoptive parents and fellow adoptees who struggle with abandonment and rejection issues. Perhaps, for these, the flow of painful memories might be uncontrollable. And, these painful memories become triggers that cause a meltdown or shut down.

While vacationing in Florida, my husband, adult daughter, and I stopped at a sketchy CVS for a pit stop. I was the one in need, so the other two said they’d wait in the car. “I’ll be right back, ” I said while rushing off. I ran in, did my business and rushed out to the car, expecting to resume our  journey of errands together. But, she I returned, there was no one there. My heart raced as I visually surveyed the parking lot. Maybe I was looking in the wrong car for them? Maybe they’d decided to resume errands and would come back to pick me up? So, I stood alone on the porch of CVS and waited. I started holding my breath. Maybe I should look in our rental car again? I did. It was empty. I felt numb from head to foot. I didn’t see my options. I could have texted, but I didn’t have my phone. Even if I had, the thought wouldn’t enter my mind.  Then, one more entrance into CVS. It would be safer there than standing outside.

Suddenly, my husband peeked at me from an aisle cap. His smile was downright irritating. He smiled, which really ticked me off. Why would he be smiling at such a distressing moment? Then, I screamed, “ Where were you? I thought you forgot about me!”  Both husband and daughter called out: ”I will never forget about you,” as they rushed to my side for an embrace. Needless to say, I was emotionally absent after this, even though we made a stop at TJs and Homegoods. Later, I asked how they perceived the event. My husband said that I appeared angry. Perhaps so, but I didn’t feel angry.  I felt abandoned, forgotten, and left behind.  It’s taken me weeks to process this. At the time, I couldn’t remember anything.

This is living proof that my adoption is a lifelong journey. Healing from my past doesn’t mean that the slate of past memories will be wiped clean. Instead, it means that I can walk through present day triggers and not be emotionally devastated. I can also see life through restored lenses, which is pure joy.

Types of Adoptee Triggers

So, for the parents reading this, here is what triggered me. Because adoptees are unique, everyone’s triggers will conform to the trauma they’ve endured. 

  1. Strange Places

Healing from my past doesn’t mean that the slate of memories will be wiped clean. Instead, it means that I can walk past present day triggers and not be emotionally devastated. This is a common trigger for adopted kids of all ages. New school, geographical move, new homeroom.

  1.  DNA Expectations

As a newborn, my DNA was wired to expect that my first Mom would be happy to see my face. I was looking forward to nursing at her breasts. Most people, adopted or not, find this relationship with the mother to be foundational for life. We were created to have biological mothers.

  1. Sudden Absence of Loved One

Newborn Sherrie’s biological mom gave orders that she didn’t want to see my face or know my sex. Thus, she was whisked away, never to be contacted for 47 years. She disappeared, just like my husband and daughter did on the Florida vacation.

  1. No Way to Find Loved One

On the Florida vacation, I couldn’t find my husband and daughter, no matter how hard I seemingly tried. After my birth, my brain and body began to search for my first Mom. It took 47 years to find her, but I did.

What Parents Can Do

  1. Don’t try to fix your kids when they’re experiencing a trigger. You can’t. Be respectfully quiet and listen.
  2. Don’t touch. We’re in so much pain when we get triggered that we’ll push you away.
  3. Regulate yourself.
  4. Continually practice self-care.
  5. Read: THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE–Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel Vanderkolk, M.D. (Order here:

Identifying With Fellow Adoptee Anne With An “E”

Being an adopted person is quite an adventure. Just ask Anne of Green Gables, or Anne with An E and her adoptive parents. I have been meaning to write a blog post about them for months. Whenever I have spare time, I slip away and watch the main character, Anne, authentically played by Amybeth McNutty, live life as an adoptee with her adoptive parents. There are many similarities between Anne and myself. Anne’s past was painful because her parents died prematurely and she was placed in a horrible orphanage, where she was teased and abused. Fortunately, she was adopted nine years later.

Most adoptive parents will identify with the challenges of raising an adopted child. The mother and father were brother and sister and childless. They made typical mistakes, but their challenges were magnified because of no backstory, no parental training or education, and no awareness that parenting an adopted child is taxing, to say the least. Anne really got on their nerves in the beginning, with her hyper-excitement and boldness in relationships.

