“What is it like to be adopted?” asks Social Psychology Today

People have asked me what is it like to have been adopted. I usually do not answer with “first, you tell me what it is like to be raised by your birth parents, so then I can point out some possible differences.” (Note: sarcasm is not unique to people who were adopted, nor is it universal amongst them.)

One of the next most popular questions that I get is “what was it like to meet your birth mother? Did you experience powerful emotions?”

Well, yes, it was powerful. Specifically, it was a lot like an adopted person finally meeting their birth mother….

For one thing, it altered my relationship with my adoptive family. People who knew me before and after that point in my life might have some interesting comments about how that may have changed me. I do know that it changed me, but I do not typically think about how to explain exactly what changed or how. Basically, I am very grateful to have had the privilege of interacting frequently with my birth mother (and the opportunity to connect with other biological kin).

Also, from talking with other people who have met their birth mothers, I am clear that different people have very different experiences. Not all birth mothers are the same as mine. In some details, many are similar. In all details, she is unique.


By the way, I mentioned all of this primarily to set up the next transition. So far, to recap, by now you are probably clear that I do not think of it as especially unusual to have been adopted. If I ever did think that, then meeting lots of other people who were adopted probably broadened my perspective on the issue. Dozens of people have dozens of experiences. Thousands of people have thousands. I am just one amongst a multitude.

So, next is a quick reference to a relatively insignificant comment that a lawyer made to me in the early 1990s in reference to being adopted. The comment itself was somewhat insignificant, but the following is my attempt to present some of what was unusual to me about having been adopted. Most people would not have a casual conversation in their early 20s with a lawyer like the following.

One of the most unusual incidents that I recall was being told that everything on my birth certificate could be inaccurate.​ I became unusually curious not just about the reality of my biological origins, but the practices of governments to publicize misinformation and to protect (as in hide) the truth.

I was generally aware by then that governments regulate all legal documents, such as when a government agency intentionally creates fraudulent documents. That could be done for someone in a witness protection program or for a high-priority employee of the government, such as a spy or undercover police officer.

If a government agency wants to create an inaccurate document, they have certain regulations to follow about how to create documents that could be used with the specific purpose to deceive. They regulate deception and fraud. They have specific protocols to make it work well.

So, relatively early in my life, I faced the simple reality that governments regulate specific patterns of behavior such as fraud. They do not eliminate fraud. They just regulate it.

In fact, they thrive on secrecy and even deceptive methods such as fraud, including in the conduct of warfare as well as undercover officers whose core methodology is deceptive. Next, these powerful governing networks monopolize their methods by criminalizing fraud when performed by someone who is not licensed within that particular operation of organized coercion, such as a national government or the Holy Roman Inquisition.

In regard to my birth certificate, I also learned that the legal category of “parent” was defined by the legal authorities however they wished. At some point in the development of legal systems, some people made a new legal category called “legal guardian,” but prior to that time, “parent” was used to refer to someone who was the legal parent of the child according to the court system (as distinct from the actual biologicla parent, which was called, for contrast and clarity, a  “biological parent.”)

So, I learned about legal systems and language in ways that most people simply would never consider. In other words, I learned to think in ways that could be deemed irrelevant to most people. They do not need to care about issues that were important to my well-being. For most people, they were sufficiently successful that they could prosper without any special attention to some of the issues of great interest to me.

However, in my youth, I did experience many luxuries from living in the jurisdiction of the dominant political superpower on the planet and growing up there in a suburban middle-class household. Yet, I did not receive some of the favoritism that middle-class parents may often give to their own biological children. So, I developed self-reliance (especially certain analytical abilities) to an extent that seems to be quite unique amongst my peers.

For instance, how many people do you know that would calmly (even dismissively) talk about the organized coercion of all governments? If people do notice that the foundamental behavior of all governments is coercion (as in involuntary enforcement), then people- especially Libertarians- tend to condemn the coercive behavior of certain governments as if coercion (or fraud) was remarkbly unusual in the history of human governments. In other words, people tend to be scared of social disapproval and then condemn certain instances of coercion (or coercion in general) in order to attract social approval for them and for their condemnations.

I am quite interested in such topics of social psychology. I am also interested in propaganda and the indoctrinating programs of governments and other special interests. Note that, in my estimation, governments by definition are all operations created by special interests and of course directed by special interests.

Governments do not just magically appear eventually like puberty. Powerful groups create them intentionally.

