Why Adoptees Reject Their Moms

Brunt of Adoptee Anger?

Many moms of adopted children can’t figure out what they’ve done wrong, what makes their children reject them, even though they have literally poured their very souls into them.

This anger may manifest in shouting matches, temper tantrums, refusing to let you hold her hand when walking through the parking lot, choosing the moms of friends as confidantes, zoning out on her iPhone, or refusing to go for a walk with you on Mother’s Day.

It’s downright hard for a mom not to take this rejection personally, but it is absolutely necessary that you don’t—both for the welfare of your child and your own sanity.

If you understand the core reason why your child is rejecting you, it will be easier for you to detach from an emotional response and help your child comprehend the source of her anger and deal effectively with it.

Misplaced Anger

Anger is a scab over a wound, a secondary emotion. In other words, it happens in response to another occurrence, which is pain. No doubt, your child has the anger problem, which manifests in rejection toward you as a mom, but what is the great hurt? You haven’t hurt her! You’ve done everything humanly possible to demonstrate your great love for her.

In reality, the anger is misplaced. Your daughter is not angry at you; instead, she is furious at her birth mother for leaving her behind. No matter how loving the birth mother and the adoption plan, the absence of the birth mother translated to your child as pure abandonment. That is the deep hurt beneath the scab.

Because your child doesn’t understand this dynamic, she lashes out at you, with misplaced anger. The birth mother isn’t around, unless your adoption is open, so you receive the brunt of her anger. Even if your adoption is open, I personally believe adoptive moms get the brunt of the anger.

You may be at the end of your rope, feeling crushed beyond belief by her multiple rejections. Truth be known, your child may wonder what is wrong with her—what is the cause of this overblown anger toward you?

How to Help Your Child

Understanding adoptee loss is the key to helping yourself and your child overcome this common adoption hurdle. Many parents read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, make notes in the margins, and then give it to the teen to read. This has opened many conversations.

If you can help her understand the source of her anger, then she can begin to manage it through grieving her loss (professional help may be needed here) and going forward toward healthier relationships, with you and others.


79 comments to Why Adoptees Reject Their Moms

  • Cheri- Clearwater Florida

    Thanks, that sure make me feel better. Do they ever grow out of it??

      • Dee Proietto

        This has been so helpful to read. My husband and I have a soon to be 16 year old boy who we adopted at birth. We have been open about his adoption all of his 16 years. He was a very easy child, but we now notice his anger and hurt surfacing. I am realizing that I want to rescue him from the pain of rejection and abandonment. What I am learning is that I can’t. Only God can begin to minister to his brokenness and pain. He just said in an emotional breakdown that he doesn’t feel loved and hates the way I make him feel. We are headed to a counselor in hopes that he can process his emotions. He wants to go and so do my husband and I. Please keep us in prayer. Dee Proietto

        • Keep me posted as to how you come through all of this?
          As you know, you can’t rescue him from the pain of abandonment, but more importantly, you can be instrumental in helping him learn to regulate emotions. See Karyn Purvis’ work through Texas Christian University.

          • Dee Proietto

            Thank you so much for your response. I started asking little questions to my son about his birth family. He began to open up and talk about them. He has a full blood brother and we talked about him as well. I really enjoy everyone’s feedback. We are all in this together. God gave us these children for a purpose, He knew we could love them even when they push us away and reject our love. Dee

          • This will totally change your family dynamics about adoption! Remember that parents need to be proactive by asking probing questions and then validating whatever emotions surface. Way to go!

          • Dee Proietto

            It has been very helpful to go into counselling for myself. I was abandon by my father from birth. Counselling helped me to see that my son, who was adopted, has the same wound as I do. When he rejects me it is a trigger from my own rejection. I am happy to report that working on my own rejection has shifted the relationship with my son. When I am triggered now, I sit in that feeling and allow myself to feel the sadness without responding in hurt or anger. This has been an amazing revelation. Dee

          • Absolutely, Dee! Congrats on all the growth you’ve experienced. Yes, we can’t be there for another if we haven’t dealt with our own stuff. Thanks for sharing!

        • Dee Proietto

          Has anyone done the study Restoring Relationships by Domenic Herbst? Me and my husband and our married daughter and her husband took the journey. It was an eye opener about how the wounds of the parents or care-giver come down generations and affect us. You can do the study on line if you google Restoring Relationships. I have spoken to the founder and they have had people who were adopted take the journey. The letter writing is a powerful tool of healing. Our son is 16 now and he can take the journey. Praying he will be open to this.

      • Nancy

        Hi “Thank you for having this on the web site. My daughter is 44 and we have been dealing with this rejection and anger for many years. It is very painful and unfortunately the mother gets it the worse. Nancy T

    • No. I’m adopted. 50 yrs old.