I was much like Anne today. Much to my husband’s dismay, I bought a beautiful flowering plant with vivid red blossoms. There were already nice spring plants on our porch, but this one would be a show stopper. When I carried it through the front door from the car, my emotions were sky high. I felt like I was floating. I said to husband, “This is going to be so beautiful on our porch! I have wanted a plant like this all my life.” Did you catch the enthusiasm? Did you see what was seemingly exaggeration? Let it be known that I wasn’t exaggerating. I was revealing my true heart. Whenever anyone gifts me or whenever I’m appreciated for who I am, I am so full of joy that it seems I must burst. Yes, this is because I am a child of trauma, but yes, this is who I am as adopted person. Perhaps the level of my emotion correlates with the depth of my painful past? So, my husband, who’s had 55 years living with an adopted person, gently said, “Well, I’m glad you got what you’ve always wanted.” He loves me for who I am.

Characteristics of Anne of Green Gables

I’m going to provide some characteristics of Anne and perhaps adoptive parents can use as talking points to draw children in.

  1. Large Fantasy Life: Anne was able to dream dreams like crazy. She envisioned her outdoor hut in the woods where she and her friends would congregate. Also, when she found her adoptive mom’s wedding veil tucked neatly in a drawer, she quickly removed it and put it on her head, dreaming that someday she would be a bride. This is characteristic for children of trauma-it’s the way they can live in the present without thinking about the painful past. But, in the long run, this fantasy life, with work, can transform into a rare imagination that is sometimes manifested in art and writing. A resource for you is my children’s book FOREVER FINGERPRINTS: AN AMAZING DISCOVERY FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN. Find it at my author page:
  2. Highly Excitable: Whatever Anne said, usually had an exclamation point after it. That’s where I identify with her! Exclaiming that my new plant on the porch fulfilled my dream of a lifetime was rather exaggerated. Sometimes, certain relatives make fun of me, I guess because they consider me a drama queen. But, I’m not. It’s just how I was wired from eternity past. Just call me “Sherrie with an S!”
  3. Advocate for the Hurting. Anne would go to any length to make sure the truth was told or that the hurting one got helped. She felt this was her calling in life. This is so me. For example, when the emergency crew came with blinking lights to our neighbor across the street, every single neighbor stood on their porches and watched. Quickly, I ran to their driveway to ask if I could help. I then reported to the watching neighbors what I’d been told.
  4. Insecure with Friendships: After Anne was adopted, the kids at school treated her like a wild card, mocking her gorgeous red hair. In the midst of this, she and another lovely young girl became friends. But, Anne had to make sure they were friends by drawing blood from a poke and mixing together. In her mind, that would assure her that she wouldn’t be abandoned by this friend, like she was by her parents when she was placed in the orphanage. On a personal note, I usually feel friendless. My husband corrects me by saying, “But you have so many friends.” But, I often wonder if feeling lonely is common for fellow adoptees.
  5. Loved Everyone, Including Those on the Fringes. She was loving to all people, even those that might seem scary or ugly to others. I remember when she met a salesman on the way to her hut in the woods. It didn’t matter that his gray beard almost covered his face, that his clothes were disheveled, or that he had everything from pain killers to tarot cards in his his backpack. Anne talked with him respectfully and and used your money to buy a heart-shaped pin. Of course her parents about had a cow when they found out.
  6. Deep Desire to Find First Family: The majority of adoptees I know want to know the truth about why they were placed for adoption. That’s because of shame: “Was I too small, did I cry too much? Was I too ugly? Did my parents really die before I was adopted?” How I identified with Anne as she combed through dusty records to find clues and how deeply disappointed she was when a seemingly open door closed in her face. When I was searching, I went to the hospital where I was born and asked the secretary for medical records. She refused: “Do we have an adoptee here?” For years I battled, even hiring a lawyer who found that she had no right to do this. Yes, state laws sealed my original birth certificate, but not my medical files. This experience makes me wonder in the back of my mind if there was something really awful about my late first mother and I. After I get done writing another book, I may revisit this. Agree?

So, remember friends, when you text or see me next, call me “Sherrie with an E!”

