Can't Get Over My Birth

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    I’m 64 years old and have never come to terms with the fact that I was adopted.  The adoption was prearranged so after I was born I was whisked away and given to my adopted parents who took me home from the hospital.  Its like a pain of rejection/abandonment was immediately ingrained into me.  I’ve always had this nagging question in my mind:  was I a “mistake”?  Was I defective in some way?  This “rejection” also seemed to never give me a chance to develop healthy self esteem.   My adoptive parents were great but I always felt different than all my peers.  I’ve always been angry and resentful because of this.  They were with their birth parents and I wasn’t.  I’ve been in therapy for the last ten years or so but it doesn’t seem to help.  Its always in the back of my mind and I don’t know if I’ll ever accept this.  Thanks for reading.  Jim


    Dear Jim:

    Welcome back. When you were “whisked away and given to (your) adopted parents who took (you) home from the hospital, you didn’t know it happened. You were too young to know, a newborn.

    And so, my comment is regarding what you wrote next: “the pain of rejection/ abandonment was immediately ingrained into me”-

    that pain couldn’t have been introduced to you when you were a newborn. It was introduced to you later.




    We can become the stories we tell ourselves. It is true for reasons you do not know you were given up for adoption. It is also true the you were chosen.

    In the story you have been telling yourself, haven been given up is measured as having more value then the value of having been chosen – and you judge your sense of self by that measure. Something must have been wrong with you… and you have become conditioned to feel bad about it.

    From an objective perspective neither of the events had anything to do with ‘who you are’. It was not your choice to be born, be put up for adoption, or to be adopted. These events where not about who you are.

    At a subjective level you have attached your ego, your conception of identity, with those events. From the Buddhist perspective you are not your ego, you are not your past, your thoughts or memories… You suffer because your consciousness has become fixated and attached to a story and the fear its created (false evidence appearing real).

    This story has persisted after 10 years of therapy suggesting that whatever is keeping you stuck might have very little to do with this adoption story. Is it possible that staying stuck in the story has a payoff greater then the desire to move beyond it?

    Staying stuck can become comfortable… a reason not to pursue a greater possibility which may be uncertain and scary. The anger and resentment you feel having nothing to do with the past but a anger coming from your authentic self for staying stuck in it. Unable to face the possibility that you have not yet lived your best self you project the anger and resentment from your ‘Self’ onto this story of adoption?

    We work for that which no work is required – There is a rule of charity that states that if there are multiple possible explanations for something that happened to you but no way to determine which explanation is correct pick the better explanation. Pick the better story that lets you fly.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by Peter.

    Hi Jim,

    Life is really an illusion.

    Related image

    (Image credits: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/amos/visualillusion.html)

    You may be seeing a person looking at you in this picture. But I am seeing a person looking sideways. Or vice versa.

    Just like your peers, you think that your peers are their own parent’s children. This is an illusion. What is the guarantee that today I am the blood child of my parents. May be in the baby ward in the hospital when there are so may new born babies I got exchanged by the nurse with some other baby and today I am in another house and not of my own parents. In fact in our country this happens so frequently that the mothers request the nurse to tie a band on her baby’s wrist as soon as s/he is born. Even then there is a problem. What if she forgot to do that and eventually at the baby ward tied the band to the wrong baby. Or what if she remembered but gave it to her colleague and she tied it to the wrong baby. There is absolutely no guarantee of anything at all in this world. It is just our perception. It is just that I think that I trust that I may be the child of my parents. And it is just that my parents think that I was the one who was born to them. Of course there may be tests to confirm this. Then I ask what if the blood dna samples got interchanged in the laboratory. The list of this illusion of life can go on and on. I can only trust this illusion of life. And none of that matters whether you are the blood child of your parents or not. Irrespective of who my biological parents are, I am here in this world for the exchange of energies with other people, for the dance of life forms in this universe. These energies are nothing but compassion, forgiveness, honesty, truth, joy, enthusiasm, serenity, hope, gratitude, kindness, cheerfulness, pride, confidence, inspiration and of course Love.