  • Antonio Capaldo

    In my experience of adoption, I realized that these behaviors are the result of the trauma of abandonment. I am increasingly convinced that we must give priority Open Adoptions . A boy adopted, without realizing it, believes it is impossible that his birth mother abandoned him.
    Surely he thinks that ..No condition of indigence or poverty justifies the abandonment of a child. As far as my own experience is concerned I am sure that a child would rather die of starvation or get to know that his parents are in prison, but they did not abandoned him.

    If genocide is a crime against humanity, the abandonment of a child is much more, it calls into question the first ethical principle for our survival: a mother who abandons a child.
    Animals do not do that, or do so only if the little ones are naturally self-sufficient by birth. It is an everlasting torture and I am sure that my son is wondering – in his own confusion – why he did not get what many people were granted.


    • Yes, there are many losses, profound losses, in adoption. It is my belief, however, that there are many “gains.” Gains that outweigh the losses. You are right…even in open adoptions, we adoptees often see the bio parents giving over responsiblity of parenting as rejection. It forms the lens through which we look at life. It must be transformed and it is a lifelong process. It IS possible, however, to grow from all of this. I hope you will be able to give your son some hope, not based on fantasy, but faith-based reality. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jude

    My 8yo daughter shows these signs, and others related to abandonment I think. There is so much anger, and self sabotage as well.. like she doesn’t deserve anything good. I tell her so many many times that we love her no matter what, but she will act out and shove us away, figuratively, so often, then claim it’s we that don’t love her as much. It breaks my heart.

    She is in counseling, but I don’t know if her 8yo mind will be able to really believe it. I fear and cry regularily that she will grow to think the things she says are the reality, when in fact they are so far from the truth. She never ever reaches out to us, and often will retreat, then intimate that she’s separate in our family. I am broken as to what to do. I feel we are doing all things we can, yet there is that gigantic gap that seems too big to bridge.

    • REBEL

      I do not think you can grasp reality…she is fine…she has lost her world. DEAL WITH IT.


      I would suggest CBT. And accept that this relationship is not a normal one. It was never going to be a dream one. Step back, let them sort it out, outside of your home. You can invest all your feelings into them, but don’t expect them to feel back. Some of us just can’t. Sorry to be brutal, but when a baby or young child has its mother bond broken, rarely will there be happy families again. Especially if they were old enough to talk.

      • The statement that those whose mother bond is broken will rarely “be happy families” again sends up a huge red flag for me. This is just not true. Even though it takes longer to feel comfortable with families because of PTSD, etc, there are many, many adoptees that have a happy family life. I was the kind of daughter that literally threw birthday parties for my parents until their deaths. Loved them tremendously.

  • Fairlight

    As an adoptee this only reinforces my belief that adoption very often causes more problems than it solves. Adoption hurt me very much. My anger was not only at my first-mom but also at my adopted mother. My A-mother felt she was my one and only mother and I just needed to accept that. I didn’t. I really hated being adopted.

  • Fairlight

    No Ms. Eldridge is isn’t a quick assumption. I have been an adoptee rights activist for several decades now (I’m 53 yrs. old). I have seen and heard incredibly painful stories from adoptees and first-mothers. As for the anger aspect. My anger and the anger of many adoptees I know isn’t misplaced. We know why we are angry at our adopted parents and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the first-mother….it has to do with the quality of the individual relationships and the fact we are forced to live a lie.

    • Me too….and I’ve got you beat–I just turned 70! Just kidding. Thank you for sharing your interesting perspective. Tell me more about how we adoptees are forced to live a lie?

  • Roy Bard

    Sherrie, is it not possible that some adoptive mothers are not perfect, and that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for their adopted children to be angry with them?

  • Lisa

    As Roy said, it is possible that some adoptees who reject their mothers do so for the same reasons that non-adopees do – because their mothers are malignant and destructive people.
    And that’s not “reading into the article”. It’s reality.

  • Katie Lund

    I’m a Mom who has 2 adoptive children and the only one I’m angry at is me. My kids have every right to be angry. Who were we to take 2 babies from poor, very young mothers who needed help. We were grandiose in our thinking, unable to have children, and with our white privilege 2 ready for our taking.

    When the time comes for them to be angry I will agree, I will ask for forgiveness, though I will explain I was blind, no, I chose not to see. So while we raise them, we will love them, try to give them what they need. We will do our best to follow the many writings of transracial adoptees and the insights of Daniel Ibn Zayd. Read the insights of http://www.transracialeyes.com

    How powerful the honesty of ‘Fairlight: ‘As an adoptee this only reinforces my belief that adoption very often causes more problems than it solves. Adoption hurt me very much. My anger was not only at my first-mom but also at my adopted mother. My A-mother felt she was my one and only mother and I just needed to accept that. I didn’t. I really hated being adopted.’

    I accept my kids being angry. How can we help them, help us as a family, is to immerse our lives in a culture that is true to who they are, were they come from, where we now need to be. To break down the walls of privilege & be open to our children’s feelings.

    • Love your thoughts! You are rare in your understanding of your children and yourself.

