Adoptee Questionnaire – What Traits Do We Share?


I clicked on a link from my Twitter feed that requested I take a survey about adoptees. They wanted to know if I believed that adoptees should be able to have access to their original birth certificates (OBCs). Of course I do. On the federal level, not state by state. They wanted to know if I believed that birth mothers, original mothers, should be able to find, have information about the child/baby they relinquished. Yes, I believe they should have that right. They also asked about transracial, gay, single parent, and other types of adoptions. Yes, those seem like valid questions. I believe the most important quality for those wanting to adopt is their want to give love to a child.

The questionnaire did not ask anything about if I believed that children should be given up for adoption because they couldn’t afford to raise the child. Or because the birthmother’s parent forced them to. Or how I felt about a child being relinquished because a church considered childbirth without marriage is a sin. They also didn’t ask if I felt that a birth mother and a child should stay together if at all possible. That would have been a good question to ask. Yes, I hate stories where a young women put her child up for adoption so she could complete her college degree. Four years later she has a piece of paper and an empty space in her heart for the rest of her life?? That’s wrong. I’d like to see that never happen again. But that wasn’t my survey. I answered the questions on my iPhone without adding much. Once I get started on the subject it’s hard to stop me.

Anyway, one question really took me by surprise. They asked: Have you experienced any of the following: divorce, depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, dyslexia, obesity, anorexia, thoughts of suicide….There were more but this is a long enough list. WOW, I’ve experienced all of these! Are they trying to say that these are symptoms of adoption? Symptoms of the adoption system? Do they believe most adoptees have deep rooted issues because of the circumstances of their birth? I don’t know if I believe that. I’d like to know what part of the general population suffers from these issues.

There’s also a part of the equation that we’ll never know the answer to. Again it’s nature vs. nurture. My having these issues could be due to the separation from my birth mother. However,since there was a reason that my birth mother couldn’t raise me, I might have had the same issues had she been in my life. Or worse. Also, what about my particular situation? My adoptive mother was abusive. I was not raised in the ideal situation. I believe my psychological issues had to do with my adoptive mother. Her insecurities. Had I been adopted into a more loving environment, I might have turned out very different. More confident. And then on the other hand, perhaps the challenges I faced growing up helped me become a stronger person. Made me work harder for what I have. Made me appreciate the love of my husband more. Made me a better mother.

When we look at psychological issues, I believe there are so many factors to take into consideration that perhaps a 45 question survey is just the tip of the iceberg. Genetics play a huge role in all these conditions.

What do you think? How many “experiences” would you place a check by? Do you blame your adoption for any or all of your problems? Or is it just a convenient excuse?

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2 responses to “ Adoptee Questionnaire – What Traits Do We Share?

  1. I just finished “My Name Is Ella.” I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. I was adopted at age 3, in 1949. I was born to an alcoholic mother who just kept popping out kids she couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of. I had wonderful Christian adoptive parents and grew up on a farm. I learned to love animals and still do.When I was 21, my Mom handed me an envelope and told me that it was mine to do with as I pleased. I didn’t open it until after she had passed away and I was 40 yrs. old. It gave me all the info I needed to search. I live in Maine and it’s easy to get information in small towns where everybody knows everybody. On my 40th birthday, I searched and learned where my 7 birth siblings lived. A few days later, I met my birth mother and I did not develop a relationship with her……my choice. She was a taker and not a giver and wanted money from me. Uh uh, no way. I am the only one of all 8 kids who was never in her custody. She was incarcerated at the time of my birth, for child desertion and neglect and possible prostitution. After I met her, she refused to tell me who my birth father was. As it turned out, my father was her brother in law, who was married to her sister. My husband and I jokingly refer to him as my “Uncle Dad.” So, I found that I had 5 more half sisters, who are also full blooded cousins. By the time I found out that he was my father, he had passed away. I wish I could have met him. My birth mother is also now deceased. To make a long story short, which is next to impossible, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book and your adoption story and search journey. I was able to petition the court and get a copy of my original birth certificate. I think that now in Maine, you can obtain a copy without a court order. Records are still sealed, though. I know my whole birth story and those involved and think that it is so wrong that records of the first 3 years of my life, are gathering dust in a basement of archives. I feel that there should be consistent rules regarding adoption records in all states. I have a couple serious medical issues, so have been considering petitioning Probate Court to release my records. People have always said that I should write a book about my story, but that will probably never happen. Again, thank you for writing your story.

    • Thank you for your comment. So many stories out there. I finally got my birth certificate. It was a lie. My adoptive mom filled out the form. Even signed her name. I’m so glad I did my own research. It gave me a huge sense of closure. I still feel so bad that my dad could never tell me the truth.

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