    As a superficial example, if either you or may be your partner is not able to conceive a child for some medical reason. Doctors now leave you with an only option of adoption, if you ever need a child. Your partner (or you) desperately out of longing, out of love, for a child, now need a baby. In this case you are going to think of the only option of adopting a baby. It hardly matters whether you are that baby or not. It is just a way, a medium, for you to come into this world and play out the interchange of energies. And you are so very lucky to have a wonderful adoptive parents as you mentioned. There are so many people on this forum stating about their problems with their dad, their mother , their “biological” family.

    Whatsoever may be your Life-situation you are that piece without which the totality of life is not at all complete and that’s the exact reason the Divine has created you. If I tell you God created the Universe out of Love “how remarkable it is that God looked at all the wonders of creation and realized the missing piece was you.”

    (Image source: http://www.techseen.com)


    Take care,



    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by VJ.

    Hi Jim,

    I signed up for tiny buddha beacuse i want to reply to your post.

    I believe that what you are going through is really difficult. And dealing with it is not an easy task. I honor you for your commitment to yourself and well being. You have all the right to feel whatever you are feeling. Rejection creates a lot of negative self talk and I believe that whatever you are feeling and thinking is just your mind/heart/body’s natural reaction. There’s nothing wrong about it esp if you put in a contemplative/mindful way of thinking.

    With this, Let me offer you these words;

    It’s okay to feel that you are rejected. It’s okay to feel unloved. It’s okay feel frustrated of not getting anywhere with your own rejection issues. It’s okay to feel that you are unwanted. It’s okay not to be okay with what you’ve been put through.




    I can’t thank you all enough for your kind words and insights.  I have had psychologists tell me that there is a physiological connection immediately after birth that is necessary for healthy emotional development.  This article seems to bear it out:   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235060/    No matter how loving your adoptive parents are, adopted kids seem to have abandonment issues.  To make matters worse, I have an obsessive mind.  Obsessives have problems letting things go until they find a clear understanding or answer.  I need to find a way to get past this since I’m never going to find a complete or correct answer.

    Ellimac4u welcome to the site and thank you for your words.  I do have a bad habit of being much to hard on myself for things I can’t control.  I’ll try to remember your words.



    I am curious about your 10 years of therapy.  Are you saying NOTHING helped from that decade of seeing a professional?  Nothing has changed?  You did not get any insights or revelations about your issue and who you are?  You felt the same way as the same person today as you did when you entered into therapy?  You came away with no tools, techniques or methods to deal with your anger, resentment and other negative parts that are showing up?




    Hi Jim

    I hope you don’t mind if I push back a little. Your situation reminds me of the following story told by the Buddha

    “Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, how tall he was, who his parents were, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man would die.” Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless speculation that does not bring us any closer to healing. – Thich Nhat Hanh:

    I suspect the psychologists are correct in saying connection immediately after birth is important for emotional development. Of course , such connection does not ensure healthy emotional development nor does a lack of connection always end in unhealthy emotional development. (Life always presents opportunities to overcome.)

    Knowing the why we behave the way we do is interesting and can be helpful in the process of letting go but it can also be a trap.

    As Ellimac4u stated its ok to feel what you feel however be honest with yourself if this is were you want to stay. Nothing wrong with staying where you are. At 64 you have put in your time.

    Your posts indicate that this is something you want to get over.  You have done the work in understanding why, you know the what and the how of what arrow shot you. Now may be the time to let that go. Forgive the parents you did not know, forgive the parents that took you in for not being able to give you what you imagine only birth parents can, forgive yourself for not getting what you imagine you missed out on and let it go.  Your past does not define you unless you want it to. If the obsession of the fear of rejection is not working for you, and knowing all the why’s have not helped you, its time to try a different path.


    Mark, I did not receive any tools to deal with it.  It helped to open up and talk about it but really no things I could do on a daily basis.  Maybe I should be looking for a more helpful therapist.

    Peter, thanks for your suggestion.  Even at my age I want to make a change.  I’ve carried it around long enough.  I have heard that the practice of “forgiveness”  helps to get over past hurts and pains.  Do you recommend a specific way to engage this practice?


    The book by Lewis B. Smedes – ‘The Art of Forgiving: When You Need to Forgive and Don’t Know how’ is a good guide.