    • Denise

      Katie Lund, your sanctimony is misplaced. Perhaps you adopted out of a sense of white privilege. Don’t assume all other adoptive parents do or did the same. Most adopted because they thought it was the right thing to do. They had love and resources to share. There were abandoned children who needed both. They thought adoption was not only a win-win outcome, they genuinely believed they had a moral obligation to adopt.

      The Zeitgeist now is turning against adoption as the tsunami of children adopted int he 90’s and aughts reach adulthood. Like many adults, they feel dissatisfied with one or more aspects of their childhoods. Our culture foments that dissatisfaction into hatred and condemnation, encouraging angry individuals to nurse and nurture their hatred and sense of victimhood rather than encouraging them to broaden their perspective and seeking to understand and move on. For adoptees, the target of that dissatisfaction-turned-outrage is the adoptive mother, and worse, the very idea of adoption itself.

      If your children wanted contact with their birth families or their birth cultures and you denied them that contact, then, yes, you did them a wrong that should be apologize for and corrected. But don’t assume everyone is like you. Many, many people all over the world who adopted children from other cultures have openly shared that information with their children and encouraged that contact. Those adoptive parents neither deserve condemnation nor should be required to apologize for committing the “crime” of adoption.

      • Dear Kate,
        Interesting post.
        Yes, society is pretty much out in the cold about adoption, but its a heck of a lot better than twenty years ago when I searched for my birth family. There is something very special about meeting birth family. It’s not a threat to adoptive parents. It’s the way we adoptees are wired. I believe it is always best, if possible, for adoptees to search for and meet birth relatives.
        The target of adoptee anger is the adoptive mom…but it is really misplaced anger at our birth moms.
        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
        Come back soon!

  • Denise

    Firelight states, “As an adoptee this only reinforces my belief that adoption very often causes more problems than it solves. Adoption hurt me very much.” Many adoptee commenters chimed in with their outrage over the very idea of adoption.

    So this is what I say to all these very angry, vengeful adoptees: What should happen instead?

    Should neglected or abused children be left with their negligent or abusive biological mothers because you believe putting them in a safe and loving home would be more damaging?

    Should these children be left in the foster care system forever with the hope that the biological mother may one day shape up and retrieve her children?

    Should a woman who, for whatever reason, cannot or does not want to raise a child be forced to, even if that means the child will grow up feeling all the resentment emanating from his or her birth mom?

    In other words, angry, resentful, ungrateful adoptees, ask yourself seriously, what are the alternatives? Adoption is the outcome of a difficult situation for all involved–the birth mother who, for whatever reason, is not in a position to care for a child, the adoptive mother who, for whatever reason, cannot have a child of her own, and the child who, for whatever reason was born into a thorny and difficult moral dilemma whom everyone is trying to resolve to the best of their ability.

    Cut your adoptive mother some slack. Ever fiber in your body says, “Don’t trust her! Shut her out! She is the nurturing enemy, the untrustworthy interloper!” But no one, and I mean no one, grows up whole and healthy without forming an open, trusting, emotional bond with a primary caregiver. Your birth mom couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. You were given a second change. Don’t squander it.

    So do yourself and your adoptive mom and your birth mom a favor and let yourself love and reciprocate love. The world will be better off for it.

  • Claire Clayton

    My adopted daughter and I were very close until six months after I helped her find and contact her birth mother. She was 34 years old at that time with a husband and two children. Then she rejected me and has been in contact with her birth mother, birth father, birth aunts, etc. and has cut me out of her life. It has been 5 years, and I haven’t been allowed to see or contact her, her husband, or my grandchildren. The emotional pain is unbearable. What can I do?

    • Dear mom through adoption,
      This is an awful story and in my experience, the majority of adoptees don’t respond like this to reunion with their birth families.
      Someone once taught me to pray against the lies she is believing.
      I challenge you to do that.
      Prayer is the most powerful thing you can do, and of course, living in 24 hour compartments, accepting your powerlessness, and knowing and trusting God is at work.
      Blessings to you,

  • Ruth

    I am writing from an African country. My adopted 6 year old girl was found wrapped up in a paper bag. The home that took her believed strongly that institutional homes are not ideal unless there’s no way out. So with my two biological kids and husband we discussed and agreed to adopt a baby girl as we felt the urge to give a child our love, home and siblings. I wonder if this is a worse evil than leaving her at the institution . Despite the emotional upheavals we will go through I think this should not minimise the impact of family our daughter will enjoy. Natural and adoptive parents are not perfect, they make mistakes and a child can be abused and mistreated by a natural or adoption family. So mistreatment and abuse are not mutually exclusive with adopted homes

    • Hi mom from Africa,
      Loving your attitude!
      Yes, you will go through emotional upheavals..and I trust that you will be given wisdom about to handle. A book by the late Dr. Gregory C. Keck is high on my list of recommendations: “Parenting the Hurt Child.” Find it on amazon.
      Thanks for sharing!

