The process of adoption used to be so secretive back in the day. It was either something parents were open to discussing or ignored until their child became an adult. Whether the reason was that they were embarrassed or that they were afraid their child would not view them as their "real" parents, the decision was their own.
The Adoption Network states that over 135,000 children are adopted in the United States every year, making 150-million adopted children in the US to date. Now, whether a parent wants to disclose their child's adoption to them or not is entirely up to them, but it's never been easier in 2018. With the amount of child's books, cartoons, and drawings depicted for children to understand adoption easier, it shouldn't have to be the black sheep in every home. Instead, it should be celebrated; especially if a child is adopted into a loving home that raised a successful human.
Sometimes children are told from the start that they are adopted and sometimes they find out accidentally. Heck, some people don't even find out until they're well into their adult years. However they found out, these 20 individuals shared their positive and negative experiences with their adoption.
20 'They Chose Me'
I can't imagine how confusing it must be to a child when they find out their parents aren't their real birth parents. However, being told you're special and that's why you were chosen by a loving family is a beautiful start to finding out.
"My parents told me I was adopted when I was really little, probably around when I was 8 years old. I didn't exactly know what it meant but they told me that they chose me because I was special to them," they told Reddit. "As soon as I found out, I walked around school telling my friends and other kids that I was 'The Chosen One.'"
19 'I've Always Known'
Maybe the best way to tell your child their adopted is never keep it from them. After all, why hide such a positive experience of bringing a beautiful child into a loving home?
"I've always known. Even before I was able to comprehend that I was adopted, my parents would always tell me that my birth parents loved me so much that they wanted a better life for and that's why I was adopted, by two people who wanted me and would love me unconditionally"
18 'My Family Is My Family'
I feel like a lot of TV shows or movies have kids or young adults finding out their adopted in the most dramatic way possible. But as this Reddit post explains, it doesn't need to be such a dark and deep tale. And if it does turn dark (i.e. parents waiting to tell their children), it can get ugly quick.
"I always knew I was adopted even before I really understood what that meant. To this day I just know my family as my family. Nothing weird about it. My cousin, on the other hand, was adopted and they lied to him. Never told him until he was about 14 and he really lost it then. Still resents them."
17 'Why Was I Adopted?'
There's an amazing child's book called Why Was I Adopted? by Carole Livingston. It's essentially a parent's simple tool to introducing the concept of adoption to their child. And it's a book that was read to this Reddit poster, which is how they found out they were adopted.
"My mom would read 'Why Was I Adopted?' a lot as I grew up. It's a really good book. I've never felt resentful to my parents," they said.
At the age of 18, they did try to find their birth parents and after finding their birth mother's mailing address, they sent a letter and waited for a response. "...She responded with a letter saying that she didn't want to meet me. That's the point at which I felt betrayed." I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
16 The Answer Is In The Argument
Being told you're adopted should be done in a pretty safe and open way. The concept can be quite confusing and the last thing a parent wants is for their child to resent them. And unfortunately for this Redditor, they found out in the midst of an argument.
"My mom told me I was adopted when I was 5 because she was mad at my dad and told me I didn't have to listen to him anymore. Yay narcissism. My parents divorced soon after. My biological dad's mom started taking me for a couple weeks every summer and I was close to her before she went into a home."
15 The 28-Year Lie
I think it's safe to say that a child should be told they're adopted early on in life. This way, they won't feel like their parents have been lying to them for years on end. But that's not what happened for this next adoptee.
"I was 28 when my parents finally told me. I don't think they ever planned on telling me, but the province where I was born was about to release old adoption records, and they didn't want me to find out by having someone show up at my door claiming to be my mother."
14 When Your Dad Isn't Really Your Bio Dad
It's one thing when a person finds out they were adopted by two people, but what happens when a child finds out they were only adopted by one of their parents?
"The man she knew of as her 'dad' was actually a man her mom met while pregnant. He adopted her, raised her as his own, and they never told her that he wasn't her dad. As far as she was concerned she was a 'daddy's girl' and admired him so much."
So how did she find out? "When she was 20, her mom died. Before the body was even cold her 'dad' told her she wasn't biologically his, he just did whatever he thought necessary to be with her mom (aka: playing daddy of the year) because he loved her mom so much and knew she'd never be with someone who didn't love her kid as their own." To make matters even MORE gut-wrenching, her "dad" didn't feel the need to be a "dad" anymore now that his wife had died; meaning she lost two parents around the same time.
13 The Classic Facebook Poke
Do you remember in the early 2000s when everyone was obsessed with Facebook poking? For whatever reason, Facebook had an option on its site where users could "poke" other users; it's essentially a way to wave at a Facebook friend and remind them that you're thinking of them. While that is pretty creepy in its own right, imagine what it's like to get a random Facebook request from someone claiming to be your family...
"I found out when I was 21 when my birth family found me on Facebook."
12 Be Careful Who You Meet At The Club...
This next story is a HUGE reminder that you could be related to anyone. With so many secret adoptions family ties, you could be right next to a first cousin or a half sibling and not even know it.
"I'm not adopted but my best friend is. His mom told him in his early 20's when he started going to nightclubs and meeting girls and what not. He was in the same area that they had adopted him from and his mom was worried that he might accidentally 'meet' his sister."
