View Full Version : Does adoption ever just "work out"?

Apr. 8, 2012, 03:49 PM
It seems like I'm always reading stories about how unhappy children are who were adopted.... and how they resent the people that adopted them.

Does it ever just work out? Is everyone ever just happy, or are there always some kind of issues?

I guess I feel like there just aren't happy endings -- but maybe it is just the stories that make the news.

Adoption is something we may consider in the next few years, but... I admit that I am reluctant to go forward since there seem to be (to me) so few success stories.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:04 PM
My best friend growing up, and her younger sister, were both adopted. Worked out great for them. Their family dynamic is one of the healthiest I know. If you go that route, I hope your kids grow up as well. :)

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:10 PM
Yes, I know several.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:25 PM
My friend is in the process of fostering to adopt 6 siblings. She has one son in college. She has had some problems. The oldest girl has pretty much had to raise the younger ones, so she has a hard time stepping back and letting "mom or dad" do that. The little ones don't really remember much about living with birth mom (they weren't with her long) and are adjusting very well to the new routines and family life though. The oldest also has some self-esteem issues. She felt that her birth mom kept having children, because she wasn't a good enough daughter. They are in counseling, are trying to cultivate some hobbies apart from the younger kids. Her adoption caseworker lady said that they seem to have better luck placing siblings, because dropping one child into a family can make the family dynamic awkward, but if a pair from "the same place" goes, then it's more a blending of two families and can be easier on the children.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:28 PM
I had a good friend growing up who was adopted and it worked out great for her family. They had a few rough patches in high school, but certainly no worse that what some of my other friends went through with their parents. We're in our mid-20s now and she and her parents are very close.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:29 PM
Many work out quite well. But adopted kids come with a boatload of issues, even if you adopt them as infants. They can give you no trouble one day and the next it's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."

Sometimes they don't "get it" until they are rather advanced in age (late 20s to early 30s). But when they do, even if you've put up with 30 years of horse puckey, it is very rewarding.

Adopting a child is not for the faint of heart or those looking for "easy, warm fuzzies."


Apr. 8, 2012, 04:31 PM
Both adoptive families I worked with are very happy. The children are happy. Wonderful happy families.

I'm even happy.

Yes, adopted kids don't always work out to be warm and fuzzy. Guess what, neither do biological kids. And *neither* are easy.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:34 PM
Many work out quite well. But adopted kids come with a boatload of issues, even if you adopt them as infants. They can give you no trouble one day and the next it's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."

Sometimes they don't "get it" until they are rather advanced in age (late 20s to early 30s). But when they do, even if you've put up with 30 years of horse puckey, it is very rewarding.

Adopting a child is not for the faint of heart or those looking for "easy, warm fuzzies."


All of that is true of all children though, not just ones that are adopted.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:37 PM
My mother was adopted. Her parents (adoptive) always told her that she was so special and that they wanted her so much that they went out and found her to make her part of their family. She was only a couple of days old when they adopted her but she cannot remember a time when she didn't know that she was adopted. She feels that knowing from the beginning and not having it dropped on her at some point was very important. She had typical kid issues growing up, but never any issues with regard to being adopted.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:38 PM
I think it works best (and 99.9% of the time it works well) when the fact the child or children are adopted is not hidden. Meaning, the parents who never say the kid is adopted, and think the kid will never find out are kidding themselves. Someday it will come out in the open.

I think we mostly hear about the few failed adoptions, or the people who aren't good parents, or the ones where something else goes wrong and it's blamed on the family dynamic because the kid is adopted. I think when a kid is adopted to 'heal' a family, or some other reason beside the usual one of wanting to add to a family and raise a child there will be problems, but that's certainly not that many.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:03 PM
My grandma adopted her 1st son, had a girl before then had 2 more sons later in life.

She took him away from horrible child abuse-even then it had to be horrible. She told me he was as good as or better to her than any of her other sons. She wasnt one to say what wasnt true.

My dr has 3 adopted kids all from another country.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:13 PM
I had a really awkward moment earlier this year with a coworker. I mentioned something offhand about adopting a bazillion babies in the future. He, an older veteran type, told me, "No, you don't want that. Adopted kids are all messed up. They come with tons of issues!"

"Oh yeah? That's interesting. I'm glad my parents didn't believe so... When they adopted me."

What an asshat.

But also very upsetting, because I wish more people would consider adoption, on every side. I wish people who couldn't properly care for children would opt to place them with adoptive homes. I wish people facing infertility would have a more open mind towards adoption, rather than forcing their bodies and financial situations through ivf, etc. (I'm not against fertility treatments, but wish people weren't so hell bent on having a biological child to complete their families).

My adoption worked out wonderfully. Of course there were harder times, but compared to my friends' lives growing up, it wasn't any tougher.