  • bubbleslanie

    I am heartbroken that my 16 year old daughter has expressed hatred towards me. She has run away twice, I just read something she wrote about mothers day which read something like happy mothers day to the one who gave birth to me that I will never know, to the one I can’t wait to leave, and to my Nana who is the one who showed me true love and how to love.
    I cannot even begin to express how devastated I am. Can I really have neglected her that much? Could how she feels be reality? I have 3 older (biological) sons, and this is a new experience for me. Sad, disappointed, hurt.

    • Dear heartbroken mama,
      I hear your hurt. Wish I could give you a hug right now.
      Please know that your daughter’s “Preference” for her birth mother over you is really misplaced anger at her birth mother. I know, that doesn’t make it any easier, but perhaps eases the hurt for you?
      I used to get rageful at my mom when I was your daughter’s age. They lived through it, and you will too.
      Are you a member of adoptive parent support group?
      Seek one out!
      That is the best source of encouragement ever.
      Also, you may want to consider buying my book called “Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed.” I interviewed 20 sets of adoptive parents and their voices with so resonate with you. You will discover that you’re not alone in this journey called adoption.

  • Michelle

    My husband I adopted 2 boys about 14 yrs ago. They were taken from their mom and their dad just gave them up cause he didn’t want to deal with their behavior after he got out of prison. We received them at ages 6 and 7. They had been in the system since they were 1 and 2. He was actually the better parent we were told by DFS.
    We had 4 grown kids and knew these kids just needed a stable place to grow and learn and be encouraged. We were not expecting the screaming, crying, out and out lying and beligourant behavior. We knew it was no cake walk. And every counselor we had seen told us that it may be they are 30 before they realize that you you loved them enough to raise them and try and show them the way through life.
    The older one ran to marines cause we were kicking him out after HS. He was screaming and so angry and stole from us. He refused to be in on time and demanded his way constantly. I lived in fear when my husband traveled. We had tried to talk with them about their birth parents but that made them angrier.
    The younger one left home be fore high school was over cause some other family of his girlfriend stepped in and thought they could do whatever they want. he lived with their daughter who was 16 at the time. He had a free training program for a career he choose and a job in a great place after that. He walked on it all and now is a cook still living with the mother and girlfriend. Her parents divorced right after he moved in.
    I see adoptive kids blaming the adoptees as the bad guys or as if the adoptees just stole them. I see many adoptive parents trying to give kids a home, that’s it. A place to go, to grow and hopefully learn. Yes I think some may be abusive when pushed, cause the kids can push farther than you know. But to some of these kids any restriction of any kind, i.e. Video games, is evil and you can’t tell me what to do.
    I truly believe that if those kids could see the heart of the people who take them in their home to raise them and sacrifice for them, they would see a bigger picture and learn to love and know that most adoptive parents are for them not against them. I hurt for kids like fairlight who can’t see past hurt or how they invisioned how life should be and grow up angry instead of greatful. There are exceptions for severe abuse that should never happen.
    Thank you for this article. It has been 2 years since our young one left and it hurts beyond measure. The rejection is awful. We did try. Michelle

    • Dear Michelle,
      Of course you gave it all you had. You know that, but further and more importantly, God knows.
      It’s such a courageous step to adopt a child. Parents never know what trauma history is being brought into their home until all the things you listed above happen. To your child, acting this way was his normal.
      I can’t imagine the hurt and disappointment.
      I just prayed for you…for God’s comfort to flood you today.

    • Melissa

      Michelle, I know your story.It’s ours. Our boys came to us when they were 5 and 7. Too much trauma to relate, but my heart hurts not just for my husband and I but for the boys as well. Not much contact anymore and when we do it’s turbulent. I believe God has been with us, but it’s been a rough road and I agree the rejection is awful! Haven’t had many people that understand and some have been critical of us. Thanks for sharing your story.


  • Sherry

    My adopted daughter is about to turn 23. She has had an anger issue for about 15 years. She has shut me out completely, but not her Dad. I have taken her to more counselors than I can count, but there has been nothing to resolve her anger towards me. I have poured my heart and soul and being into being a good mother for her, yet she is disrespectful, hateful, and uncaring. Her dad and i divorced when she was 11. That didn’t help at all, but i really have tried everything to rebuild. She rejects me to this day.
    What should i do?

    • I hope you know that your daughter’s anger is not at you. It is misplaced anger….at the birth mother for placing her for adoption and disappearing from her life. I hear your heart and know you must be a great mom. My mom went through the same from me. Give her time and pray. She’s still young. Educate yourself like crazy.

  • Jeannette

    Just began to experience this deep rooted hatred from my 18 year adopted daughter a few months ago. I adopted my daughter as a single parent and I raised her as a single parent. She was loved my me and my entire family she decided to drop out of high school as a senior 5 months prior to graduation. Without any warning as we together was preparing her for college, she just left home with a young man who is a HS dropout, living with his mother. She found her birth mother who has been in and out of prison since the age of 13 and she encourage her not to listen to me but live her life. My daughter decided to follow the life of her birthday mother sleeping around, drugs and alcohol and she hates me. She was raised in the church and knows right from wrong but chooses to do wrong and now, I heard that she has said, she wish I were dead. I sacrificed my life for her and it like, I was living with a stranger. The strange part, she did not show this side of her until she was 18 and talked to her prison, prostitute birth mother. It hurts me deeply but I have no control of her actions since she only contacts me for money which I no longer provides to her. I want my good spirit, loving daughter back.

