Barriers of Being an Adoptee

This week I am writing with my niece Kristen. She has dealt with many obstacles in her young life. She was adopted at birth, and was very close to her adoptive mom; who died from cancer in 2013. She continuously battles issues of attachment, abandonment, and grief. Kristen understands this is part of who she is and will have to work on these issues throughout her life. In her adoptive family she is an only child. Below Kristen shares her travels to Oregon to meet her biological mom and spend time with her biological father and siblings. 

“Flying has always been a big fear of mine, however, my most recent trip made me fear the destination even more than the travel.  I am an adoptee from the state of Oregon, living in Pennsylvania.  At the age of sixteen I met my biological father for the first time. I absolutely adore him and all the siblings he has blessed me with.  

Now, at the age of nineteen, I had the opportunity to meet my biological mother.  Throughout my life I have heard many stories about her being incarcerated.  This allowed me to enter the circumstance with lowered expectations.  When I arrived in Oregon, she seemed welcoming and happy.  However, as I saw her each day she showed her true colors, and she began to steal from my biological father and I.  My lowered expectations definitely protected me.  Another form of protection was my bond with my biological father.  We are both very similar in personalities and he helped me face her after she stole from us.  He allowed me to express my true feelings and told me that I am one of few people in the universe that he trusts.  I have never been told that before and it gave me more value to my life and helped boost my confidence, which I definitely needed.  With him by my side we took her home and I did not see her for the remainder of my trip.  

Although she gave birth to me, I do not respect her as a mother and do not want her to be a big part of my life.  Many daughters look up to their mothers for support and as a role model.  I look up to my biological and adoptive father.  They are the best role models I could ever ask for.”

As teens enter adult years (Erikson Stages of Development :13-21 Identity vs. Role Confusion) (6/1/2018, https://www.psychologynoteshq.com/erikerikson/), they begin to explore who they are as a person outside of the familial walls. When a child is adopted, it can lead to confusion of where to connect identity. Kristen has been searching to connect with who she is as a person. The separation from her biological family left her feeling in need to attach herself with the people she feels bonded to on a deeper level. When I asked her “do you feel more at peace after being with your biological family, she states “I felt comfortable after meeting my biological mom and my bond with my biological father has grown stronger.” 

As Kristen’s aunt it is hard to see her struggle with acceptance in life. I know this will shape her into an incredible adult, but for now my job is to support her journey. 

If you are adopted and would like to explore issues related to your adoption, please contact me.