    The practice of mindfulness might be a good place to start. Practice noticing when your thoughts become obsessive and fixated on the ‘story and feeling of being rejected’. The trick here is to notice without judging and labeling and in this way remaining a detached observer.

    Detachment is not the same as Indifference so notice how your thoughts ‘affect’ you. What emotions come to the surface. As an observer you notice the emotions without becoming the emotion. Perhaps you notice the thoughts are connected to the emotion of sadness or fear, or resentment… without “becoming sad”, fearful or resentful.  The observer remains a still point of compassion, for yourself and others – in that space forgiveness becomes possible (forgiveness is a letting go not a forgetting. You mourn what you experienced as a loss, lean into it and step forward).

    As an observer to your thoughts check them for cognitive distortions. What is it you know and what thoughts are based on imaginings.

    For example. A part of your story is that had you been held by your birth parents you would now be free of a fear of rejection and so emotionally healthy. Notice that these thoughts are speculative, you do not know, and the story would not stop at that point. So, continue the story. Your birth parents kept you but their fears of not being able to care for you were real. They loved you but could not care or provide for you as your adoptive parents did. Perhaps there were days you went hungry and limited education possibilities that let you fall though the cracks. In stead of a fear of rejection you became angry and envious of others…. Statistically that is the more likely story then the one you have been telling.

    If there comes a time when you overcome your obsessive thoughts of rejection and not being good enough. As an observer you will notice that the solution occurred the moment you stopped and took responsibility for your thoughts and how you direct your consciousness.  You will have realized that you are not your past or your thoughts or your consciousness but director of thoughts and your consciousness. You can spend another 10 years digging into your past to get to that point or you can start today. I cannot change what happened to me, I have mourned what could not be. I chose to move forward from where I am (which is the only place any of us can move from)


