Why So Many Adoptees Are Angry

What you don't know about adoption can hurt them.

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This post is initially a response I wrote to a question asked about 'angry adoptees.' I have added to it some and I hope that by the end you will have empathy for them. Their pain is real and if you are an adoptive parent, you hold the cards to the narrative of your child's life.

The question was: "Why are there so many angry adoptees?"

I easily see both sides. The difference for me personally is that I couldn't stay there and still function. My upbringing was horrible like theirs. I was abused emotionally and physically and that's being mild (and at 15, they gave me back so I became a foster youth).


Fear — sometimes paranoid fear — was the state in which I lived my life. I had many of the symptoms the adoptees describe and some of them still show up in my life.

Some adoptees are forbidden to look for their birth parents.

This was my case and it is the case of many other adoptees. It is wrong on every level. If, as an adoptive parent, you fear your child finding or wanting to find their birth parents, I would dig deep and ask yourself why. These are your insecurities and it isn't fair to burden your child with them.


Imagine wondering who you are, why everyone who is supposed to love you hurts you so bad — or leaves you. It doesn't go away. But it can heal. Listening to other adoptees, I learned a lot, actually. A lot of what I wasn't seeing, a different point of view, and a better understanding of things I couldn't make sense of.

RELATED: What It Really Feels Like To Be Adopted

But as I learned, I had to process and heal. I think that's the difference, whether or not we stay there. As adoptive parents, you too, need to process and heal your own stuff. And for the record, we all have stuff.

We are adopted. We will always stay adopted.

That won't change, but how we handle it can. Everything has a meaning and that is the meaning we give to it. I understand my AP's had issues. I now know what they were. It was their unresolved issues that got dumped on me.


They didn't know any better. Does it make it ok? Not in the slightest but I had to realize that old saying, "Hanging onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

I was dying inside. I realized they had no idea what damage they did and the only one I could change was me and how I decided to live the rest of my life.


Unfortunately, I too dumped my baggage onto my own (biological) kids. It wasn't to the degree that was done to me, but enough that I had some serious back peddling to do. So it's all a cycle unless we decide enough is enough.

I personally would never begrudge anyone for having it "better than me".

Apparently, some adoptees get annoyed at other adoptees who had a good life. That is not a debate I'm willing to have but I will say this — it's not their fault one way or the other. (Besides, what good is blame anyway?)

Bottom line is this, I had to choose which environment I decided to stay in and one of them was killing me.

Underneath all the adoptees' horror stories, I believe is the fear of other adoptees going through what they went through. I do too when I hear the comments from some adoptive parents. They are appalling and it is them that will perpetuate the adoptee horror stories.


It's like we have a crystal ball and can predict the outcome.

It is them keeping the fire in some adoptees alive. Their unwillingness to listen to what they don't want to hear and protecting their self-interests at the cost of the adoptee.

Have you ever done something against the advice of others [with experience] and had a consequence you didn't like? Maybe because you thought you knew better or you were sure it wouldn't happen to you? Or perhaps you just don't like being told what to do — you want to forge your own path?

And at the end of it, you wished you would have listened to avoid the unnecessary stress pain and regret?

You know, that old saying, "I wish I knew then what I know now..."


Yeah, that. This is a life we're talking about. Adoptees are not an object to practice on or with and they aren't an experiment.

RELATED: 9 Brutal Things Moms Who Gave Kids Up For Adoption Wish You Knew

Hearing what adoptees are saying and listening to the underlying meaning is helpful to everyone involved.

I don't see their anger as much as I see and feel the hurt they endured. Because I lived it too.

What they don't understand is that there is a lifelong price they will pay for ignorance.



These kids grow up. The adoption stories you hear are from adult adoptees. Your kids will remember and they will tell anyone who will listen for the same reason it's happening now. To protect the life of other adoptees.

The proof is laid out in front of the adoptive parents, told by adoptees. What happens though, when things go bad is the kid gets blamed for bad genes or behavior issues when the reality it is most often a result of selfish ignorance.

When you're open with your kids and they have the freedom to be the person they are with no agenda laid on them, that's a great start. And as long as their behavior doesn't trigger something in you as an AP, you're doing great.

Acknowledging if and when you react to those feelings that are triggered as being an issue within yourself is a huge milestone and a tremendous learning opportunity for the child.


It shows them among other things, you are understanding and compassionate toward their needs and you accept them no matter what. This is exactly what adoptees need.

And of course, leave the door wide open for any exploration they may want to do.

Understanding it is not the right of the adoptive parent to decide if this happens. This is the right of the child and to be withheld this right is an injustice. It is a false imprisonment into a life which the child did not have a choice.


It happens because of the selfishness and lack of empathy from some AP's.

Let me be clear about something.

There are some freaking amazing AP's out there and they are the ones forging the positive changes in the adoption narrative. They listen to adoptees, they do their own personal work to heal their fears and insecurities, and they aren't scared to hear the hard truths.

By understanding your feelings is what a good adoptive parent should do so that you can do your very best to be supportive and helpful to your children.

I am choosing to help APs understand this and help them work through their issues because I advocate for the children. And if you're an AP who cares enough about your adopted child you will listen to and apply what adoptees say so that your children's lives are easier.


And if your children's lives are easier — that means yours is too.

RELATED: What It Was Like To Reunite With The Daughter I Gave Up For Adoption

Suzanne Jones owns a one person adoption coaching firm and works with adoptive parents. She gives them the tools and skills necessary to parent the adopted child. If raising a happy healthy whole adopted child, and family is a priority for you, your next step is to connect with her and have a conversation about working together.