13 Things I Wish My Adopted Parents Had Told Me (That Would've Changed My Life)

Oh, the suffering I could have avoided if I had only known these things.

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As an adoptee, we know that deep inside we are different. Even as a child and being told we were adopted, it doesn’t ease the indifference because we can’t define it.

We don’t know what "being adopted" really means. The primal wound that is a part of us, alludes to us so we go on feeling like something must be wrong with "me."

All we do know is that something doesn't fit. Somehow, while we belong to this family, we feel like outsiders looking in. 


You know that feeling when you peer in a window and then someone appears from nowhere on the other side of the glass and startles you?

That’s kind of what it feels like. The glass is thick creating a barrier, there is a glare on the glass and suddenly you see eyes staring back at you. 

The person on the other side is familiar yet not so much that you feel comfortable going (and staying) inside. And the glare on the glass is how we go through life.

We see things as a bit tainted, but we don’t know why.

We don’t feel safe and as life goes on living behind a wall wearing tainted glasses, our deepest feelings of un-belonging become center stage in our lives. The people that are supposed to love us feel threatened and isolate us.


We don’t fit in and they help us feel that way.

Because they don’t understand us.

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Here are 13 things I would have loved my adoptive parents to have told me :

1. "I love you, no matter what."

Unconditional love for your kids should be a given.

2. "Your feelings matter."

A child needs to hear this, especially from a parent who has trouble being emotionally present for their kids.


3. "Who you are is enough."

Knowing this helps a child accept herself in the face of potential isolation as she navigates the frenetic social world of K-12 school.

RELATED: 7 Things To Say To Your Kids So They Become Strong, Empowered Adults

4. "I hear you and I am trying my best to understand."

Just knowing that someone is making an effort to see things from his point of view can ease a child's potential anxiety.

5. "You are unique — as is everyone — embrace it."

Encouragement to like and love oneself can set up a child for a lifetime of confidence and self-esteem.

6. "Your story is important."

This can help a child become mindful of the unseen "narration" that takes place throughout their lives and help them focus on the experiences that should be remembered.


RELATED: The Simplest Way To Raise A Nice Human Being

7. "You are important."

This should go without saying, but verbalizing it to a child externalizes a parent's internal driving force — the well-being of their kids. 

8. "Your voice matters — use it."

Letting her know that she is encouraged to speak her mind can prepare her for a lifetime of important conversations.

9. "It's OK to have an opinion."

Sometimes kids need to be reminded that they are free to form their own perspectives about events, things, and people.

RELATED: 10 Best Parenting Tips For Raising Intelligent, Curious Kids

10. "I accept you."

Another externalization of an internal feeling most parents experience without thinking about it. It reminds him that just because a parent calls him out for leaving his wet towel on the bathroom floor, it doesn't mean he's a bad person.


11. "When someone treats you badly, it's not about you."

This is a complex concept to grasp, but it's important for kids to learn early that internal and external forces influence how others act, and sometimes that's not pleasant to witness.

12. "You make a difference in my life."

This is most effective when coupled with an example. For example, let them know that their interest in horses has sparked a similar interest for you.

RELATED: 10 Things Every Rational Couple Should Do Before They Have Kids


13. "You are worthy."

Oh, yes. Yes, they are.

While that list seems extensive, it really doesn’t take much at all. The only real thing it takes is being emotionally stable. When you are emotionally stable, you are not mired in your own childhood wounds and triggered to react to your insecurities.

That is when you are able to feel the compassion and have the understanding that is required to raise happy, healthy, and whole adopted kids — or any kids for that matter.

RELATED: The 39 Best Ways To Make Kids Feel Loved, According To 39 Parenting Experts

Suzanne Jones, NLP, is a parenting coach and mentor who works with prospective adoptive couples with unresolved issues surrounding their childhood that will cloud their ability to parent.