Dissolving Adoptee Resistance

Now, onto suggestions for dissolving adoptee resistance or rejection about watching the TV series together:

  1. Share your excitement first-and gently: “I’ve been watching Anne of Green Gables for a few weeks and I love it because Anne was adopted.”
  2. Let time pass. Adoptees are super sensitive when people aren’t authentic. This will build a wall instead of an open door.
  3. Share Why: “I love watching Anne of Green Gables because she reminds me in many ways of you.” If child asks why, share one of the characteristic of Anne from the above list.
  4. Ask: Perhaps something like this: “When Anne of Green Gables thought about her first family, I thought about you. Do you ever think about them?” Of course, your child will say an adamant no. This the secret of many adoptees. Part of our fantasy life is about finding our first family who lives in a castle in a faraway land. (For illustration of this, check out the main character of my children’s book: FOREVER FINGERPRINTS: AN AMAZING DISCOVERY FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN.) The art in this book is remarkable and you could use it to show how Anne might feel). Another excellent children’s book for this is FRANKIES CORNER, by Pam Kroskie and Marcie Kealthy.
  5. Signal Okayness: “I’m so glad that your first parent’s made you. They’re a part of who you are. If it were me, I’d think about them lots. I’d wonder if they look like me, sound like me, and move around like me. It’s okay to think about them often. I hope you do.
  6. Resources: Anne with An E DVD Series:
  7. Resource: Netflix Anne with An E.

I Wish My Adoptive Mom Wouldn't Blab About My Adoption Without Asking Me

The Unexpected Variables of Adoptive Parenting

Mothering an adopted child may be the greatest life challenge you’ll ever face, or should I say the greatest dance you’ll ever dance? Your child may be a newborn, a toddler, a teen, or an adult. No matter your child’s age or stage, you’re convinced that homecoming day will be epic. You’ve already determined what your first dance step will be–love. Fierce love, like that of a mama bear protecting her cubs.Now, envision the dynamics of your child’s adoption as a large wooden dance floor, waxed and buffed to perfection. Some adoption dynamics you’ll know prior to homecoming day, and others you’ll learn later when you comprehend that adoption is a lifelong journey, filled with twists and turns.

Retha, my Mom through adoption, knew many dynamics prior to my homecoming. It would be a closed, private adoption, facilitated by her mother-in-law, Leah, who was the matron of the county Children’s Home, (aka) orphanage. It was here that bruised and broken children, teens, and adults found respite during life’s storms. It would be here also, that I would be prepared for my life’s work with those touched by adoption. Every night, Leah served up a hearty dinner around her huge dining room table and how I loved the unspoken camaraderie with the children who’d also lost family.

Leah knew that Retha and son Mike would be outstanding parents. Retha was a beautiful woman, with dark shiny hair and a winsome smile. Every area of her life–whether studying to become the valedictorian of her college’s class or teaching elementary school children- she exuded rare self-confidence. When she and Mike fell in love, they dreamed of having children well into their forties. Unfortunately, infertility won. And, because they lived during the age of romanticism, even Leah didn’t recognize the resulting secret sorrows they’d carry and the profound need to grieve before adopting.

On August 4, 1945, after delivery, my First Mother, Elizabeth, was whisked off without knowledge of my gender or seeing my face. I believe she did this to save her marriage because her husband, away in the War, wasn’t her baby’s father. I was placed in an incubator for ten days, with little human touch, and was named “Baby X.” I cried long and hard for human touch, but no one came. I gave up and went within. As a result, I refused to eat and nurses listed my condition as “failure-to-thrive.” Retha was a trooper, though, especially when she learned of my suffering. Even though I was extremely small and would need ten days in an incubator before homecoming, she pressed on like any good mom does when her kids are hurting. When Leah came to get me from the hospital, she paid the bill in full–$55.97. Then, she drove the tree-lined street to Retha and Mike’s modest bungalow, where they waited with great anticipation. When Leah carried all five pounds of me into my parent’s modest bungalow, they came running, for this was the day that their dreams would come true. When Leah handed me to Mike, his hands shook, like he was holding a delicate piece of fine china and then he said, “She’s so tiny. I can hold her in the palm of one hand.” Mike recounted this memory until his dying day and whenever he told it, a sense of belonging took root in my adoptee heart.

When Mike handed me to Retha, I arched my tiny back and screamed bloody murder. Whenever a baby arches like this, it means she’s in extreme pain. This was my “cry print” to Retha. Just like a fingerprint notarizes a unique identity, cry prints communicate personal needs. My cry print was, “I lost my mama. Where is she? I’m going to die without her.”

