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How Do Children Feel About Being Adopted?

What it Feels Like to be Adopted [Your Guide to Adopted Children’s Feelings]

You are considering adoption because you love your baby and want the best for him or her.  

Because of that, it’s normal to have many thoughts and questions about how your child will grow up. Some of the most common questions we hear are:   

  • What is it like being adopted and growing up as an adopted child?   
  • How does it feel to be adopted?   
  • Is it any different from being raised in a traditional family? Is it better or worse?  

For adoptees like Cole, the answer is simple: Growing up adopted means growing up like any other kid, with a family who loves you “to pieces.”  

“It’s just like you’re growing up knowing to spell your name,” he said. “I’m growing up knowing that I was adopted.”  

Watch more of Cole’s thoughts about being adopted here.  

While every person is different, and it’s impossible to predict exactly how your child will feel about his or her adoption, most children today grow up happily adopted, like Cole.  

American Adoptions has over 30 years of experience as one of the nation’s largest domestic infant adoption agencies. We have helped thousands of birth mothers successfully place their children through our agency. Although it is very common to have concerns and questions about the impact adoption will have on your child and what they will think, we are here to help provide you answers and ease your mind.  

In fact, our co-founder Scott Mars is an adoptee himself. He shares his story here and explains what adoption means to him.  

“I was the centerpiece of their life,” he said about his adoptive parents. “My mom and dad were a couple who weren’t able to become a mom and dad without adoption. Of all the people in this world, they deserved to be parents. And without adoption, they would not have been able to share their love, to share their life and give someone the life that I had. 

“Because of adoption, my life was filled with love and opportunity.” 

In addition to our co-founder, we have several adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive family members on our staff, so we know firsthand what it feels like to be adopted and what it takes to raise a happily adopted child. We work with only the very best adoptive families to ensure every child placed through our agency gets a life of love and opportunity, just like Scott did. 

You can always call us at 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form to speak with an adoption professional and to get more information. They will be able to answer any questions you may have. Until then, continue reading this guide about how your child will feel about being adopted.  

How Do Children Feel About Being Adopted? 

Women who are considering placing a baby for adoption often wonder: what emotions do kids give up for adoption feel? They ask themselves, “If I give my child up for adoption, will he have a good life?”  

According to countless adoptees, the answer is yes — when you make an adoption plan for your baby and choose the perfect adoptive parents to raise him or her, chances are your child will have the wonderful life you want them to have.  

“[My parents] were at every school event. They helped us with homework. They read and told us stories every night. I grew up able to travel the world, and I learned piano...” said Diana, who grew up in an open adoption. “The love is unconditional and it’s constant, and they will always make it felt.” 

To watch more of Diana’s story about growing up adopted, click here

The statistics back up stories like Diana’s. Studies show that children who are adopted grow up to be as happy and healthy as their peers. In some instances, they even seem to have more advantages and opportunities than children in the general population. A report by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services may put to rest many of the arguments or concerns about adoption’s impact on children being adopted.  

The report, titled "Adoption USA," was compiled from data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents — a federal survey of 2,000 families that children who are adopted from foster care, internationally or through private domestic adoption.  

The report found that 85 percent of children who are adopted are in excellent or very good health and that children who are adopted are more likely to have health insurance than children in the general population. Also, children being adopted were less likely to live in households below the poverty threshold.  

The report also found a few other benefits for children who are adopted:  

  • Children who are adopted were more likely to be read to every day as a young child (68 percent of children who are adopted vs. 48 percent of children in the general population).  
  • Children who are adopted were more likely to be sung or told stories to every day as a young child (73 percent of children who are adopted vs. 59 percent of children in the general population).  
  • Children who are adopted were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities as school-age children (85 percent of children who are adopted vs. 81 percent of children in the general population).  
  • More than half of children who are adopted were reported to have excellent or very good performance in reading, language arts, and math.  

Findings also included statistics regarding the openness of adoption, showing that children who are adopted can especially benefit from healthy relationships and continued communication with their birth parents throughout their lives. Furthermore, the study found that nearly all — 97 percent — of children who are adopted ages 5 and older knew they were adopted.  

Adoption Is Growing and Changing (for the Better!)  

Although only a few decades ago, the norm for adoptions was to have a closed relationship, a study from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute titled “Openness in Adoption” reports that only 5 percent of today’s adoptions are closed, and the remaining 95 percent are open. The study also cites benefits for children who are adopted who have continued contact with and access to their birth parents after they are adopted.  

“I’m a happy, well-adjusted adult (or at least as much as any of us are!) because I grew up with an open adoption,” adoptee Diana said. “I’m so lucky to have such a fantastic relationship with both my birth and adoptive families. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without both of those sides of me. Open adoption gave me that.” 

American Adoptions supports and encourages this shift toward increased openness in adoptions given the research that has shown benefits for everyone involved, especially adoptees.  

Contact with birth families allows children who are adopted to maintain access to medical, genealogical, and family histories. Youth in open adoptions also have a better understanding of the meaning of adoption and more active communication about adoption with their adoptive parents.  

Adopted teens who had open adoptions described a range of benefits including:  

  • understanding the reasons for their adoption.  
  • being able to identify where personal traits came from.  
  • having information to help them with identity formation. 
  • having positive feelings toward their birth mother.  

The happiness of children who are adopted can be linked to the healthy development of their identity. Children who feel secure in their relationship with their adoptive family and understand and accept their adoption are able to lead happy, healthy, and well-adjusted lives.  

American Adoptions screens and selects our adoptive families to ensure children who are adopted will be raised in safe homes with attentive parents who can provide a lifetime of love and opportunities. We use our personal adoption experience to select only the very best adoptive parents for our program, giving you peace of mind you are making the best decision. 

To gain more firsthand experiences from adoptees, you can read these testimonials of those who have shared their own stories about what it feels like to be adopted. Understanding adoptees’ thoughts and feelings toward adoption can provide peace of mind knowing that their lives have been happy and changed for the better.  

Having concerns about how your child will grow up and what they will think about being adopted is natural. Because you are making such a brave, life-changing decision, you want to be sure they have the life you dream of. American Adoptions can help ensure that happens.  

If you are still looking for more information about what it’s like to be adopted, give us a call at 1-800-ADOPTION, or get free adoption information by filling out this form

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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