Being adopted

Adoption is when you're permanently looked after by adults who are legally responsible for you, but aren't your biological parents. There are lots of reasons someone might be adopted. If you're adopted and having problems, we're here to help you.

finding out you're adopted

Being told that you're adopted could leave you with a lot of different feelings. It's natural to feel lots of emotions at once, as this is your body's way of processing and understanding what's going on.

You might feel angrysadlonely or confused. You might wish you'd found out earlier.

Finding out you're adopted can be a very difficult thing to accept. But there could be lots of reasons why you weren't told sooner.

Your adoptive parents might have been waiting until they felt you were old enough to process it. Or they might have wanted you to feel fully part of the family.

5 things to know:

  • you deserve to be looked after well
  • parents can love an adopted child just as much as their own
  • if you're being treated badly at home, you've got the right to get help
  • you can speak to social services if you need support
  • we're here if you need to talk to us.

Contacting your biological parents

If you've found out you're adopted, it's normal to want to get in touch with your birth (biological) parents. This can feel important – like it's part of your identity.

But you need to stay safe. It's really important that you aren't hurt. Either physically or emotionally. Each situation is different. But you could ask yourself these questions to help you decide if contacting your birth parents is a good idea:

  • what do you know about your biological parents?
  • do you know the reason why you weren't able to live with them?
  • what do your adoptive parents think about you seeing them?

You can talk through your questions with one of our counsellors at any time.

Contacting your biological family

Making contact with your family is a really big step to make. But it can help you to feel like you understand your identity more.

You could try writing a letter of everything you want to say. This can help if you decide to meet them. And remember, our counsellors are here to talk if you want to go through what you'd like to say. 

feeling like you don't fit in

It's normal to question your identity at different times in your life. And this can be more common if you're adopted.

Sometimes you might feel like you don't fit in. This could be because:

  • you are a different race, culture or nationality to your adoptive family
  • you don't have the same interests as them
  • they aren't treating you well.

Whatever the reason, you don't have to go through this alone. 

If you're being bullied

Being adopted doesn't mean that you should be treated any differently than other people. Some young people contact us about being teased because their adoptive families are in a same sex relationship.

Whatever your situation, if someone is teasing you because of who you are this is bullying. And it's wrong.

Bullying can make you feel confused, sad and lonely. And it can take a lot to make you feel yourself again.

But you can find lots of advice on building your confidence and self-esteem, and find top tips for making new friends.