Who can even imagine how Retha felt? Perhaps, like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on her? She must have shaken in shock, like we all do when something unfathomable happens. It would be easy for her to read rejection into my screams. “Maybe my baby doesn’t like me, or maybe I’m not suited to be this baby’s Mom. If I were, Sherrie would have snuggled into my welcoming arms immediately.” Perhaps, Retha could have put me back into my grandmother’s arms and spoken comforting words, like, “I know you miss your First Mother. I am sad about that, too. But, I’m here for you now and I’ll never, ever, leave you. I will love you forever.”

How Can Adoptive Moms and Kids Heal?

What Adoptees & Moms Need for Healing

What is it, my friends, that tips the scale, reminding us that we need healing, not only from the losses inherent in adoption, but also from the obsession to control? For me, the tipping of the scale somewhat repeated the complex and painful dynamics of relinquishment, but in current-day life.

We can be sailing along and believe all is well, all the while ignoring unhealed pain. For sure, Retha carried unhealed pain, both from infertility and from living in a warzone that I created in the home. For me, the tipping of the scale somewhat repeated those complex and painful dynamics of relinquishment, but in current-day life.

It’s not difficult to figure out why many adoptees are control freaks. After all, from the beginning of our lives here on planet earth everything has seemed out of control. We lost our first moms and dads, were placed into a new home which we didn’t think was too peachy at first, and were labeled as “different” by societal norms.We’ve fought to have our voices heard and our original birth records legally released. And, maybe if we found that long-lost first Mother, we could reverse the “out of control” feeling and erase our adoptedness for good? But, even that didn’t work, at least for me. And, for Moms, like Retha, the need for control came when she couldn’t control her child’s rage or when she was tempted to parent from fear.

How would Retha have known that she needed healing? And, how would I have known? We were both like the frog in the water. The water was pleasant, but we had no idea that it would build to a boil.

If we take this question about our willingness to heal from a physical standpoint, how do we know that something needs healing? Basically, it’s pain. For example, years ago, when my knees began popping out of joint at unexpected and unwelcome times, I couldn’t move. Literally! So, in order to deal with the painful problem, I sought wisdom from experts. The first thing they did was to get an MRI of the knee. So, under the huge xray machine I went, trying not to freak out. Then, they gave steroid shots, but they weren’t effective because my joints were bone-on-bone. The last resort was knee replacement surgery. Just the thought of it terrified me and I hadn’t even seen the YOUtube video showing the surgeon breaking the kneecap with a hammer. Twice, I backed out of surgery. Finally, I went under the knife. What made me willing to have surgery was this–it’s better to suffer from productive pain than destructive pain. I could go on wearing braces on my knee and hobbling around, or I could get a new knee. Today, I am more fit than I’ve ever been, thanks to my new knees.

A Heart MRI Reveals Hidden Pain

So, how do adoptive Moms and kids know that they need healing? Through an MRI of their hearts. Because many adoptive Moms and adopted kids repress deep pain, they’re exhausted and lose their joy. No one tells them that this unrecognized pain is still active, creating emotions and beliefs that sometimes prompt shocking reactions to life events. These reactions are like a geyser boiling beneath, ready to erupt at unforetold times. Because many adoptive Moms and adopted kids repress this pain, they’re exhausted and lose their joy. Empathy drains and parenting becomes a dreaded responsibility. Adoptees may believe that there’s no hope of getting over their rage–it feels like a life sentence.

Pain showed up on my doorstep in a present-day situation I didn’t want. I prayed to get out of it, but the heat only escalated and I said, “God, this isn’t funny.”  Circumstances only closed in and I felt as if I’d been painted into a corner. Trapped and nowhere to go.

The discomfort became so intense that I would have done anything to get out of the pressing circumstances. What was happening was that….oh, no…I was being asked to give up control of things and people in my life that were key players. Key players that were hurting me.

Personally, I thought I was a pretty decent person, but one day at church, I got hurt-really hurt. Someone I’d previously respected, revealed my 20-year-old shame from my crisis pregnancy to his family. It was like he shined a floodlight on something I’d been trying to forget. It hurt to the core. That hurt got lodged in my heart, like a blood sucker. Whenever I was in his presence, that memory would surface. This was a deep hurt that I certainly didn’t deserve. I wanted to put on my boxing gloves and give this person a strong upper cut.

I was in a present-day situation I didn’t want. I prayed to get out of it, but the heat only escalated and I said, “God, this isn’t funny.”  Circumstances only closed in and I felt as if I’d been painted into a corner. Trapped and nowhere to go. The discomfort became so intense that I would have done anything to get out of the pressing circumstances. What was happening was that….oh, no…I was being asked to give up control of things and people in my life that were key players. Key players that were hurting me.

