Adoption can be difficult for both adoptive and biological parents. The same is true for adult adoptees, especially those who have reached out and haven’t had successful reunion experiences. If you’re an adult adoptee and you feel hurt, betrayed, or depressed, there are ways to move forward and find happiness and contentment in your life, despite the choices of others.
You may be angry because your biological parents placed you with an adoptive family, or because you wanted your biological parents to parent you instead of letting another family do it. You may feel lost or alone because your past is a mystery and you don’t know your or your family’s history. No matter your personal adoption experience, you can emotionally heal and move forward.
Forgive: This may be the hardest part of this process. Forgiving someone who is unapologetic, harsh, uncaring, or has not been given the opportunity to make amends can seem nearly impossible. But it’s not. And it’s the only way to move forward with your own life. During your journey, remember that everyone has the right and ability to make his/her own decisions. While many people make bad, hurtful decisions, it’s still their choice–just as you have that ability.
Counseling: Visiting with a professional counselor can help you put your experiences into perspective. It can give you a safe place to talk about your feelings, struggles, and hopes. When it comes to finding the right counselor, it’s ok to switch if you’re not comfortable; you’ll have the best results with someone you can trust. Counseling is a great option for those needing one-on-one discussions or attention.
Support Group: If you prefer to be in a group setting, joining and actively participating in a support group can be a fantastic resource. You’ll find others who have been where you are now. You’ll get support and have the opportunity to support others. And sometimes helping others can really help you, too.
Redefine Yourself: Remember that you are not your situation. You are not someone’s choice. You are you. You have the ability and opportunity to redefine yourself. Choose who you would like to be and then start that journey. It may not be easy, but it provides you with a way to find happiness and peace.
Moving forward after a lifetime of despair, hatred, or anger can be difficult. Even so, it’s possible to become a better person in spite of the situation in which you were placed. Moving forward as an adult adoptee is a choice. It’s a journey. It won’t happen overnight, but if you keep moving forward–even one step at a time–you’ll eventually reach your end goal of happiness and confidence in who you’ve become.