I am an author, adoptee, and adoptee advocate who is downright passionate about sharing this good news with the entire adoption triad!


For adoptees, freedom from their painful, anger-ridden past.

For adoptive parents, freedom from their condemning selves.


Remember This When You’re Labeled Bastard or Illegitimate

I was adopted on planet earth by my parents, and I became a child of God at age 27, yet many influential Christians label me as illegitimate and a bastard child.

You find this hard to believe?

Let me share two instances here.

Shamed by Christians

Adoptee shame is believing something is wrong with me.  It’s something adoptees and foster kids hide at any cost, even with one another.

This first time I was shamed was  when a female Christian speaker spoke about “illegitimate and bastard children.”

My heart pounded, like a drum.

Every part of me became alert, like a smoke alarm just started ringing.

My throat felt blocked….I couldn’t swallow.

Was she referring to me?

Was I illegitimate and a bastard child?

Was my life a mistake?

With childlike innocence, I waited in line to ask if she believed those awful words were true of me.

If looks could have killed, I’d be dead.

Where was the love of Jesus she pontificated?

Jesus would have immediately embraced me, saying, “It’s okay sweetheart. They didn’t understand or welcome me either.” (John 1:11)

Using Scripture to Label

Another time, while listening to a Christian music station,  the preacher talked about illegitimate children in the context of Psalm 139.

Say what?

How could this be?

I just looked at the Psalm again. I can’t see those two awful words anywhere.

These experiences sunk deep into my adoptee shame, like water gushing into a sponge. In fact, I believe they were instrumental in a midlife breakdown.

So what is the answer for adoptees and foster kids of all ages?

What Adoptees and Foster Kids Must Do When Shamed

  • Remember, you’re in good company. Jesus was shamed to the utmost of the Cross.
  • Ask God to show you who you are in His eyes.
  • Memorize where your life began: Not at conception, not at birth, not on adoption day. Instead, your life began in the heart of God the Father. He loved you way back in eternity past…before the world began. And, when He created your life, He smiled.
  • Make a picture about this: “If you were the only person on the whole earth, Jesus would have come to earth and died for you so you could belong to Him.
  • Pinpoint the source of all forms of life. Did you know that not even a blade of grass or a little bird exists except by the power of God? Read John 1:3
  • Develop a strategy: When you are labeled as a bastard child or illegitimate, embed this in your mind: I AM GOD’S IDEA
  • Become an adoptee/foster kid warrior:  Pray like this: I am a blood-bought child of the Living God and Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
  • Develop boundaries. We need to get used to the fact that people will not understand adoption, nor have the skills to speak respectfully to us. When someone at church says, “Oh, we’re all adopted,” just smile and don’t get involved in conversation.

I love you, fellow adoptees and foster kids of all ages.

Contact me anytime if I can help, okay?

What To Do with Adoption Bullies
This is a photo of an adopted or foster teen that has just been taunted by a bully…you are illegitimate and a bastard child. How devastating for adopted and foster children. What can they do? Sherrie offers suggestions that will bring growth on every level of life.



4 responses to “Remember This When You’re Labeled Bastard or Illegitimate”

  1. Sherrie Eldridge, Adoption Author Avatar

    Love how you answer people on this topic, Paige!

  2. Paige Adams Strickland Avatar

    I haven’t had much of this experience directly, but when someone does make a weird or uneducated remark about adoption/adopted people around me, I just respond, “Well, I am adopted and I am doing just fine.” or “Hey, I can tell you all about being a bastard because I’m adopted!” They either look at you sideways and back away or they start to ask questions about what happened, and there’s my cue to enlighten. #educatingonenonadopteeatatime

  3. Sherrie Eldridge, Adoption Author Avatar

    Thank you for this important bit of knowledge, Reverend Weis!

  4. Rev. Anthony Weis Avatar
    Rev. Anthony Weis

    The 1917 code of canon law says that an illegitimate boy cannot become a priest. The reasons for this are many and complex. The fact is that the law of the church changed in 1983. In 1983 the term bastard (illegitimate son) was removed from the law and those men are eligible for the priesthood. Since 1983 there is no such thing as an illegitimate child. I know this doesn’t solve everything but it is important to know.

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