And, the only way I could get out of the painted corner was to forgive the people I hated for the hurts I didn’t deserve. I needed to see “the ugly” inside my adoptee heart, and if there were such a thing as a MRI for the Adopted Heart, mine would show toxic anger, hate, and bitterness. My soul was sick and in need of healing, even though I’d been a Jesus follower for 40 years. 

Flowers Can Bloom Amidst Pricks of Adoptee Rejection

Adoptees Can Grow Amidst Birth Family Rejection

Rejection.  Just the sound of the word sends chills up my spine! 

Rejection is the dark side of the search and reunion process. The agonizing side. The side that is rarely, if ever, gets talked about, the side media never covers. 

It is also part of our adoptee “rite of passage” into a healthier, more fulfilling life. So, don’t despair, my friends, if you are experiencing this right now. You will get through it.

How many of us are rejected? Statistics, like most aspects of adoption, are sadly non-existent, but many claim that only a minority of adoptees are rejected by a birth relative at reunion. During the years I have been researching and talking with other adoptees, however, I have found rejection to be rampant and common. 

Why do birth relatives reject some of us? Does our physical appearance remind our birth mothers of our fathers, whom they have no positive feelings for? Does seeing us trigger issues in them that they have never dealt with? Are they emotionally and mentally unbalanced? Or are they just downright mean? 

What does it mean to be rejected and how does it feel? Webster’s gives us a good start on understanding its basic message. “Refusing to have, take, or act upon. To refuse to accept a person. To rebuff. To throw away or discard as useless or unsatisfactory. To cast out or eject. Something rejected as an imperfect article.”1 

Ron Nydam, Ph.D., gives a vivid illustration from a client’s encounter with his birth mother. She told her son: “If you want answers, see a psychiatrist; if you want a companion, get a dog.”2 

I will never forget when I was reeling from my birth mother’s rejection. While attending my first American Adoption Congress, a man at one of the book tables asked me to tell him my story. I got to the part where I was going to say, “All I wanted was for her to say the words ‘I love you,’” and I lost it. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It really hurts, doesn’t it?” I knew by the tone of his voice that this wasn’t some platitude—it came from his heart. This dear man took me into the lobby of the hotel and told me how he had experienced the same rejection from his birth mother years ago. Still, after all that time, he wept. 

Karen says that her birth mother rejected her “right out of the gate.” She didn’t even give Karen the dignity of getting to know her first before making up her mind. Karen was her dirty secret and she couldn’t stand the thought of others knowing. She told her that her mother (Karen’s grandmother) would also reject her. 

As Karen reflects on the rejection, she says, “She didn’t just reject me—she wanted nothing to do with my son, her own grandson! When I found her, my son wasn’t even one year old, a beautiful baby. How could she reject him? The only time I met her she reviewed pictures I had brought of him with detachment and terse comments.” 

When birth siblings learn that a parent conceived an unknown child, their reaction may be to reject us as well. 

Laurie’s birth half-sister found it difficult to speak with her since she was told that Laurie was her half-sister. Laurie, like Karen, was her birth mother’s secret. Laurie has tried to make contact, but her birth mother wants nothing to do with her. She is hoping that one day she will speak to her, or that at least she will eventually develop a relationship with her half-sister. 

Richard Curtis says, “Even though I have not been overtly rejected by birth relatives, I have the feeling that I’m being ignored or at least overlooked by family members who just don’t know what to do with me. Both of my birth parents were deceased when I finally conducted my search and so my ‘reunions’ have been with siblings and cousins. That being the case, after the initial shock and curiosity of discovering a secret birth relative, most members of both families have relegated me to receiving a card at Christmas or an occasional e-mail. At first I tried to take the initiative and keep in contact, especially with my siblings; but I’ve gotten little response.” 

Okay, that’s enough. We know the realities of rejection. Let’s not stay there unless we are currently experiencing it. Then, fellow adoptee hurt words are validating. But for the rest of us, let’s move on, okay?

If we’ve received hostile responses from birth relatives, how do we usually react? 


Isolation and rejection partner to silence us. We are frozen in fear and don’t want another soul to know our experience. We feel we have been branded for life. 

We do need isolation from the rejecting birth relatives, but not from fellow adoptees who have had similar experiences. In their company we can find a good kind of isolation, where we experience protection, comfort, strength, validation, and healing. 

