An Adoptee’s Perspective: 10 Things Adoptive Parents Should Know

Posted by admin on December 2, 2013

An Adoptee’s Perspective:

10 Things Adoptive Parents Should Know

By Christina Romo


1. Adoption is not possible without loss. Losing one’s birth parents is the most

traumatic form of loss a child can experience. That loss will always be a part of

me. It will shape who I am and will have an effect on my relationships—

especially my relationship with you.

2. Love isn’t enough in adoption, but it certainly makes a difference. Tell me every

day that I am loved—especially on the days when I am not particularly lovable.

3. Show me—through your words and your actions—that you are willing to weather

any storm with me. I have a difficult time trusting people, due to the losses I have

experienced in my life. Show me that I can trust you. Keep your word. I need to

know that you are a safe person in my life, and that you will be there when I need

you and when I don’t need you.

4. I will always worry that you will abandon me, no matter how often you tell me or

show me otherwise. The mindset that “people who love me will leave me” has

been instilled in me and will forever be a part of me. I may push you away to

protect myself from the pain of loss. No matter what I say or do to push you

away, I need you to fight like crazy to show me that you aren’t going anywhere

and will never give up on me.

5. Even though society says it is PC to be color-blind, I need you to know that race

matters. My race will always be a part of me, and society will always see me by

the color of my skin (no matter how hard they try to convince me otherwise). I

need you to help me learn about my race and culture of origin, because it’s

important to me. Members of my race and culture of origin may reject me because

I’m not “black enough” or “Asian enough”, but if you help arm me with pride in

who I am and the tools to cope, it will be okay. I don’t look like you, but you are

my parent and I need you to tell me—through your words and your actions—that

it’s okay to be different. I have experienced many losses in my life. Please don’t

allow the losses of my race and culture of origin to be among them.

6. I need you to be my advocate. There will be people in our family, our school, our

church, our community, our medical clinic, etc. who don’t understand adoption

and my special needs. I need you to help educate them about adoption and special

needs, and I need to know that you have my back. Ask me questions in front of

them to show them that my voice matters.

7. At some point during our adoption journey, I may ask about or want to search for

my birth family. You may tell me that being blood related doesn’t matter, but not

having that kind of connection to someone has left a void in my life. You will

always be my family and you will always be my parent. If I ask about or search

for my birth family, it doesn’t mean I love you any less. I need you to know that

living my life without knowledge of my birth family has been like working on a

puzzle with missing pieces. Knowing about my birth family may help me feel more complete.

8. Please don’t expect me to be grateful for having been adopted. I endured a

tremendous loss before becoming a part of your family. I don’t want to live with

the message that “you saved me and I should be grateful” hanging over my head.

Adoption is about forming forever families—it shouldn’t be about “saving” children.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I may need help in coping with the losses I have

experienced and other issues related to adoption. It’s okay and completely normal.

If the adoption journey becomes overwhelming for you, it’s important for you to

seek help, as well. Join support groups and meet other families who have adopted.

This may require you to go out of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it. Make

the time and effort to search for and be in the company of parents and

children/youth who understand adoption and understand the issues. These

opportunities will help normalize and validate what we are going through.

10. Adoption is different for everyone. Please don’t compare me to other adoptees.

Rather, listen to their experiences and develop ways in which you can better

support me and my needs. Please respect me as an individual and honor my

adoption journey as my own. I need you to always keep an open mind and an

open heart with regard to adoption. Our adoption journey will never end, and no

matter how bumpy the road may be and regardless of where it may lead, the fact

that we traveled this road together, will make all the difference.



Christina Romo is an adoptee who was adopted from South Korea at age 2.

She works for a child welfare organization and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their two sons. This piece was posted on her blog, Diary of a Not-So-Angry Asian Adoptee


Please contact Christina at if you wish to use or distribute this piece.

Comments Welcome

Posted by Robin Marsh on
I want to share this with my sister! Her family adopted an 11 year old boy from the Ukraine about a year ago. To say the least, things have been difficult. My sister is Kimberly Thompson, and her email is
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