    • Oh, my gosh. What a horrific story.It is no reflection on the dedicated and loving parenting you gave your daughter.As you know, adoptees have trouble with anger, but know that it is misplaced. The anger directed at you is really anger at her birth mother. I am not a psychologist, but it sounds to me like she might have a personality disorder. My heart aches for you and I hope someday soon that your daughter wakes up to what is good. One suggestion….a friend taught me to pray against the lies. Pray against the lies your daughter is believing and ask Jesus to break their power over her. Hope this helps.

  • Jeannette

    I was raised in the church and I raised my daughter in the church therefore, I know the power of prayer and I have been praying even more along with my family, friends and my members of my church family. My daughter and I received therapy when she was younger so that she could discuss her inner feelings. Most people think this is crazy but, raising teens is not easy but the hardest part of understanding this is how she hid this side of her until she left home. Her family, friends and teacher all use to say she had a helping spirit, kind and loving. Teachers use to say they wished they had more kids in their classes like mine. I do not know her birth mother but I was provided her life details so I prepared my daughter in advance and tried to let her know that everyone does not have a happy ending when they had contact with their birth parents and I knew my daughter’s case would be unhappy
    I question my judgment know, thinking I should have lied to my daughter about her birth mother and spared her this additional pain. Her birth mother is now 38, 4 generations of women having children and giving them away. She had 5 children, my daughter is the oldest and now she has introduced herself to them in facebook. When I messaged her on facebook, I tried to tell her she has no right to give them any advice and bad advice to mention. She should not come into their lives and disrupt their toung lives which would effect their lives as well as their families and friends and she she laughed. Yes, my daughter and I need counseling but she does not want to have ANY communications with her family or friends only the birth mother and their families. I really want her to come home so that she and I can get the help that we both need BUT since I don’t know the person she is now, I am apprehensive about allowing her to come home. I live alone and I am not fearful of her but the people she surrounds herself with so I can I get her the help that she needs when she has no where else to go?

    • Oh, so sad.
      I am so sorry that your daughter is living out her adoptee fantasy of the perfect birth mother.
      Sooner or later, she will begin to see truth.
      If you are a person of faith, I encourage you to pray that God would shed light into the dark places of her heart.
      She’s behaving out of unresolved trauma….I know that is no comfort to you…just pray that she comes to the end of her fantasy life and that she will be open to God.
      I was horrible as a teen. I don’t know how my parents stood it. I came home pregnant at 20….yet, God had a plan for my life, just as he does for your daughter.
      Get counseling, find support from other parents, read a Psalm and a Proverb a day a lay your heart open to God.
      He will comfort you….I promise.

  • Gail

    My son came to us at 6wks of age after being in a foster home and hospital. His BM gave him up because she was in college. She was 21 yrs. of age. My son has been hateful toward me since he was a teenager. He is now 31. We are totally estranged now for two years, but he had been pulling away since teenage years with contact becoming less and less. He would only have time to talk to me when he needed money.
    Over the years he told his friends and other relatives I was a horrible mother and how much he hates me.
    Growing up, he had behavioral problems and saw counselors. None helped. When he was 17 and on his third counselor, he would go in and sit and not speak for 45 minutes unless to have an outburst and tell me how much he hated me and I did not deserve his love.
    His last visit with us was 2 yrs ago, and he told me to shut up several times and ridiculed me any chance he got in front of his girlfriend. He has told so many lies he would not know the truth if it smacked him in the face.
    I am tired of the “anger is for the birthmother ” and it is misplaced anger on the adoptive mother and that the adopted, really does love the A mom. Hog wash. If you love someone, you do not treat them like that and intentionally hurt them. He was brought up to know right from wrong and to be respectful to others. He was given love beyond measure and treated with respect.
    Would not recommend adoption to anyone after having gone through this and the pain it has caused. I sacrificed so much for my son, even giving up my career and homeschooling him when the school system failed him. The adoptive mothers pay a hefty price. This has really taken alot out of my life and all the stress, turmoil and emotional pain has taken a toll on my health. The real clincher? He has reunited with his birthmother. The 21 yr old that tossd him away because she wanted to party and have a good time and not raise a child. (She was not a teenager, nor forced to give up the baby. She just didn’t want him because she was selfish and would make no sacrifices) Everything is just wonderful between them and the son, girlfriend, grandson and the “real” mom are one happy family, while I was kicked to the curb. I never want to see or hear from him again and regret the day I adopted someone elses castoff child. He came to me already damaged by the birthmother, yet I get the blame for everything that he perceived was wrong in his life. If someone said they were thinking about adopting, I would sat get a dog instead. They will return your love and appreciate you, not rip you to shreds.