As I personally became aware of this fear of being forgotten and shared it with the adoptees in my support group, eyes welled with tears and you could have heard a pin drop. I thought about it a lot in the days to come. Aren’t we as rejected adoptees a little like prisoners of war? Aren’t we missing in action in many ways? 

While studying the subject of being forgotten, I saw a poster-sized reproduction of a U.S. commemorative stamp. Two words grabbed my attention—NEVER FORGOTTEN. The poster depicted an army dog tag on a chain, inscribed with the words, “MIA and POW—NEVER FORGOTTEN.” 

My sweet husband purchased a gold ID bracelet with a chain like a dog tag. On one side I had the jeweler inscribe “Baby X.” On the other side were the words “Never forgotten.” 


Again, here is it so helpful for us to take a deep breath and think about the psychological dynamic of projection. All the rejecting person can see is themselves. So, when they are saying rotten things about us, what are they really doing? They’re telling us how they feel about themselves. How freeing this is!

Let’s take some examples:

  • “I can tell you are in therapy.” (I need to be in therapy.)
  • “I knew I couldn’t trust you.” (I can’t trust myself.)
  • “You are a secret in the family.” (I have a secret I’ve kept from my family.)
  • “You remind me of your rapist birth father.” (I can’t get my rapist out of my mind.)
  • “You aren’t important to me.” (I am not important.)
  • “You are disposable.” (I am disposable.)


Of all the things I’ve learned lately about our adoptee journey, the concept of the adoptee’s rite of passage is the most exciting. Listen to this story and then we’ll draw parallels to our own experiences. 

I am reminded of a story about a young American Indian man who was about to go through “the rite of passage into manhood.” Prior to this event, he was prepared to defend himself in every way. On the day of the rite, he was blindfolded and led, gun in hand, into a dark forest and left alone overnight. The blindfold remained all night. 

During the night, whenever the wind blew a leaf or an animal scurried through the underbrush, he was sure it was a wild animal seeking to devour him. He was terrified. When morning dawned he removed his blindfold and saw a path leading off to his right. He thought he saw someone at the end of the path. As he contemplated the figure, he realized that it was his father, aimed and ready to shoot anything or anyone that would hurt his son.13 


There is always an end to the dark night of our experience. Many of us might have believed that we’ll always be in the darkness and shame of rejection. Like our anger issues, we may easily believe:

  • “There must be something wrong with me or he/she wouldn’t reject me. This is shame.”

 I bet you anything, my friend, after you’ve done all your searching and reunion “work,” that you’ll find it’s not about you. It’s about the dysfunction of the person who rejected you. 

  • “Something I did or said, ‘made’ him/her/them reject me.’
      We don’t have that kind of power! No one does. We all make choices. The rejecting person’s choice was totally his/hers.
  • “I’ll never get over this hurt.”

There’s our black and white thinking. We will always have memories of the hurt, but the shame, the stinging shame, will fade in time. I promise you. Like the Indian teen, there will come a day when the sun rises and you realize you were never alone…that’s why we need one another. Those fellow-adoptee friendships are vital!


I believe as a fellow adoptee friend to you that I can speak frankly, more so than anyone else. Okay, here we go!

We Need to Get Over Ourselves

Yes, we need to quit throwing pity parties, focusing on past hurts, licking our wounds and accept a “new template” for our future life.

Rejection does NOT define us, friends.

We are amazing people. We have survived pre-adoption trauma that’s unbelievable. We are survivors…now we need to step into that role with confidence.

Think back to the Cherokee teen. Of course, there are many sounds, movements around him, darkness and all kinds of scary stuff. But, he trusted in his inner strength, already built into him through his training by his dad, that he would come through night…strong!

That’s you, friend.

Stand strong. Stand tall. You are amazing.


We can reject our rejection and not let it define us.


  • Journal, journal, journal. Journaling provides a place for you to pour out your innermost thoughts and feelings.
  • Describe your “adoptee rite of passage.” Where are you in the process? Draw a timeline.
  • Check out this online group: We are there for you and there is no reason for isolation.
  • Get a momento, like my ID bracelet, to remind you of the day you rejected the rejection(s).

The biggest “take away” for this chapter is—don’t do it alone! If you don’t know fellow-adoptee friends, contact me. I know adoptees from all over the world that support one another through this “rite of passage.”

(This is chapter 18 from 20 LIFE-TRANSFORMING CHOICES ADOPTEES MUST MAKE, Copyright)