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Adoption secret discovered

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Dear Life Coach,

I am a 16-year-old female. I recently discovered that my parents adopted me when I was an infant; I found papers in an old brief case at home while I was searching for something. My parents were out at the time. I am an only child and I have always tried to obey and please my parents, who treat me very well, and are good examples in the community.{{more}} Now I find that they have been lying to me my whole life and I wonder what else they are hiding from me. I feel like my head is spinning and I do not know what to do. I have not said anything to my parents yet. I don’t know if I can ever forgive them or trust them again. What should I do?

Adopted Child (AC)

Dear AC,

I am so sorry that your world has been turned upside down.

Your Situation

There are several factors at work in your situation including the following: deception, fear, distrust, identity crisis, and confusion, among others. I will address these briefly.

Deception/Fear

Your parents have led you to believe something that is not true: that they are your biological parents. They have neglected to share with you potentially life transforming information at an early age in a way that you could understand. When children are young, adoptive parents often wait, hoping for the right time to inform their son or daughter. Sometimes adoptive parents are afraid that their adopted children will stop loving them if they are told the truth about their birth. The longer they wait, the harder it becomes and before they know it the child is a teenager, and the fear of losing their love is even greater.

Identity

Crisis/Confusion/Distrust

As a teenager, it is understandable that this has thrown you into an identity crisis. Adolescence is that period in life when young people seek to figure out who they are and what they want to become (develop an identity) in order to progress through their development in a healthy fashion. You thought you understood your parents and your life, but now you are confused about who you really are, who your biological parents are, and where they might be. You are also unable to trust the parents who raised you and you wonder what else they might be hiding.

What to Do

Seek Clarification

You need to talk with your parents to get clarification on: your biological parents; personal data (e.g. birth name etc); and why you were not informed. Talking to your parents may be difficult, as you are still in shock and no doubt angry, but it is a necessary step towards a resolution.

Empathy

After you have had some clarity on what occurred, try to look at things from your parents’ point of view (put yourself in their position). Maybe then you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive them, although what they did was not right.

Seek Counseling

Find a counselor or a trusted adult (e.g. aunt/uncle, pastor, school counselor) to talk to and help you get through this tough time.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness means to give up the anger that you feel when wronged by someone, and not seek to take revenge on that person(s), whether or not it was deliberate. When we are wronged we often feel frustrated, vulnerable, and debased/inadequate. This in turn leads to anger. When anger is left unresolved, it can be destructive, unless we make a conscious decision to forgive.

Steps to Forgiveness

Understand that forgiveness is mainly for your benefit, and not so much for the benefit of your parents.

Admit that although your parents have hurt you, you still love them and need them in your life.

Try to see things the way your parents were looking at it; they were trying to protect themselves from losing your love.

Understand that you have high expectations of your parents: honesty and trustworthiness. However, they are imperfect, and they made a mistake by not telling you that you were adopted.

Make a conscious decision to put their mistake behind you and move on (forgiveness), knowing that your parents could make another mistake.

Know that forgiveness does not mean condoning the wrong, but it means moving past the wrong that was done.

Know that processing your anger and reaching a stage of forgiveness may take some time.

AC, I hope that you get clarification and that your family will remain intact.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.X

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