I would probably recommend a semi open adoption, if possible (or open). There were many things that probably would have made my childhood upsets easier if I just had a photo, or a bit of personal information.

That being said, my parents never were the type to be all gung ho 'we must adopt!' Instead, my dad's brother and his wife had had fertility problems and so adopted two kids in the seventies. When my parents had trouble themselves, they were like, Well huh, why don't we adopt too? It's working for john and Becky! So they did. Apparently my dad was a little worried about/uncomfortable/unsure about it being 'someone else's' baby, but once he got my older brother, he forgot about it!
Plus, not like the baby lets you believe they belong to someone else at 3 am feeding time! It's all you, dad! Lol!

My brother did have more internalization of the adoption and I don't think my parents approached it as well as they could have then. But my brother is a fairly defiant person.... And it's hard to say how much adoption shaped that, but i don't feel comfortable saying it's solely because he was upset about being adopted, or that it's only his personality!!

And yes, i definitely agree.... Biological kids can disappoint/cause disruption and family stress all the same. Blaming trouble on the adoption is a cop out.

Kids can have problems, ALL kids. Not every parent is prepared to adopt, but not everyone is prepared or adept to parent a biological kid either. And it's a WHOLE lot tougher to become an adoptive parent!

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:14 PM
I am adopted, and I have a very good relationship with my adoptive family :)

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:18 PM
www.adoptuskids.org seems to have a lot of children available.

A quick look through some of the profiles.. (to make this horse related) reveals a lot of girls and boys who love horses!! I hope they find excellent families first, but for the future of equestrianism, I do hope that those families have horse-y people to encourage the love of equines as well.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:19 PM
My best friend is adopted. She loves her adoptive family, but she has 'family stories' and family issues just like I do. So, I'd consider that relatively normal.

My aunt and uncle have three adopted children, in addition to their four biological children. They are 16 and under, and all seem to be happy. They all have known they were adopted since very early on, and maintain contact with their original foster families.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:27 PM
You know, looking at the requirements needed to be a foster or adoptive parent.. I wonder if the number of children in foster care would significantly decrease, if those were required before you could biologically have a child as well. But I am not a fan of legislating people's right to procreate. Interesting thought though.

gully's pilot
Apr. 8, 2012, 05:34 PM
Of my close friends, no less than 3 adopted children--and several more in the next ring of friends, so to speak. Situations range from white child adopted at birth to overseas (non-white) adopted near birth, to overseas as young child from good orphanage, to overseas as young child from crummy orphanage.

All the children are doing well, including my daughter's best friend. The ones from the crummy orphanage faced the most difficulties (go figure) but they were manageable, and I happily took the elder boy (they adopted siblings) on a four-day vacation with my family.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:35 PM
I'm going to add :-) I think there are things to set up a family for success with it all though. I'm sure many people can add to this, but I'll mention a few.

Resources like books for both kids and their parents.

Honesty and being straightforward about adoption to their kids and relatives.

Honoring and not brushing off the kid's genetic roots. (My mom always raved about my creative side, drawing etc, saying I must have gotten that from my biological mom because she herself certainly had no talent. She always said it with pride and a happy expression, and it did make me feel special as a kid.

A sense of levity or casualness about the adoption. It was never off limits to talk about, and its mention was never automatically a Totally Serious Conversation that everyone got really solemn about.

Having adopted kids or adults around, even peripherally, in the kid's life. As I said, my two cousins are adopted and the one of them was a good mentor and person to talk to. It was also neat to have a few friends (though they didn't go to our school, so we didn't see them often) that had adoptive kids too.

Trying to think of others, but maybe someone else can add to it.

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:37 PM
Wow, I hope so. We have an adopted child and a biological child. Just like all biological families, some kids have issues, some don't...same goes for the parents. We treat both of our children the same - love them the same and give each the same opportunities. In many ways, our adopted child is more assertive, stronger and more of a "fighter" than our bio child but it has NOTHING to do with where she came from. It's simply her personality. Socially, I spend more time helping and coaching my bio child! As she gets older I know she may yearn for her home country, her background & culture. We will deal with those issues as I would with any issues my children face, whether it be social or emotional struggles....anything, really.

Have I worked out? I am not adopted but come from a slightly disfunctional family...had many struggles growing up, and I turned out just fine. I always see the glass as half-full and like much of life, attitude is really everything, or close to it!

Apr. 8, 2012, 05:55 PM
My kids are adopted, and we seem like a normal family. I know quite a few families that were formed via adoption of one kind or another and I honestly can't think of any that have *issues*. Certainly no more than the issues of other families.

Everyone "knows" someone with an adoption horror story. A friend's sister's best friend's next door neighbor or something. I would tend not to give these stories much of my time.