    • Oh my goodness, what a nightmare you are going through. I can’t imagine.I can’t imagine the rejection you feel.
      Adoption is so complex. When you adopted your son, you had no idea of the gene pool and background coming into your life.
      You poured yourself into him without reserve and you got a slap in the face back.
      I have no pat answers. No bandaids. No deep surgery to fix it all.
      I do have, although, a heart that understands.
      When I met my birth mother, I thought that the most wonderful things would happen, but she totally rejected me. It was devastating.
      The moment she was rejecting me, God brought this verse to my mind:
      “Can a mother forget about the child she has borne and have no pity…though she may, I will never forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands and your walls are always before me.” (Isiah 49: 15-16).
      Perhaps you can apply this to your horrific rejection.
      God is with you.
      He loves you deeply.
      Run to him and fall into his loving arms.

    • Judy willis

      I feel your pain. So sorry. My situation is similar.

      Bio mom was 26. Didnt want to raise a child but loved being pregnant. We met her when daughter was 21. Bio mom and I spent a day together.

      Out of her mouth came, she didn’t want to raise child, but wanted to connect with her when she was grown so that bio mom would have daughter and grandchildren.

      What? Did I hear that right ?

      I did. And today, it appears its turning out that way. I’m glad I was a mom, but not glad how its turned out.

      Seems like when the work was done, Bill’s all paid. Then bio mom moves in. Bio mom told me I had done a much better job than she could have ever done. That was 20 years ago.
      The last 21 things things are much different.

  • Asia Batchelor

    I can’t believe that I found this site! Our adopted son was born to a teenager with cerebral palsy. She loved him so much but knew that she could not take care of him. I wanted her in his life because I believed that she had a right to know her son and participate in his life. He did not want anything to do with her and he hated her because she was disabled and that she let him go. He and I were very close until he turned 10. He basically stopped going to school…he went of course but would not turn homework in, would not study for tests, would not participate at all. We tried a few different schools trying to get the right fit…nothing worked. We tried counseling…he would not participate. He started stealing and ended up in jail for self abuse. He did connect with a girl and has been with her for six years…he is 23 years old. They just had a baby. They refuse to let us see him. Neither of them return phone calls. I sent a care package with books for the baby and Easter goodies for them but they sent it all back. My heart is broken. We have not seen the baby for over three months and he is only 4-1/2 months old. I cry almost everyday. My husband and I are so heartbroken and sad. No words can express our grief. A friend asked me if I regretted adopting our son. We have great memories of his childhood but the later years have been so hard. Do you other adoptive moms regret adopting your children given the pain that we all seem to be going through? I don’t mean to sound cruel…I love him with all my heart…the pain is just so overwhelming.

    • My heart goes out to you.
      How painful.
      Since your son in not open to any kind of contact or help, I would encourage you and your spouse to seek out some.
      Look for a trauma-informed therapist who knows the realities of adoption.
      Take care of yourself….okay?
      Keep in touch.

  • J.D.

    I rejected my adopted mother because she never cared about me. She didn’t play with me as a child and she now claims that it’s because she found it “boring.” (Her word, not mine.) She never taught me much of anything, resulting in my being hobbled when trying to enter adult life. She also excused, allowed, and enabled my adopted father and adopted brother abusing me viciously, then invalidated me whenever I tried to talk about it or get help for it. So, my rejection of her was for good reason.

    All I ever wanted was somebody to love me. It didn’t have to be perfect — nothing ever is. But, I wanted respect as a human being and love and the care a child deserves. I never got that from my adopted family. I went through a lot of abuse from them all. I really don’t know why. As a child, I had a good disposition, I was happy, loving, interested in things, responsive to others. But, they just didn’t respond to any of that. It seems like they’re just damaged and have unresolved issues. I should never have had to bear the burden of that, though. I was angry for a while, particularly as a teenager. But, even then, I wasn’t really an angry person.

    One of the worst things about my experiences with them was the fact that I never felt love from them. I know, it’s reasonable not to feel love from people abusing you or enabling you to be abused. But, that’s not what I mean. When you’re around someone and they love you, it’s normal that you feel it in a visceral sense. It kind of comes off of them like warmth from a fire. But, my adopted family never exuded that — even before the abuse began. It made me feel so cold and unloved and alone. So, if there is any one thing I could recommend to adopted mothers (and fathers) to make their children feel better and more open and less angry, it’s that. Try to exude that feeling. Also, make sure that they are receiving it. Because your sending it out doesn’t mean that it’s being received. I can’t tell you how many times my adopted mother claimed to have that feeling, but I never felt it from her once. She also didn’t try to work on it so I could feel it, she just insisted that I should be feeling it, with the implication that it was my fault if I wasn’t. The thing is, I felt it from other people just fine. It was really only my adopted mother, my adopted father, and my adopted brother that seemed incapable. Teachers, friends, friends of the family, and even extended family could exude it just fine. What little I could get from them (and it was less because I was around others less than my adopted family) really helped to form a foundation for me, it helped me to feel more secure and strong and happy. It was so important to me. So, I’d say that’s an important thing to focus on, from the perspective of an adopted child.

