A Letter of Love and Empowerment for Adoptees

This week has been a week of powerful connections. I’ve connected with incredible people doing the work of adoption awareness in Colorado, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.

I’ve linked with adoptees who are brave and courageous, taking on the journey of finding themselves. Facing the fear of rejection and disappointment. Walking through that fear.

It’s a long and difficult walk. Adoptees have, for far too long, been told what to think, feel, and believe. We’ve been silenced, judged, and misunderstood. Adoptees are a population of people who have had basic rights taken from them: the right to freedom of information, the right to dignity of identity, and the right to know their full story—their history.

A life is shifted, removed, re-directed, left upside down, and society has offered up this advice: don’t feel, don’t say a word, don’t scream, don’t cry—just stay quiet. Don’t ask about your past or what happened to those who are no longer here. They are gone. No need to linger in what no longer is. Be grateful. Move on.

There are many well-meaning people who advocate on the adoptee’s behalf. All too often, though, these same individuals aren’t fluent in what it means to be an adoptee. They haven’t lived in that skin. They’re not adopted. They hold compassion and empathy, and for that I’m grateful. Only, adoptees speak a special language—something unique has been coded into our very DNA.

We feel each other’s stories on a visceral level—not from a place of intellect. No, what we feel from each other is instinctual. It’s primal. We are pilgrims on a long migration, turning ourselves inside out in order to find our way home.

That home may be five-thousand miles away or it may be much closer—waiting within us. The pilgrimage is real, however. For every adoptee, there is a wandering and a wondering.

I have wandered thousands of miles to find me. I have wondered, with eyes wide-open in the pitch dark of night, who I am. I have asked myself and my God why a part of me must lie dormant in order to stay safe—living as half a person while desperately wanting to be whole.

Wholeness is the adoptee’s birthright. Learning to ask for wholeness is our lesson in life. Understanding that we can—we must—ask for what we need. And, knowing that we are worthy of receiving it. All of it.

This year, for me, is about more connection. I need to speak the language of adoption with those who also speak it fluently. I desire kinship with adoptees on a wider, deeper, and more intrinsic level.

I’m calling out to you, dear adoptee.

Can you hear me?

If we’re to bring about impactful change in the area of adoption—if we’re to be true change makers—it will take the adoptee’s voice. Each and every voice. No matter our perspective. No matter our experience.

It’s time to take back our power. Time to lead. Not with anger but with forgiveness. Not with pity but with promise. Not with judgment but with understanding.

We can’t live as half of a people anymore. Our stories are too important for that. We come with a full story, beginning at chapter one. We hold a wealth of wisdom and it’s time to shine a light on the knowledge we possess. We are more powerful than we may think. More powerful than we’ve been told…

To be free takes courage and a will to be responsible to ourselves.

Where are you hurting, dear adoptee? What space needs to be filled? What facts needs to be uncovered? What identity needs to be claimed? What history needs to be revealed?

We can seek these truths together. We can become stronger together. Hand-in-hand, we can support one another in this way. We are pilgrims seeking freedom. We are freedom seekers.

So, this is my love letter to you, dear adoptee. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m writing to you. Here, in the silence of my room. Here, alone in the dark, but more in the light than I’ve ever been before.

I’m calling out.

We are powerful. Let’s stand up.

We have a voice. Let’s use it.

We have wisdom. Let’s share it.

We’re needed. Let’s unite.

We don’t need anyone to speak for us. We need everyone to listen to us.

Where do we begin?

We begin by sharing our stories. We start by being real. We transform our lives when we’re willing to take the risk and reveal ourselves as we are.

What’s the story you need to share? What freedom do you seek?

Dear, adoptee.

Reach out to me. I’m here.






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2 thoughts on “A Letter of Love and Empowerment for Adoptees

  1. Hi Michelle,
    My 8 year old daughter is adopted thru foster care. She was born addicted to heroine and her prognosis was terrible!!! Possible Autism and cerebral palsy and learning difficulty. She doesn’t know her parents where drug addicts- just that they could not care for her and knew we could give her a good home loved her.
    She has super surpassed everything! She does competitive cheer and is Currently scoring 30% or more above where her testing says she should be. She is So Loved and cherished….. and sadly struggling with not knowing her “tummy mom.”
    I am struggling big time to help her….. but feel as though It’s not enough. Some days she seem angry at me. I have her in play therapy off off and on since she was 5.
    Is there anything else I can do or say that can help her? How much more do I tell her?

    My parents died when I was ten in a fire. I was rescued that night and have my had many stuggles myself. So I understand a lot.
    Just a different situation. She knows about it and I have tried to let her know I understand.

    She is still very young and I want her to have as much info as she can handle…… but not sure how much is too much? What else can I do to support her and help her?

    1. Hi Sherri, thank you for reaching out to me, here. I’m deeply moved by your obvious love for your daughter, and by your willingness to understand her journey and to approach her with openness and transparency. I’m also incredibly proud of her! I hope you’ll share that message with her. Just look at how she shines her beautiful light! She is surpassing and thriving in so many wonderful ways. I do understand the “missing” of our bio mothers. There’s just an ache that exists and I know how much that can hurt. I also know, as a mama myself, that we want to take that hurt away. Yet, our kids will face disappointment and pain in life. As parents, we can do so much by letting them know and feel that we’re with them, and that they’re not alone. As parents-by-adoption, we can also do so much by allowing our children to feel the grief of their stories, and to allow them to explore their feelings and talk about their bio parents in a safe and nurtured space. You’re offering diverse ways for your daughter to explore her feelings and I honor you for that. I would offer up that her anger-quite possibly-is not really directed “at you,” but “at the hurt.” It might appear that she’s angry “at you,” but I know (as a child) I too was angry at the hurt, and at the sense of missing pieces inside of me. Keep loving her, as you do. Keep letting her know that you’re here to understand, to listen, and to do so without judgement. You are your daughter’s mother and you know her. Follow her lead as you engage in conversation about her adoption story. If she’s asking, she’s likely ready to hear in ways, of course, that are age appropriate. The worst thing we can do as parents is withhold our children’s truths. Be present during your conversations, let her know that she’s safe to share, and let her know that your love is unconditional. Also, let her know that you will always be transparent with the information you have about her story and, as her mother, will share in ways that are appropriate and healthy for her. I also hope that you’ll be kind to yourself, along this journey of motherhood. You, too, are not alone. I’m so happy that you’re here with us. If you desire additional support, you can reach out to me at LifeCoachMMB.com. With gratitude, Michelle.

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