How to Cope with Being Adopted

Three Methods:Coping with Finding OutUnderstanding Your AdoptionSolidifying Your Identity

Are you adopted into another family and feel as if you don't know how to cope? Maybe you only want the people whom you really trust to know that you're adopted or maybe you just think that you are only one in the world that has gone through what you have.

Method 1
Coping with Finding Out

This section deals with just finding out that you were adopted.

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    Recognize that your adoptive parent(s) do love you. They wouldn't have gone through the difficult adoption process if they didn't think you were worth it. Family is not defined by birth, but by love and shared experiences.
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    Talk to someone about your feelings. You may want to open up to your adoptive parent(s), a mentor (e.g. a beloved teacher, relative, or clergy member), or a friend. They can help you let it all out and process the shock.
    • Initially you may experience a number of intense or confusing feelings. This depends on the person. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
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    Give yourself time. It's normal to feel many different ways, whether you're grateful, confused, or angry. Negative feelings are natural, and they are not forever. Many adults who were adopted as children have made peace with it.

Method 2
Understanding Your Adoption

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    Read about adoption. Websites and books are available about the adoption process, and you can read the stories of people who were adopted.
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    Recognize that your birth parent(s) probably did love you. There was nothing deficient about you then, and there is nothing deficient about you now. Giving you up for adoption might have been the best thing they could have done for you.
    • Maybe your mother was a busy college student who didn't have time to give a baby the love and care you deserved without dropping out of school. So she gave you a better life with a different loving family.
    • Or your birth family was broken and dangerous for a child, so your parents decided you deserved a better chance at a safe family life.
    • Or you were left with a disabled father who didn't feel he could properly care for you, so he wanted you to be with a family that could.
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    Recognize that being adopted means you were very, very wanted: by your adoptive parent(s). The adoption process is not fast or easy. You were so lovable and wanted that they felt it was worth it.
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    Consider asking about your birth parent(s). Some people want to know, and others don't care much. If you want to know, explain how you feel. If you're worried about your adoptive parent(s)' feelings, reassure them that you still consider them your real parents.
    • Ask your adoptive parent(s) what they know. They may or may not have met your birth parent(s), or have records on file. At minimum, adoption agencies will have wanted your parents' medical history so that you would know if various illnesses run in your family.
    • Ask the adoption agency, but don't get your hopes up. Many agencies have privacy policies that will not give you information about your parent(s)' without their consent.
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    Ask your adoptive parent(s) to tell you the story of your adoption. You can hear for yourself the reasons why you were wanted, and everything they went through for the end goal of holding you in their arms.

Method 3
Solidifying Your Identity

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    Consider whether you want to tell people. Adoption doesn't have to be a big deal, and you may or may not want to mention it to your friends.
    • If you want to tell a few close people, explain to them whether it's a big deal to you, and whether you want everyone to know or not.
    • If you want to tell someone but don't know how then try and tell them somewhere else or in a different way. Try and tell them through a letter, text message or an e-mail. If that doesn't work then you could try and ask them for a day out and tell them that you have a really big secret that is for their ears only and that they aren't to tell anyone.
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    Think about how much you love your adoptive family, and how much you are loved. Your knowledge regarding them may have changed, but their love for you is still the same.
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    Recognize the ways in which you take after your adoptive family. Personality is part genetic and part environmental. Perhaps you learned your father's patience, or your mother's passion for science. Maybe your older sister's hard work in school inspired you in your devotion to the arts. They are still part of you.
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    Look through scrapbooks of your family memories. These are still part of you. Even if you aren't genetically related to your adoptive family, the love and memories are real.

Article Info

Categories: Adoption | Family Life