    I hope the best for all of you and your loved ones.

    • It is so difficult to be abused…adopted and abused. I can relate. But, there is such a double bind. As adoptees, we think we should be grateful to have parents and after all, if we say anything bad about the hand that feeds us, then maybe, just maybe, we will be sent back to oblivion. Neglect from parents is so insidious. I experienced this also.
      Thank you for your heartfelt advice to adoptive parents.

    • You were a neglected child.
      So sad. And, abuse.
      You’re not alone…stay connected here, okay?

  • Shiva

    It really disturbs me that this is all about mothers. Where exactly are fathers? Do they have no responsibilities?

    • Of course, they have responsibilities. But, I can’t help but think that “womb time” makes us especially anxious to reconnect with the one who gave us our first home…even if the “home” wasn’t healthy.

  • Dawn

    I’m so glad I found these post. I too have an adoptive daughter who hates me
    It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m always a lier. A sneak and I play games according to her.
    Her adoptive mom is still alive living in a nursing home very close to my child but she never goes to see her. We adopted her as an adult
    So she had a say in this. We’ve known her for years. It seems like the adoption ruined our relationship. I’ve adopted other children. We know their Bio families and we are close to all them including this girls family. I don’t know what else to do. Can she still be experiencing misplaced anger even if she wanted and consented to the adoption?

    • I don’t know for sure if it is misplaced anger. I’m not a therapist.
      However, I know for sure it sounds like ungrieved adoption loss.
      What is the mental health history of your daughter who is so belligerent?
      A lot comes through genetics.


    just a thought…Perhaps if you had not supported the complete annihilation of her family/DNA history…

    we (adoptees) come to the realization of our loss/es at different times in our lives. Adoption is a hideous life-consuming/life changing event to engage in. BUT YOU DID. ACCEPT THIS.

  • Rebel…..I don’t hear what you are trying to say.

  • Ruthie

    I am an adoptive mom who has been hurting for the past ten years. Our daughter is 28 years old and we took her home from the hospital when she was three days old. We have love her with our whole hearts ever since. Her birth parents whose us and we had counseling with them for two months before she was born. They are of the same ethnicity, religion, family structure, education levels, and culture that we are. While not completely open, we always communicated with her birth mother, sending pictures and letters and she communicated with us about events in her life. We shared these things with our daughter and were completely open with her about the circumstances of her birth. She never had any interest in meeting her birth mother and seemed perfectly happy and adjusted in our family until she went away to college. she had every advantage, tons of love and acceptance, and extended family who cared for her. Yet, she turned into another person when she graduated from high school. She has been cold, distant, and hostile to both my husband and me and critical of everything about us and our families for the past ten years. She has been living with her boyfriend for the past four years and they are now engaged. We like him and approve of their marriage. We recently helped him pay off his loans and helped them with a down payment for their first house. He is of another culture and they plan a wedding with his family’s traditions. She does not care about any of our ideas, the traditions that she was raised with (which were the same as those of her birth family), does not want our input and does not want us involved in the wedding in any way except to pay for it. She is our only child and we are heartbroken. We could not love any child more dearly than we love her, yet she has been shutting us out of her life for the last ten years. We don’t know if she is this way because of adoption or if she would be this way regardless. She will not talk about it and will not go to counseling either with or without us, which we have offered to pay for. we pray for our relationship every day. She will always be our daughter and the child of our hearts and we will never give up on her, but we don’t know what else we can do to stop the pain that we feel.

  • ann


    I felt the need to reply here-
    I was adopted as a new born by the best Parents ever !
    and in my Heart they are my biological parents !
    It doesn’t matter whether they where no the one’s who “created you ”
    or not .
    it’s what in your heart that matters.
    I lost mom and dad early in life, mom died when I was 12, dad when i was 24.
    i have known i was adopted since i was about 2.
    i had the best life !!

    fast forward nearly 50 years later, i get a message through my ebay account because i sell there, the women who birthed me has been trying to find me.
    so, i told the agency who contacted me that i do not want her to contact
    me ever again .
    if i wanted contact i would have tried long ago !
    i found it rude that they tried, they knew the parents who adopted me ,
    they saw them in court when the adoption went through.

    so, to everyone who likes to criticize adoptees who don’t want to know
    the people who created them and that is what i call them since they really don’t deserve the title “parents” ,
    it is our right to not want to know or have contact with the so called
    people who created us !

