close menu

Get Free Info

5 Things to Know If You're Adopted

A Helpful Guide for Adoptees

As an adoptee, you know that life is not one-dimensional. There are happy moments as well as sad ones. There are times of celebration and times of grief. Although you may already know this, it can be difficult to keep this in mind as you move through life as someone who is an adopted child.

Because adoption is such a complex experience, there are some important things that you should know when you’re an adoptee. That’s why we have created this detailed list of five things to know if you’re adopted.

If you have any questions as you’re reading, then we are here to answer them for you. You can contact us online to get free adoption information now.

1. Identity Is Important

You likely already know this as someone who is adopted, but an “adopted definition” is when someone who isn’t biologically related to a child takes legal parental rights over them. Because of this, it’s common for some adoptees to struggle with their identity.

That’s why open adoption is often so beneficial for everyone involved, especially the adopted child. If your birth parents have an open relationship with your family, then you can always speak with your birth mother about your identity, ethnicity and cultural background.

But, if you were in a closed adoption, then this process can be more difficult. Depending on where you live, you may be able to access your adoption records and learn more about your birth family. We have a full guide on how to obtain your adoption records, too.

2. Emotions Are on a Spectrum

People who are adopted experience many different emotions. Adoption is complex, and, in turn, that entails plenty of complex emotions. You might feel grateful to your birth mother for doing the best she could. You might also feel a deep sense of love for your adoptive family.

On other days, you might feel a sense of grief or loss for your birth family. You may ponder over why you were placed for adoption. There could be confusing feelings about your adoptive family, too.

Although open adoption can help with the emotions of adoption connected to identity, that doesn’t take away from the fact that you will experience both the ups and downs of being adopted. And that’s OK. You have the right to feel whatever you need — and your feelings are valid.

3. Medical History Is Crucial

Just as it’s important to establish a sense of identity, open adoption also gives you the opportunity to learn about your medical history. If you learn about your birth family’s medical history and your own, then it can be a life-saver down the line. This is critical information to have for the long term.

This is yet another reason why open adoption is so beneficial for an adopted child. Staying updated on your health is vital to a long, fulfilling life. Also, if you are planning on having children yourself, then you may need your medical history not only for your own health but also for your future children.

If your adoption was open, you can request this information. If it was closed, you can begin seeking this information by contacting the professional who facilitated your placement.

4. You Are Not “Stuck in the Past”

It’s normal for people who are adopted to be curious about their history. If someone ever disparages you for wanting to learn more about your adoption story, then pay them no mind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wondering about your past. It can provide a lot of clarity and closure for people who are adopted. Learning about the past is one way that everyone, not just adoptees, can better understand the present and the future.

In a closed adoption, adoptees are often left with many more questions. This lack of information may lead you to seek out the answers even more. By educating yourself about your history and heritage, you are not “stuck in the past.” Rather, you are establishing an important sense of self.

5. Adoption Is not “Giving Up”

Adoption is a selfless, heroic and brave decision made out of love for the adopted child. Sadly, a common phrase that people use when they talk about adoption is “giving a baby up for adoption.” Although they likely mean no harm when they say this, this phrase is wildly inaccurate. Birth parents don’t “give up” by choosing adoption. Instead, they are giving you a life of love and opportunity.


If you have any more questions about what it means to be adopted, then we are here to answer them for you. You can contact us online whenever you need us to get more free information now.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

Request Free Information