There has been much discussion in recent years about the word "adoptee," and a recent trend toward "adopted person," "adopted child," etc. As always with adoption language, it's wise to listen to how someone refers to her/himself... or ask.
Adoptees are the only party to an adoption without a voice. While adults make (and are expected to make) many decisions on behalf of their children, adoption is the only decision made for children that displaces them permanently. This isn't to say that adoptive placements can't be positive, growth-enhancing, and give adoptees a loving, supportive environment, but it can never negate the fact that there is another family out there with whom the adoptee is intimately connected. How adoptees acknowledge (or don't) and come to terms (or don't) with this dual 'belonging' is a question each adoptee has to answer for her/himself.
In a presentation at an Australian conference, Sarah Armstrong, an adoptee and counselor with PARC, said, "The average adoptee lives a life quite separate and distinct to the other parties to an adoption. That's an obvious statement, but is, I believe, often forgotten by both the natural and the adoptive parents. The adoptee's reality is based on remembered and unremembered truths, on gains and on losses. For some adoptees, their adoption is central to their lives and the way they know themselves. For others, it barely registers as a significant event. This is hard to believe, but it is true. Only a quarter of adoptees embark upon a reunion with their natural mother or father. Three quarters, therefore, live their lives without reconnecting. Perceptions about the degree to which these adoptees are in denial vary!" (read more...)
Armstrong's comments bring to mind words written two decades earlier by adoption experts Sharon Kaplan and Deborah Silverstein: "Society promulgates the idea that the "good" adoptee is the one who is not curious and accepts adoption without question. At the other extreme of the continuum is the "bad" adoptee who is constantly questioning, thereby creating feelings of rejection in the adoptive parents." (read more...)
For a greater exploration: