Triggers for the Adoptee

“You should be grateful you were adopted.”

Newsflash- we are grateful. BUT being grateful doesn’t mean forgetting. Just because I’m grateful for my adoptive parents and what they’ve done for me doesn’t mean that all the pain and things I’ve had to deal with just disappear. Believe me, I totally wish it worked like that. It’s unrealistic for people to expect adoptees to simply be grateful. For me, I don’t understand how in people’s minds having typical adoptee emotions equals ingratitude. I will never get that. Honestly, if someone could explain that logic to me, that’d be greatly appreciated. It’s just frustrating when you’re expressing these feelings of pain and grief to someone and they seem annoyed because “you should be grateful for your parents, they’re great parents.” YES my parents are great, (I know not everyone’s adoptive parents are) but no matter how great they are, doesn’t take away the emotional scarring. And I don’t know when having real feelings became the definition of ungrateful.


“Your mom’s not your real mom.”

WOAH WOAH WOAH. Pause right there. Care to explain to me what the definition of a “real” mom is? Because if you mean she’s not my biological mom, then you’re completely accurate. However, biological does not equal real. My adoptive mom is very much real. She is a living, breathing human being. True she did not give birth to me, but last I checked, giving birth is not the deciding factor on if you’re a mom or not. It’s kind of ignorant for people to say that to an adoptee. I mean, how are you supposed to respond to that? You really don’t… I know that my mom is my mom and she is as real as it gets. She provides me with everything I need and more, loves me unconditionally, and supports me in all that I do. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a mom to me. She didn’t need to go through pregnancy and birth to become a mom. She took an untraditional route to motherhood, but she embraced it and it really doesn’t matter what path you take to get to that point.


“Do you know anything about your family?”

This is a question that I probably get asked most frequently when the subject of me being adopted comes up. It isn’t so much of an offensive question as it just stirs up a lot of emotion for me most of the time. For me, this can be an extremely sensitive subject. I know that for some people, talking about their story can generally be an easier thing for them than others. There are times where I feel empowered and times where, well, I don’t. Some people really just know more about their biological families than others do and that can be a very difficult topic. It is extremely hard when you don’t know information about your family. I mean, they’re YOUR FAMILY for cryin’ out loud. It’s the unknown that can be the worst.


Medical Questions:

Along the same lines as the previous trigger, when you go to the doctors for something and to try to figure out what’s wrong they ask you about your family history, and you got nothing. There is nothing more frustrating especially because you are also trying to figure out what could be wrong along with remembering that you really don’t have any medical information on your biological family.

Ancestry Projects:

And right along with medical questions we have ancestry projects. These provoke the same kind of unknown frustration and stream of emotions.


Birthdays & Holidays:

Birthdays and holidays drive me nuts and they always have. I was never sure why I hated my birthday or why I always seemed slightly sad around holidays despite the fact that I love them. I realized only recently that it was because I felt that something was missing. Now I know that it was because I felt that my biological family should be there to celebrate these things with me, but they aren’t. But, realizing that now I hope I can move on from that.

These are just some of the things that for me have triggered a lot of emotion, but that doesnt mean it happens for every adoptee out there.

xo, Lauren


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