So, what other people find shameful and even infuriating, I may find only intriguing or even quite boring. Some people find something so terrifying that they condemn that reality reflexively so as to interrupt any reference to the shameful thing. Without joining in their obsession on a particular subject, I tend to find their reflexive, terrified condemnation to be potentially fascinating.

Why do so many people condemn their own past by saying things like “that should not have happened?” If something happened, then what is the point of adding that “it should not have happened?”

Because of an expectation of better results from such displays of condemnation of the past (such as regret), people may attempt to avoid punishments or attract rewards by condemning certain elements of the past. I have found, oddly enough, that most people that interest me are really not that interested in my opinion.

I value outcomes like receiving monetary payments from others to produce certain results that they value. Generally speaking, sharing my opinions about “what should never happen” or “what should never have happened” have not attracted large sums of money.

Do I say that in my youth, my adoptive parents should not have been so much like how they were? Do I say that I should not have been adopted? Do I say that I should not have been born?

People sometimes even say dramatic things like “I wish that I had not been born.” What is the purpose of such assertions? Is someone going to overhear that and be attracted to “rescue” the speaker?

Can I attract the attention of the doctor if I complain the right way? Can I get a day off from school (or work)  if I declare that I am too sick and should stay home? If I tell the cops that I saw my neighbor doing something suspicious, will I get some reward money or at least some TV coverage?

Sympathy is an important target for some people who are willing to use deception and fraud. They want to attract charity. “You probably do not know that there are some horrible rich people who have much more money than both of us, so therefore now that I have so courageously informed you of my condemnation of them, you personally should give me a donation in order to earn your way in to heaven and avoid the eternal tortures of a hell of guilt, which you will deserve if you are bad like those horrible people who are horribly rich and would give me donations if they were as kind and noble and holy as you.”

Sympathy pleas simply did not work so well for me as for some other people- though I have received much more charity than most people on this planet ever have. In particular, back to the issue of favoritism, my adoptive parents also had a biological child in addition to me. I know that even in the case of identical twins, in which genetics, age, and sex are the same for both children, there will be eventual differences in parental treatment, such as based on the differing behavior of the twins, right?

Eventually, at a certain point, I became interested in testing how my adoptive family would respond to various kinds of emergencies in my life. Would they turn their attention away from other concerns, such as their biological child, in order to “rescue” me?

In different ways, I have also watched with interest how my birth mother has responded to various dramas in my life. I also recall my birth mother asking me how much my adoptive family was helping me in regard to certain issues. Did she want to avoid “encroaching on their territory?”

I learned to reflexively display allegiance to my adoptive family. At one time, it was important for my well-being. Other people learn to reflexively display allegiance to their biological family.

In my case, the habit of claiming allegiance to my adoptive family has diminished since I met some of biological family members. By the way, I could have said that many paragraphs ago. It’s not like I did not know that several paragraphs ago, right?

Anyway, I apologize because I obviously should not have done what I did. Instead, I should have done what I should have done.

On that same theme, should I also display allegiance to the local organization of organized coercion? Well, let me say that I ferociously and bravely condemn them in public for all the things that they should have done but did not do (or should not have done but did do). However, I simply did not notice anything remarkable enough to talk about it any further at this point.

Stay tuned for more of my very valuable opinion very soon. I will give you a full list of all the things that, if you publicly condemn those things in obedient parroting of my opinion, will earn you anywhere from seventeen and a half brownie points to nine thousand and four brownie points. Those will be very useful when you die and have the opportunity to either cash them in as a bribe to buy some eternal paradise… or else are thrown in to hell for eternity as punishment for your lack of enthusiastic parroting of all that I dictate to you to be politically correct.

In summary, if you wish to stop experiencing the misery of condemning the past as something that should not have happened the way that it did, there is only one way to salvation. In order to stop condemning the past, you must discontinue the practice of condemning the past.

There is no alternative method, such as being very charitable to compensate for how guilty or ashamed you claimed to be for having a past that you claimed should not have been how it was. Adopting a child will not earn you salvation. Displaying allegiance to the right institution will not bring you relief from the perfectionist’s misery of condemning the past.

However, if you wish to do things for social approval or for the sheer fascination you experience for the subject, please only do it if that is NOT something that you NOT should do according to any ideology of “what you should NOT do” that you may happen to currently worship. Finally, please avoid condemning reverse psychology, because reverse psychology is the absolute worst thing ever to avoid condemning. 😉


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