If you are interested in adoption, talk to an adoption agency and they will give you the names of families that have adopted and you can call them. We were references for our agency for a long time and I never sugar-coated anything. :)

But, ask around as well. I bet a lot of the people you know do know someone with a positive adoption story.

Apr. 8, 2012, 07:41 PM
All I can say is, my brother and I are both adopted, and we were adopted as infants. I've always known that I was adopted. It was never hidden from either of us. We both turned out just fine.

We know some people who did not have the same positive experience adopting, but by and large, the majority I know have had a good experience. Face it, kids are always a crapshoot. There are just as many people who have kids the old-fashioned way whose kids don't turn out well.

And FWIW, my mother, always a classy lady, said she had kids they easy way, by adoption. But knowing the emotional agony my parents went through in trying to have children (and they desperately wanted children), I would say they had kids the hard way.

As an aside, my mom passed almost 7 years ago. My dad is now 86 and failing health. They are the only parents I have ever known. DNA doesn't matter. I'm having a hard time with the fact that the days are now short. Every minute is precious.

Yes, adopt.

Apr. 8, 2012, 08:17 PM
Many work out quite well. But adopted kids come with a boatload of issues, even if you adopt them as infants. They can give you no trouble one day and the next it's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."

LOL are you kidding? I think that is applicable to ANY child, not just adopted kids.

We adopted our daughter when she was an infant... 1.5 days old. We have an open adoption, we know her birth mom well now and see her a few times a year, as well as speak to her regularly and exchange photos and letters.

We also have a transracial adoption, my daughter is black and we are white.

Adoption works when people are honest about it, spend the time researching, seek out counseling and education and resources and continue a dialogue as the kids grow.

I know LOADS of adoptive families in all sorts of situations-- international adoption, domestic adoption, infant adoption, adoption from foster care-- they are just normal families and normal kids.

Our adoption has been nothing but a positive experience. I'm not saying it is not hard sometimes--- yes, it can be. But raising kids IN GENERAL is hard. We also have a bio son and it is hard raising him too. ;)

There are a lot of misconceptions about adoption, it is not a Lifetime movie nor is it the scenarios that occurred way back in the 50-60-70s. This is 2012 folks!

Hampton Bay
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:31 PM
A good friend adopted his 7-yo son as a baby through foster care. The child has no more issues than any other 7-yo who is too smart for his own good and has divorced parents :)

Apr. 8, 2012, 09:47 PM
My mom was adopted and has a very shadowy story about where she came from and why she was put up for adoption. Her adoptive parents were her parents through and through. They had a wonderful relationship and on no level did she ever wish things had turned out differently.

Apr. 8, 2012, 09:50 PM
LOL are you kidding? I think that is applicable to ANY child, not just adopted kids.

Adoption works when people are honest about it, spend the time researching, seek out counseling and education and resources and continue a dialogue as the kids grow.

This^^^ in Spades.

I'm an adoptive mom as well. Raising kids is hard/easy no matter who you're raising, your child through biology or your child through adoption. For every horror story about a difficult adoption I can match it with an equal horror story about a biological child. Seriously.

I am of course 100% for adoption. But I am also 100% for each and every family doing what is right for them.

So to answer the OP's question "does adoption ever just work out?" I'd say yes. It does a thousand times over.

Apr. 8, 2012, 10:07 PM
Before I respond, this is totally ignorant and offensive: “But adopted kids come with a boatload of issues, even if you adopt them as infants. They can give you no trouble one day and the next it's ‘Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.’” Ok, I’m better now.

To answer your question succinctly: No, adoption does not just work out. Often, families formed in adoption are formed in ways that deny the considerable grief of both the adopted child and the adopting parents. Do your own grief work and tend the grief of the child you are adopting for the biological parents who will not raise them. Learn about the primal wound—but don’t believe your child is broken forever. Learn about ghost parents—the shadows of your child’s biological parents which will linger in his or her psyche. Learn about how the development of self is different for an adopted child than it is for one raised in his or her biological parents. Read about, and take seriously, not just the experiences of other adopted parents, but adopted adults. Take their experiences and advice seriously, try the adult adoptee forums on adopt.com.

Good luck,

Apr. 8, 2012, 11:47 PM
Excellent book on the emotional side of adoption:


Apr. 9, 2012, 02:57 AM
3 of my 4 children were adopted internationally. Different countries, different ages when they came home.

I actually think adoptive families are pretty cluey about the issues they may, or may not, face. Most families join adoptive support groups, get to know other adoptive families, etc. I had more parenting resources and support through adoption than I did by giving birth. We read, we ask questions, we have to go through lengthy home studies.

I don't think you can ask a question like "does adoption ever work out?" You could just as easily ask, "does having children biologically ever work out?"