  • in need

    sherrie ii want to ask it is important to an adopted child to meet his or her parents to put closure in the issue. how do u deal with the misplaced anger? please do help

  • Claire

    Dear Sherrie,

    Thank you for your post. We have talked about adoption with our son since he came to us at two days old, and there are no secrets about who he is. We have always felt that his genetic history is not ours to keep from him, so we are as transparent as we can be, given his age of 8 years. Bottom line is, I think he knows how much he is loved by us. He also knows that his birthmother took amazing care of him in utero, keeping him safe to the best of her ability, and loving him with all her heart and soul. While we currently have no contact with her, our son knows that we will help him find his birthmother if and when he is ready.

    We read both your “20 Things…” books when our son was a baby, and I cried the whole way through! But in a good way. I needed to face and embrace all those hard truths to be a better mom to my son.

    So, in spite of our best efforts, our son has a fierce anger. It surfaces every once in a while, and usually coincides with him reaching for more information who he is and where he came from. He saves this raw emotion for me, and not my husband. Thanks to your writings, I think I know where this ferocious emotion is coming from, so I thank you for giving me this insight. My question for you is, do I confront him with “I know why you are really angry with me’, or do I allow him to just be angry and come to his own truth about the ‘why’ as he gets older? At the age of eight I don’t know if he can grasp why he would feel anger towards me that is really intended for someone else.

    I want to help him and be there for him, but I know that can’t ‘fix’ him either… Thanks for your positive responses to all the comments on this thread.

    Aloha, Claire

  • Jane

    My nine-year-old adopted daughter adopted at birth in a closed adoption from bio mother, illegal an 18-year-old migrant worker. My daughter treats her older brother and Me like shit. I am so tired of making my daughter a priority when she is disrespectful is constantly angry and refuses to abide by the rules I think she may have been better off in poverty Living in the fields. I wish I could find her biological mother for her and they could have a relationship so my household is not destroyed. I told her that i will not allow her to ruin our family I want to have joy in my life I’ve overcome a lot of diversity and am well respected both personally and professionally professionally. my adopted daughter does not seem to want to have joy I have obtained a lot of help for her but it’s always two steps forward three steps back I think she should probably go to boarding school to get away from the mother who has given her everything yet she trements. she is hot and cold she goes she goes dark whenever she is disciplined and I can’t wait till she’s 18. Her college money aside and she can get an education and figure out her life if she cuts me out of her life as she has with many of you perhaps that will be a blessing

    • What kind of support do you have from other parents? If none, I strongly encourage you to follow “Confessions of An Adoptive Parent” blog and FB site. They have been and are in situations like you.

  • Ellen

    Thank you for this post. It helps to know I am not alone. My son is 8 years old, we adopted him through foster care when he was 1. He and I had a great relationship until recently. He has started acting out toward me on a daily basis. He doesn’t give my husband the same disrespectful, abusive treatment. I try not to take it personally but it’s really difficult sometimes. Yesterday was tough. I cried a lot. I’m trying my best and I love him. His anger is understandable. I hope we can work through it; life has become very hard for his sister too because the household feels like it’s in upheaval, and I feel at a loss to right the ship at this moment.

  • Robin

    Our daughter was in an orphanage from the time she was 3 days old. We went half way around the world to get her at 10 weeks old. The therapists we see said this isn’t enough time for attachment disorder…but it sure feels like it.

    In the last 2 years she withdrew from us. If I touch her she shudders and backs away. Recently we discovered she was self harming and she was hospitalized for depression. During that time I had to go through her books to look for things she might hurt herself with, only to discover things like “Dear God. I like my family but I don’t love them”. “Just because you’re my mother doesn’t mean I want you to be”. “My mom always makes me feel worse.” I felt like my world had been thrown upside down.

    After treatment, she insisted on going away to college – where she continues to go to therapy, but doesn’t communicate with us at all. 18 means we parents still pay for the treatment, but we don’t get to know anything about it.

    When we go to see her, she will appear for about half the planned family events but shares little, never asks anything about us, or even her dog. As soon as she can, she retreats saying she has to “study”. Or, even worse, she just doesn’t even show up. There are no “I love you”s, no hugs, no attempts at a relationship with any of us, but particularly with me.

    She will go to lunch with one of our female family friends and spend hours talking and laughing. But not with us. She says “I don’t have anything to say.” We are beyond crushed.

    I’m a cancer survivor. Going through chemo is easier than feeling the pain of being rejected by the child you prayed for, provided for, loved and supported. Sadly, I guess there’s no guarantee they will love you back.

  • I was adopted in the year of 2012 and I am 15 years old now. I feel like my adoptive mother really doesn’t love me she’s so strict compared to how she treats me to her two actual daughters and I always sit upstairs in my room and I try to avoid her as much as possible because it is not a happy life. She makes me feel bad about myself and tells me I need to change but sometimes it’s hard I’ve been going to counseling for seven years and I don’t know if it’s helping anything. When me and my adoptive mother gets into arguments I get tot he point where I begin to yell and I don’t know how to control I have not seen my birth mother in seven years and is my rejection towards my adoptive mother still happening now as the same emotions when I was first adopted and why is she so strict towards me only. Please help!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>