An interview with an adopted child

Today we are bringing you an anonymous post from an adoptive mum who interviewed her son.
He’s 9 and has been home for 8 years, developmentally he’s doing mostly fine, although lacks some emotional understanding.
The mum involved wants to stress that this was conducted with express permission from her son, who understands that his answers are going to be published online – he wants to get his views across…

Do you know what adoption means?

Yes I do.

Why do people have to be adopted?

Because their mum and dad can’t look after them properly, even though they might want them to stay.

Do you feel different to your friends?

Yeah, because I’m adopted and they’re not. But I like football and they like football so in some ways we’re not different….I don’t know why I feel like I am. I just am.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be adopted?

Not sure…well it’s a bad thing of course.

Do you ever think about your birth mum?

Sometimes…not sure what though. I want to see my birth dad sometimes too.

Would you like to meet your brothers and sisters?

Yes.

What would you say to them?

I don’t know. We’d probably argue like I do with <my adoptive sister>.

Do you think it’s good that people want to adopt…

Yes, so like the child/ren won’t be treated bad, because the first parents might treat the child bad. They might tell lies to them which is bad, or they might smoke, or do the wrong stuff like feeding the wrong milk, or maybe worse.

Do you think it’s good that you were adopted then?

Yes, kind of…it makes me feel sad, but I don’t know why. But it is a good thing.

Would you like to meet some other children who are adopted?

Yeah, it would be cool.

What would you talk about?

I dunno, like other boy stuff –football probably. Maybe the other things they’re into.

If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to be adopted – my birth parents might be nice, but they didn’t treat me right and I might have died as a baby.

Do you think children should get to choose their adoptive parents?

Yeah older kids should be able to.

Do you think you should have got to choose?

Yeah, but I was only like a year old, a baby, so I couldn’t have made a choice, and anyway, there was only you to choose from wasn’t there??!!

Is there anything you want to say to people who are thinking about adoption?

Yes, be careful because the child you want to adopt might be ill. Or they might have things wrong in their brain – like me. Like it didn’t all grow properly. Be careful and learn about brain stuff, and having fun because love and cuddles and having fun can help fix a kids brain, even when it’s really broken like I think mine is. Hang on…if my brain hasn’t grown properly is there a hole in it where my memories might fall out? Is that why I forget stuff at school?

Thank you to our interviewer and interviewee, it’s very insightful to see how a young man thinks and feel about adoption. We know that the conversation continued with questions that are more personal and pertinent to the individual, and mum felt like she’d had a real breakthrough and a proper connection moment. This is the first time she’s ever talked with her son in such a structured manner.
Have you ever had a conversation like this with your children? It’s quite frank, is that an approach you would use?

6 thoughts on “An interview with an adopted child

  1. Gem

    Thank you to both this young Man and his mum for sharing this interview and the insights it brings. It’s hard to read because I guess we all want our children to be ok with the fact that they’re adopted and for our love to wash it all away. We know that’s not the case. Losing your birth family is never ok, I know that from personal experience, but I still find it hard to read the reality. What this interview highlights for me is the need for us to be as big an emotional crash mat as possible to cushion all these feelings as much as we’re able. This structured interview is a great idea as well. Thank you again x

    Reply
  2. Lou Futter

    Thankyou for writing and publishing this. And thankyou to your son who sounds a remarkable little boy. It is so timely to read. My adopted son is 9 and talks about his experience in such a similar way. It’s a challenge to help him understand the complexities of adult choices and behaviours. He struggles to understand why his birth parents couldn’t keep him safe and we find it hard to explain in a way that’s appropriate to his level of emotional maturity. But, like you we are keen and frank and he feels able to initiate talks about it regularly. It was interesting to read your son was keen to talk to other adopted children. My son talks to his younger sister, a full sibling who we also adopted at the same time.That tends to happen with me there. Its not something we’ve yet considered to help him to do with other other adopted children. Maybe the next step. I wish I could do more to help him deal with the sadness and the loss. I also worry about how to explain his adoption without giving him more questions and confusion. He is angry that his ‘brain doesn’t work properly’ and I feel this will be an issue we will have to give him alot of support with as a teenager. Your interview has left me feeling motivated to consider this more. And reassured I am on the right track to have these open conversations with him. Thankyouxxx

    Reply
  3. Gareth Marr

    Really insightful words from a child adopted at a young age. The message for those those thinking about adoption is more powerful coming from an adoptee and should be listened to. I feel some prospective adopters do feel an infant would be easier, without fully understanding the effect of trauma pre and post natal. The voices of adoptees need to be heard and I thank mum and son for publishing this. It would be interesting to see if the structured interview works well for others. Could you publish a list of all the questions?

    Reply
    1. tasocial Post author

      Thanks for your comment Gareth. We’ll try to obtain a full list of the questions, and publish it as soon as we can x

      Reply
  4. Permanentlyinapickle

    Wonderful. What an insightful young man. Thanks for sharing. I have sat and spoken to Pickle in this manner albeit some time ago. It may be interesting to hear his responses now he is better able to verbalise his feelings. Keep talking!

    Reply

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