11 Boozy Thoughts Are Usually True
"When I was 8, my parents left me with my grandma who had been drinking... after a few hours all I remember is her asking me 'How would you feel if you were adopted?'" As if that wouldn't shake an 8-year-old to their core, they went home that night and told their mom what drunk grandma had told them...
"My mom picked me up and I told her what my grandma kept saying and my mom was like 'Well, how would you feel?' and I was like "I don't know, I guess it would be weird?" and she was like "Well, you were adopted" and my life changed a lot from that moment on."
10 The Rumor Mill
It's one thing to find out you were adopted by your parents, but it's another thing entirely to find out you were adopted through the rumor mill at school.
"I was 13 when my parents told me. There were rumors going around school that I was adopted and I asked my mom about it. She blew it off and said it was just kids being dumb. Then it happened again and she said the same thing. But that day or a couple of days later, my parents sat me down and told me," they said to Reddit. "They said they would've preferred for me to never know."
9 Being Adopted At A Later Age
It's not every day we hear stories about people being adopted past infancy, but this is one story of a person being adopted at age 11. "I was adopted at the age of 11, so I was quite aware of what was going on. I was in a shelter home (fancy speak for the orphanage) for six months at about a year (which I don't remember) and then from 6 years to 11 years," they told Reddit.
The (now) adult mentions that they have some contact with their biological father, but few memories from their biological mother. Their birth parents were too addicted to a bad lifestyle to be suitable parents, which is why the ended up in the foster system but thankfully adopted by a loving family.
8 Party Of Five
Some parents go the adoption route because they can't have children their own. But this is one family who was able to do both.
"I was adopted, told so at 8 years of age. There are five kids in all, while I am the middle kid (in age) I was the first child my parents had, so I was named after my adopted father. They later adopted my two older brothers, then had my two younger siblings who are their natural children."
After turning 21, they received a letter in the mail from their birth mother with reasons why they were put up for adoption. However, instead of diving into a puddle of emotions, they burned the letter. "I have a loving family and had a happy, stable upbringing. My parents are my parents and I couldn't have designed a better family to be a part of."
7 When You're The Only Child For A Reason
I think most young kids ask their parents for a brother or sister. Having a sibling means always having a playdate; a partner in crime. For this Redditor's father, though, they found out they were adopted after asking for a baby sibling and being told they couldn't have children of their own.
"He said it never affected him because his parents always said it was a closed adoption, they didn't know anything about his birth mother. His parents made it sound like he was one of those babies found on the church's doorstep or something."
6 A Full Day's Worth Conversation
Being told you're adopted must leave a boatload of unanswered questions and emotions. Some parents don't have the answers or simply don't want to give the answers, but this Reddit parent gave all the answers they had.
"My mother told me when I was 8. Spent the day explaining and answering all the questions I had. Gave me a letter from my birth mother I suspect she was not allowed to do. Over Xmas last year told me my birth mother's full name which she is definitely not supposed to do. She's my Mum. I love the [expletive] out of her. I also understand my birth mother's reasons. It's all good in this hood."
5 Summer Camp Secrets
Can you imagine other people knowing you were adopted before you did?!
"My sister and I were at summer camp when our friend told us. We both thought she was joking, but I guess she was serious because later that day my sister asked my mom. After denying it several times, she finally admitted that, yes, we were in fact adopted. We were both very shocked." Being told this bombshell affected this person's ability to trust, but that didn't take away her love for her adopted family.
4 When Your Sister Is Actually Your Mom
There are so many plotlines of a woman having a baby too young, and instead of her raising the baby herself, her mother takes the reigns and claims the child as her own. Meaning they tell people that the child's biological mother is actually her sister... Got all that?
"I know a girl who found out she was adopted when she was 17. She was upset but not about being adopted; she was upset because her mean and just generally [expletive] oldest sister was actually her mom." Unsurprisingly, this fact messed her up and created a rift in the family. But over time, she learned to love her family regardless.
3 Out Of The Blue
"My adopted parents just told me one day after school. I don't know what prompted them to tell me but they did. As to why I didn't care much, I honestly don't know. I love them very much and they have always been there for me. I just figured that freaking out about such a thing wouldn't matter much."
I feel like when kids (or teens) find out they're adopted, they feel like they're "supposed" to get emotional. But if you're not overcome with emotion, grief, or loss...then why try to feel a certain way?
2 Love Sees No Color
The beauty of adoption is that love sees no color. Most families want a healthy baby, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Living in the US, there are plenty of children from different countries who are adopted; and it makes no difference to them or the families who adopted them.
"My neighbor was adopted. He found out he was adopted when he realized he was Asian and his parents were white. I was there when it happened and I laughed so hard. He was totally fine with it. We were also like 6 years old."
1 When You Just Don't Care
I feel like it's a parent's dream when they tell their child they're adopted and their child doesn't really care. Regardless of who birthed them, they're being loved and taken care of by a family who genuinely cares.
"My mom told me I was adopted when I was about 10, I think. Didn't really care then, don't really care now. My parents have given me an awesome childhood and upbringing, astronomically better than the life I would have with my birth mother/father (they were teenagers when they had me). I still want to meet them someday, but I'm in no rush, and I don't hold anything against them for giving me up, it was the right thing to do in their situation."
References: Tickld, Reddit, Adoption Network