Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

What does “feelings of abandonment” actually mean?

with 7 comments

I’ve noticed that many of the adoptees on this forum mention experiencing feelings of abandonment.

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but what do feelings of abandonment actually feel like? How does it actually make you feel? Do you feel alone? How does it affect your life growing up? Do you have difficulty with trust and forming relationships with others?

Sorry, I am not trying to be stupid or insensitive, I just don’t really know what it feels like. I’m doing a project for school about adoption, and I think it’ll be a lot better if I can actually understand what it’s like to be adopted.

All answers appreciated. The more details the better, please.

Thanks so much. :)

I’m still in denial about this. I’m actually pretty cut off from my emotions and can’t describe what I’m feeling most of the time. I only found out about this, and that I probably have it, because other people tell me I must feel this way. So I’m still deducing what it actually is/feels like, and the way I do that is by surveying everything else, since the abandonment issue is like a hole that can’t be defined.

What I can do, however, is tell you the symptoms of what might indicate this feeling:

People who are warm and inviting cause alarms in my head to go off, and I push them away.

I expect everyone to be forthright and honest, and am always disappointed: my standards are so high no one can possibly meet them, and I am highly critical of everyone who gives up and/or is selfish in a relationship.

I never believe people I want to be close to will bother being vested in me, so I don’t bother to try.

“I’m a loner!” I say too often, as if it were something to be proud of.

I don’t join things or participate in things: I belittle such social activities as trite, superficial, and a waste of time.

When others around me are forming relationships, I count the days until its demise.

I don’t believe anything real lasts anything longer than a blink of an eye.

I don’t take down phone numbers. I don’t call. I don’t visit anyone. It seems like a waste of time and effort.

I believe everyone, friends, especially, will eventually **** on me.

I always keep my emotions under control. I disdain those that don’t.

How does this all add up? How does this feel? It feels like I am in a fight, and I’m always prepared for the worst. If I let down my guard, then something really horrible could happen.

I guess that something is abandonment.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not totally socially inept – people like me, some think I’m charming, some admire me, many respect me, some even love me. But there is always this inaccessible part of me that I will always keep remote and protect. And if I let anyone go there, I feel I will die.


Written by girl4708

August 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Q&A

7 Responses

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  1. My son, who is 11 1/2, will tell you that it feels like holes in his heart. He was fortunate enough in April to meet his Halmoni and younger brother (his birth mother is MIA right now). He still has a hole for his birth mother, but Halmoni and HoIk have filled most of the hole. For him, he misses Korea – he feels that he should get to have that culture and his American one too. He is already studying the language, along with my daughter and myself.
    I would love to join your campaign for adoptee rights to their records. My son was adopted through Eastern, and by being pushy we got them to search and find his birth mother’s family. During that time we learned that the information we got in 1997 was not accurate. The translation was awful and only gave a bare bones of their story. We still have not been allowed to have those papers in their original Korean.
    My daughter is adopted through Holt, and they are not so helpful. Part of the new laws should include that the adoptive parents get to see all of the paperwork. That way it is not lost over time. It is in Korea and in the US. Holt will not let us see my daughter’s record. They charged us $50 to open it and tell us what hospital she was born at, and if her family name of Min was truly her birth mother’s name (it was). Only my daughter can have her paperwork at age 18, and after all I have seen I am sure she will have a difficult time getting it.
    If you think of a role for parents like myself, whose children are very aware of their Korean-ness, who want to know NOW, not at 18 and beyond, I would love to help.
    Thank you.

    Toni Stevens-Oliver

    August 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm

  2. Thank you for the comment. This is very encouraging how much you care about your children’s emotional well-being. I think most people adopting have NO CLUE what family really means, and then they meet its absence head on as they try to create a new one, and then what we adult adoptees are saying starts to be something to embrace or deny harder.

    As you have found out, and first mothers and adoptees find out, the records access is a nightmare.

    Yes there is a role for enlightened adoptive parents! Please go to my facebook group, Korean Adoptees for Fair Records Access, and join. There is a link there to sign TRACK’s position for adoptee inclusion in Korean adoption law, and adoptive parents are welcome to sign it. TRACK is the thorn of conscience in the side of the adoption industry, and they are forcing the issue and not letting it get brushed aside. TRACK gets things done.

    Bless You!


    August 12, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  3. I wanted to add that I applaud you for not only having your son learn Korean, but having your whole family, yourself included, is key.

    I wish I’d had that kind of engagement – really valuable meaningful engagement – growing up adopted.


    August 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

  4. I m really impressed with your work. I m glad to have read this article. It was a great way of putting forward your ideas on this subject…… I m relieved to find such good work after going through such pains in searching for the appropriate matter for my project……. Congratulations.

    koi fish drawings

    January 22, 2010 at 6:13 am

  5. thanks! what’s your project?


    January 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

  6. This is one of the best blogs I’ve ever read. I m absolutely thrilled to get to read such a good blog. The amount of information that I gained is really great. This is an absolute masterpiece. I m really impressed. I would love to read more of your blogs. Please keep posting…….. Keep up the good work………..


    January 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

  7. It feels like having been dead and preferring death only to be told one has to live amongst the living dead.


    October 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm

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