Common Issues Adopted Adults Face and Ways to Resolve Them

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When we hear the term adoption, we think of a childless couple adoring and doting an adopted infant and living happily ever after.  While this is true for the adopted family, the adopted child can sometimes grow up to face some unique issues that can affect their adulthood.  

The internalized trauma associated with being given up for adoption and going through the adoption process can follow adopted adults for years. 

In this article, we will discuss some common issues adopted adults face and how they can resolve them.

The psychological effect of being given up by birth parents can damage a child.  However, often a child can distract from the effects by adapting to their adopted family environment soon after adoption.  However, the hidden trauma stays with the child and can manifest in adulthood.

Moreover, some adoptions happen well into one’s teen years and even as an adult. There has been an increasing number of instances worldwide of adopting someone over 18.

Some common issues faced by adopted adults are:

A Profound Sense of Loss

Adopted adults often grapple with a profound sense of loss associated with the trauma of being given up for adoption by their biological parents.  Even if they were given up as infants with no conscious memory of the event of being given up, as they grow up and learn they were given up, they start to develop that sense of loss.  Some scientists say that subconsciously even an infant can have deep seeded memories of the trauma of being given up and the sense of loss of being able to bond with their bio mom.

This loss manifests into adulthood with depression, anxiety, and a feeling of loneliness. The adopted adult often looks at a situation from a scarcity mindset – the glass-half-empty mindset.

Identity Crisis

It is common for adopted adults to suffer from an identity crisis. They are affected by losing their identity and adopting a new identity. People will suffer from indecision, question their values and choices, and doubt their character traits and dislikes. Identity crisis also questions one’s purpose in life and why they were placed on earth.

Fears Associated With Change

There is one constant in life: there will always be change. However, change can trigger fears for adopted adults as they have had associations of change to foster homes, foster care, and the turmoil they endured.  This leads the adopted adults to fear other forms of change – like changing jobs, homes, careers, etc. 

Rejection Phobia

Another fear phobia faced by adopted adults is rejection phobia.  This stems from the feeling of being rejected by the biological parents or guardians of their past life. The rejection phobia manifests in adopted adults, often holding on to bad relationships, incompatible jobs, and the familiar – even if it is toxic for them.

Intimacy Avoidance

A child learns the fundamentals of the intimacy of human relationships from their parents.  So, it is only natural that adopted adults fear intimacy with other relationships.  This manifests in the adult avoiding relationships and sexual intimacy.

Anger Management Issues

A cumulative effect of the psychological damage of being given up for adoption or rejection by children is anger management issues.  They often lash out due to the impact of trauma. They may lash out and can get aggressive or violent.

The primary method of resolution to these issues is healing from the trauma that has caused these issues.  Here are some steps to take for the healing process:


Therapy is a must for adopted adults to work through the issues.  A psychotherapist or a counselor can offer valuable resources and talk therapy to the individual to uncover the trauma, recognize its effects, and help them heal.

One of the tools therapists can also offer is meditation to bring inner peace and reconnect with their sub-conscience to heal.

Learning Acceptance

Acceptance is the first step to healing. With counseling and therapy, an adopted adult can learn the acceptance process. It involves accepting that their parents gave them up is not the individual’s fault. They will learn that their parents gave them up is not a personal rejection of the individual.

Acceptance also comes from accepting that one’s past does not have to define their present and future. They are not victims in this, and rather strong individuals who have overcome adversities most children and adults never faced. Acceptance involves understanding the strength of their resilience.

Finding and Reconnecting with Bio Parents

Sometimes the healing process involves finding and reconnecting with the adopted adult’s biological parents. Often the connecting process can offer some relief towards the identity crisis. They can also have an audience with the birth parents where they can ask the questions that help them resolve all their psychological issues.

Support Groups

The individual can join several support groups for adopted adults to find support from like-minded people grappling with the same issues. Talking in a group setting can be cathartic and therapeutic. Many individuals find peace in joining these support groups.

Adoption is a beautiful thing. It brings two parties together in need of one another – the parents who have so much love to give and a safe home to raise a child – and a child who needs a safe, loving home to grow up in and needs nurturing love.

However, being given up for adoption can create several issues for adopted adults. Understanding the problems and the reasons behind them and following the ways to resolve them can lead to inner peace and a love-filled life.

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