People find out that they’re adopted in different ways. Today most people find out when they’re young, and grow up knowing how their family was formed. Others find out when they’re older, or find out accidentally. However you find out, you might have mixed emotions about being adopted.
When you find out you’re adopted, you may feel many things…angry, stressed, anxious, surprised, confused, curious, excited, sad, isolated, embarrassed to tell others, ashamed, or worried. It’s okay to have conflicting emotions about your birth and adoptive parents. Everyone will have their own individual response.
Some people have an instant desire to find out more about their biological parents, where others may not. You may feel worried that if you find your biological parents, your adoptive parents will feel hurt or offended.
If your adoption was revealed to you later in life, you could feel angry towards your adoptive parents. You may wonder “Why didn’t they tell me earlier?” If so, find a time when you are feeling calm to ask your adoptive parents. By talking through the circumstances, and letting your adoptive parents know how you are feeling, it might help resolve your concerns. In most circumstances, your adoptive parents probably felt they were protecting you and acting in your best interests.
It might take some time, but it can be helpful to find a trusted person – a family member, friend, counselor, or spiritual leader – to talk to about it all. You might also want to talk to other people who were adopted. You can even join a local or online support group.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.