    Hi Jim,  I wanted to share my story to illustrate that fact that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  Here is a comparison of the two sides.   In 1953, my father (a Caucasian WWII veteran),  was living in Michigan at the age of about 30.  He was having intimate relationships with several women and one of them, Julie, got pregnant.  At the time, legal abortion was not an option, so Julie carried the child to term and when the child was born, Julie had decided to give the baby to a loving family and tell my father that the child (a girl) was stillborn. There was no reason for my father to stay around and I’m assuming, was relieved of his obligation and carried on with his life.  Sometime after that he got another women pregnant (with a boy) and they married.  This marriage proved to be a horrible situation and they divorced within a couple of years.  The boy from this brief marriage suffered.  He was used as a pawn and beaten by his (our) father and yelled at and eventually our father got so fed up with being a father and life in Michigan that he left the state and left his son behind and moved to California where he (age 40) met and impregnated my mother (age 18).  The first baby born from my mother was my brother.  My father didn’t marry my 18 year old mother  until after I was born 1 1/2 years later.  My dad by then was 42 and my mother was 20.  They had a bad relationship for about 9 years and then my mother divorced my dad.   My mother had a drinking problem and my dad would beat her to deter her from drinking the next time.  The beatings didn’t help and she continued to drink for her entire life until she died at the age of 49 in 1996.  After my parents divorced, my dad injured himself on the job and the doctors gave him a prescription of pills that were so addictive and so relaxing that he must have confused me for my mother.  I was about 9 years old and he did things to me that no father should do to there own daughter.  He did almost everything except penetration.  I lived with my dad (he had custody) for years feeling that what he did was not right, but had no one to talk to about it.  It wasn’t until I watched a Phil Donahue show (I was around 14 years old)  that had a panel of women on the show talking about being molested by their father that I realized that what happened was wrong and I wasn’t alone.  It brought some relief but no insight as to how to deal with this burden.  I became a sexually active teen and luckily never became pregnant due to using the pill.  I thought that sex was how I found love and being wanted.  I was wanted alright, but only for sex.  I let guys use me until I met one very nice guy who introduced me to a branch of Buddhism where we chant NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO.  It is an active meditation where the sound and your desires are the focus.  In this Buddhism, desires lead to enlightenment.  I thought I’d give it a shot since I felt that I had nothing to lose.  I instantly felt more peaceful and happy and  within months I was working though my dad issues while I chanted.  I was doing an internal therapy  and a cleansing of painful memories that I needed so badly.  I had chanted (and cried) and cleansed the pain, the sadness, the self-pity away.  It wasn’t overnight, took about three to six months of chanting 15 minutes a day.  Best therapy ever!    Fast forward thirty years later,  I’m married to a very nice man, we have two very emotionally and physically healthy sons 18 and 15.  I still practice the art of chanting daily.  Last year, I did my DNA through Ancestry and I get an email from a lady claiming to be my sister and of course I didn’t know about this “stillborn” daughter that my father didn’t know about either (remember he was told she died).  Anyway, my half sister tells me this story about how she never fit in with her adopted family.  They were very loving and she adored her two parents, but she keeps saying “I never fit in”.   She longed to know her real father (my dad) and her real mother, Julie.  She had a good life and when her adoptive parents died she was there for them.  She held there hands with love and care.  They remained married and in a stable home until their deaths.  I on the other hand, I stopped talking to my father (after years of abuse and neglect),  after a violent fight with my brother, he said I deserved to be beaten and strangled by my brother because as my father stated “you were in his face”.  My dad died in 2002 or ’03, I think.  I grew up with a lot of abuse – sexual, emotional, physical and spiritual, moving eighteen times in my youth because my dad was not stable.  I,  fortunately, found a Buddhist practice that help me sort through the mud of my childhood and now I have a beautiful blooming life.  “Out of the filthiest muddy pond, blooms the most beautiful lotus blossom.”  My sister, on the other hand, had the loving father and mother every child deserves, yet she took them for granted and desired the fantasy of what life would have been like with her real mom and dad (the child abandon-er, child molester, wife beater, angry at the world, cheat you behind your back kind of person).  I know who he was so well that I truly feel sorry for how he lived his life.  He could not see himself nor his actions and therefore could not change –  A man who is blind to his actions is bound to repeat the actions that made him blind.  I can’t bring myself to tell my sister who he really was and what he did to me, to my half-brother in Michigan, to my brother in California (who is just like him – don’t know if he’s a molester, but he is everything else), and to my mother who was left with black eyes and bloody lips and died from alcoholism way too young.   Maybe one day I’ll tell my sister the truth so she can final give up on the fantasy and be grateful for what she had.  I feel it’s too soon for me to reveal the ugly truth since I just started to get to know her since January 2018.  The grass is always greener on the other side when you don’t know the truth.  Come to terms with what you had, it could have been that you are my half brother and you were lucky to have missed the bullet.  I lived with my real father and it wasn’t good, but it lead me to find a practice that changed my childhood poison into medicine for my own children and for that, I am grateful.  Your mother gave you away probably because she knew she couldn’t give you what you deserved, a loving set of parents.    She loved you so much that she endured a lifetime of pain to give you the best chance for a good life.  From my observation of your ability to write, you seem educated so I hope you can understand that life isn’t always perfect, but you are seeing it from the grass is brown on my side of the fence.  You are repeating the wrong/hurtful internal dialogue.   You are loved!  Especially by your real mother.  If you found her today, I bet she’d cry so hard with joy to hold you, her baby boy, tell you she loves you and that giving you away was the hardest thing she had ever done.  Now take a moment and imagine yourself carrying two old, heavy suitcases one in each hand.  They are so heavy with sadness, regret and longing.  Imagine in your mind’s eye, SEE yourself putting the suitcases on the ground, letting go of the handles and walking away.  Repeat and repeat again.  If that doesn’t help, then chant NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO or at least google it and read about how learning about the Law of Cause and Effect can impact your life in a positive way.  I wish for you the best from now into eternity.  This life is short, but repeating karma can be too long, but that is up to you.  And just so you know. karma is not the good or bad things that happen to us in life, it’s how we look at the things that happen in life that makes them good or bad.  That is our karma.


    Hi Jim,

    All you ever need to come out of your situation (mindset) is Self-Love. First, love and forgiveness for the self and then extending it back to others.

