Growing up adopted

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 21 November 2001.

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The majority of adopted people in the survey had thought about one or more of their birth relatives when growing up. Over 80 per cent. of both searchers and non-searchers had wondered what their birth relatives looked like, and whether they might look like their birth relative. Seventy percent of searchers and 74 per cent. of non-searchers said they did not feel comfortable asking their adoptive parents for information about their birth families and their origins. Searchers (70 per cent.) were more likely than non-searchers (48 per cent.) to wonder why their birth mother placed them for adoption.

``I think that everybody who is adopted, it always crosses their mind.'' ``I wonder if this bit's like her, or I wonder if that bit's like her?'' ``I was about five or six months when I was adopted and I wanted to know what happened in that part of my life that nobody knew. Or just to ask the question, `Why did you have me adopted? Why didn't you struggle?'''

Fifty percent of searchers said they felt different to their adoptive family when they were growing up compared to 27 per cent. of non-searchers.

``It was when I was a teenager I became very aware of being adopted. Particularly not looking like anyone in my family. I wish I looked like somebody.''

Non-searchers (85 per cent.) were more likely than searchers (68 per cent.) to say that they felt they belonged in their adoptive families when growing up.

``I think I was made to feel quite special in a way. My father used to say, `You were chosen—we always wanted a girl.' I always felt part of the family. I never felt different as such... I have very happy memories of my childhood.''

Seventy four per cent of non-searchers evaluated their experience of being adopted as a positive experience compared to 53 per cent. of searchers.