Research has shown, "...when the mother/child entity is split, it causes an acute and lasting trauma in both mother and child. The repercussions are ominous and tenacious. Though they become buried deep inside, the repercussions follow both mother and child throughout the remainder of their lives."
Here is an excerpt from an article on how abandonment might affect our children:
Read the full article.
The “chosen” child story also has negative affects on a child for other reasons. The child may feel that she has to be perfect to live up to her “chosen” status. Her role model adoptees include Superman and Jesus. This is a hard image for the average child to live up to. She may either become the compliant “perfect” child or she may act out and misbehave to test the commitment of the adoptive parents. Either way, often times she is not being herself, but rather acting a part. This acting can be very emotionally draining and confusing, and may last until the early adult years and beyond. When the adoptee can not live up to her perfect “chosen” status, it will contribute to the feeling of low self-esteem. This will be further exacerbated if the adoptive parents are not aware of the issue and their actions reinforce the adoptees beliefs, i.e., sending her away for residential treatment or openly wishing her to be more like themselves.
The adoptee is also aware of many ghosts that follow her through life. These ghosts include the person she would have been had she not been adopted, the ghost of the birth mother and birth father, and the ghost of the adoptive family’s child that would have been (Lifton, 1994, chap. 6). She may find herself trying to connect to her ghosts through her actions. Either being her image of her birth family, living her life according to her fantasy birth family, or acting as her vision of the adoptive parent’s natural child.
Then there is the adoptee's perspective. Here is part of another article that you might want to read:
I am not the happy and grateful adoptee that you want me to be. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy and grateful for almost 45 years – or so I believed. Had you asked me then how I felt about being adopted, you might have heard something like, “Great! I am so grateful to my (adoptive) parents for all they did and, no, I am not interested in finding my ‘real’ family. My adoptive family is my ‘real’ family, thankyouverymuch, and they are a wonderful family. I’ve had a wonderful life. Of course, I am grateful to my natural mother for giving me life. Oh, you’re adopting? How wonderful!”
I enthusiastically expressed that view all those years because I needed to convince myself that my life was normal and right and that I was okay. I did it because everyone else wanted me to feel that way, too. And I thought I would die if I ever looked deeper.
You’ve seen adopted children who seem to be perfectly happy, too. They smile and have fun just like those whose families are intact. They act happy and, occasionally, they are.
Yes, adopted children smile and laugh. Did you stop smiling after you lost a loved one? Didn’t you still laugh when someone said something funny? Weren’t you still capable of having some fun?
Did you ever smile and act happy to hide your grief?
Of course you did. But even when you smiled, those close to you knew it didn’t mean you were happy. Those close to you accepted and expected your pain and sadness. They did not expect you to be happy about your loss. They gave you something most adoptees do not get: acknowledgment of, empathy for, and permission to express your grief.
Read the full article.