Adoption Anger

A piece I wrote for Adoption Voices Magazine struck a raw nerve last week with some readers.

Perhaps I should have expected that a piece called “No Angry Adoptees Here” would elicit a response from those adoptees who are angry. Maybe I should have even expected that their response to my piece would be angry and even insulting.

I was angry in the past–not with a venomous and insulting anger–but still, anger is anger. I worked hard to deal with my anger and I found my way to the other side. I don’t expect everyone else associated with adoption to be in the same place as I am; I accept that there are hurt and angry people out there and my heart aches for them.

Have you ever been in the presence of a quiet and calm individual who had something important to say? Did you find yourself quieting and listening intently to their words?

Conversely, have you ever been in the presence of an individual ranting and raving in an attempt to make a point? Was the rant effective in winning you to their perspective or did you find yourself tuning out the rage at some point?

The majority of those who made the laws of the past that we now know caused harm did the best they could with the information they had. They did not intentionally set out to cause harm to adoptees, birth parents, or adoptive parents.

Were mistakes made? Absolutely. Was damage caused? Without a doubt. Were lives unalterably changed? Sadly, yes.

All of the rage and disrespect in the world won’t change any of that.

What it may do, I’m afraid, is cause people to stop listening to the message calling for change.

Change will come through respectful and constructive conversation, not through rage, alienation, and name-calling.

We can allow ourselves to be consumed with anger and become bitter or we can choose to rise above and become better.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Thanks for this blog update.

    Just like the Mommy Wars that pit stay-at-home moms against working moms, we can’t let the adoption community become divided and loose sight of what would benefit everyone.

    We need to work together to find solutions for adoptees from closed adoptions, who may be seeking concrete things like birth records, or the more abstract “acceptance.” But we can also write about our experiences to help those thinking about adopting in the future. There will always be children who need a home, and prospective parents who need a child to love. Let’s start a conversation about what we can do to help each other going forward.

    I want to sign online petitions! I want to find out how I can help!

    Laura Dennis
    Author of Adopted Reality, A Memoir

    1. I agree completely, Laura. Division within the community helps no one.

  2. I can’t know what an adoptee feels like because I am not one. The anger you so succinctly describe, however, could fit any situation. Maybe it’s dealing with the anger and not the issue that is pointing the way to a more peaceful life.

    1. Absolutely correct, Gayle. We all have to learn to deal with the cards we’ve been dealt in order to move forward and live a productive and peaceful life. Again, it’s a choice.

  3. I wasn’t adopted, so can’t relate to this exact topic.

    But… It is similar enough to how many abuse survivors feel. Years ago, there wasn’t proper training for those who could have helped. It’s easy to stay angry and bitter about what could have been.

    We, too, can choose to rise above by grieving, healing and moving forward.

    Thank you Linda, for encouraging us all.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Denise. You’re right, sometimes it’s too easy to stay stuck in the past. We must deal with circumstances and situations so we can become better and, in turn, help those who are coming behind us.

  4. I admire you for speaking out and writing about what can be an emotional inflammatory topic. Sharing your thoughts and experience is your right. It is a benefit to the rest of us. I got a phone call when I made a side comment about one of my W.I.P.s and used the term “gave up” their children for adoption. The caller informed me that the politically correct term was ” placed” their children for adoption. He went to a fair amount of effort to make sure I knew that. “Placed” is certainly a much more sanitized version of what happened. The birth mothers I spoke with grieved, and continue to grieve, for what they gave up.

    The point is, with this topic it is inevitable you’re going to ruffle some feathers. You are entitled to your views and have every right to share your experience.

    I admire what you’re doing.

    1. Christine, thanks so much for your encouraging words today. I appreciate them more than you can imagine at this moment.

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