August 11, 2015

Adoptees Who Think: How Did My Parents Pass a Home Study?!

The health of his or her adoptive home is a serious issue that impacts the experience of every adoptee. Despite what many people believe, a home study does not always reveal the quality of a home.  

Do you know how many adoptees I have met who have said, “How the heck did my adoptive parents ever pass a home study?” 

Too many to count.

I personally know of more than one adoptee who has considered suing their adoption agency for letting them “slip through the cracks” and go to a dysfunctional adoptive home.

Meanwhile many adoptive parents are heard complaining about “all the hoops they have to jump through” to adopt.  

Adoptees face judgment from those who surround them – many people they don’t even know -- who are convinced they grew up in a quality adoptive home, but really have no idea of what their growing up experience was really like.

I am friends with scores of adoptees. Many of their adoptive parents are religious and community leaders, model employees and nice neighbors. And yet, what some of these adoptees experienced growing up in their homes would make an excellent Lifetime movie. Keep in mind, quite a number of serial killers were actually Sunday School teachers. Many of the adoptee's extended family members  -- aunts, uncles and cousins -- assume so much about their upbringing they know nothing about.


Did they sleep in their bed?

Wake up in their house?

Were they with them 24/7?

Do they really know what went on every moment in their home?

No they don’t.

And have many of them even had the courtesy to ask the adoptee their personal experience? No. 

Oh but judge? They do.

Usually when an adoptee in this situation opens up about any of this to others outside the adoptee community, they hear such gems as:

“At least you’re alive…"

"Be grateful.”

“You could have languished in an orphanage or foster care.”

Or, “God placed you where He wanted you.”

To which he or she deducts, “God must hate me.  Nice.”

These "gems" are the opposite of what an adoptee who experienced the complex traumas of relinquishment, adoption and placement in an unhealthy adoptive home need to hear.

“Wow,” is all an adoptee with this experience can say to such clueless people sometimes.

That and, “Thank God for therapy" as they go back to the refuge that is the  adoptee community to receive the understanding from humans that they need for another day.

*Graphic courtesy of