    For this I will suggest you the simple and powerful ancient Hawaiian technique of Ho’oponopono which is based on Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love.

    i] www.upliftconnect.com/hawaiian-practice-of-forgiveness

    ii] www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/practice-hooponopono-four-simple-steps

    Please go through both the articles entirely. Practice it for at least 21 days (which is the time required to form a new habit) and post back here how you feel about your situation.

    Best wishes,


    Dear Jim:

    Here is an exchange that happened on your thread between you and another member:

    Jim: “I’ve been in therapy for the last ten years or so but it doesn’t seem to help.”

    Mark: “Are you saying NOTHING helped from that decade of seeing a professional? Nothing has changed? You did not get any insights or revelations about your issues and who you are? You felt the same way as the same person today as you did when you entered into therapy? You came away with no tools, techniques or methods to deal with your anger, resentment and other negative parts that are showing up?”

    Jim: “Mark, I did not receive any tools to deal with it. It helped to open up and talk about it but really no things I could do on a daily basis. Maybe I should be looking for a more helpful therapist.”

    First, the obvious: it is possible to attend psychotherapy for ten years and learn nothing.

    Second, you are 64, Jim. From previous threads I know that you live in the US, have a stable, good paying job and no financial difficulties, none that would have prevented you from attending quality therapy in the past ten years and before that, decades before that.

    I ask myself why would you attend therapy for ten years when it taught you nothing. I ask myself why did you not think that you “should be looking for a more helpful therapist” before (and will you now)?

    There was something you got out of attending that therapy you attended. You felt better talking (“it helped to open up and talk about it”). It helped you feel better.

    We all want to feel better, all motivated to feel better. I feel better when I learn new things about me/ people. There is a whole lot in common between me and you, Jim, between me and any human reading this, so there is a lot to learn. I feel better when I learn so I am motivated to learn.

    I am thinking that you don’t feel better when you learn about you/ people. So you are not motivated. This means that this very thread is very unlikely to be a learning experience for you. Parts of it feel better, parts feel worse.

    Now, to the content of your thread. You expressed here what you believe: “No matter how loving your adoptive parents are, adopted kids seem to have abandonment issues”- you believe that your parents were loving but because you were adopted at birth, on the same day you were born, you have suffered from abandonment issues for decades, still suffering.

    I challenge this belief. I think that you suffer abandonment issues because of your relationships with your (adoptive) parents, not because you were adopted at birth. There was something less than perfectly loving and great about your parents.

    But it doesn’t feel good to think that of one’s parents, be the biological or adoptive. We all, at least at some point, are heavily invested in viewing our parents as great and loving, perfectly loving, safe to be with, all good.

    To challenge this early belief doesn’t feel good. And so, we come up with alternative explanations.



    Peter:  Thanks for the tip.  I did order the book and should get it soon.  Looking forward to learning about forgiveness.

    Lisa:  Thank you so much for opening up about your upbringing.  I feel guilty for complaining about my past when you had to go through so much trauma.  I have a terrible time accepting that life isn’t perfect.  All these years I’ve been looking at the negative side of this.  I’ve looked at the worst possible explanations for why I was given up.  Indeed it could have been a loving gesture to give me a better life.  I should be counting my blessings for the love and life my adoptive parents gave me.  Think of the “Leave it to Beaver” show and thats the way I grew up.  I’ll definitely check out the Buddhist chant you were referring to.  Thank you again for telling me your story.  It gives me inspiration.

    VJ:  Thank you for your recommendation.  I have already looked into it and it looks very interesting.  I especially need to cultivate gratitude instead of resentment and anger.

    Anita:  Thanks Anita. I think I have been putting too much blame on my therapist.  He has said a lot of the things that all of you have said and tried to get me to look at things in a more positive light.  The thing he didn’t do was to give me things (homework) that I could take home with me and use on a daily basis.  I am loyal to him because we are almost like buddies.  He is close to my age and also a runner like I am.  We spend part of the session talking about running.  Even though I didn’t think he was helping me as much as I wanted, I didn’t want to offend him.  I am still thinking about the other things you said and will write more soon.



    Hi Jim,

    Read the lines on the below hooponopono video.




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