NAAM Adoptee Statements

Starting in 2022, we asked adoptees on our social media platforms to submit one thing they would want to highlight during National Adoption/ee Awareness Month. Thank you to all the adoptees who have worked to make this page possible and thank you to our readers for taking the time to hear their stories and experiences.


Lorah Gerald - The Adopted Chameleon

As a child I didn’t have the language to tell anyone how I felt about being adopted. People told me it was God’s plan that I was adopted. I was told to be grateful because I was adopted. All of the adults told me it was a good thing but I didn’t feel like it was. So I had to be bad. I knew it. I was the one with bad feelings and I was given away so it must be me.

The emotions I carried throughout my life finally came bursting out. The fog no longer had me in its grips. I was free to heal. We can only heal when we know what the problem is. When I was in my 20’s I had therapist tell me I was angry. I knew that, but why? It only made me angrier when they said it. I knew I was bad and now they were validating it. I wouldn’t go back to a therapist because of the bad experiences I had until I was in my 50’s.

I needed someone to hear me. Not the narrative that the adoption industry, many adoptive parents and some birth mothers want us to believe that a baby is a blank slate and can be given away without any issues. The attachment of the baby to its mother is lifelong. Even if we don’t want to be attached to them.

Adult adoptee groups give me a space to be seen and heard. Some of my family and friends are also there for me. As an adopted person, I ask everyone to please allow adoptees the space to be seen and heard. It is imperative for the healing journey. When an adoptee comes out of the fog and realizes where the pain comes from they will need others that can help guide them. It is the adoptee’s lived experience and they are the expert. Listen and let the healing begin.

Nathan Nowack

I currently struggle with feeling not good enough.  During this month of National Adoption/tee Awareness Month, so many amazing adoptees are voicing their thoughts, deep emotions, and bringing awareness to a much needed topic.  As a co-host on the Janchi Show Podcast, I am constantly reminded every week that there are amazing people doing things at much higher levels than myself.  Speaking across the nation, writing books, PhD studies, constantly creating thoughtful social media and having very important dialogue with others, but not me.  I finally realized, I don't have to compare myself to anyone.  I can post 30 things this month, or I can post nothing, and that's ok.  My weekly podcast is enough, and if I sprinkle it with some social media, that's completely my choice.  Even though the world of adoption fog feels endless and the rabbit hole continues to get larger, it is still my life and my time.  I am the one who needs to regulate that, especially this month.  So for anyone else feeling like they aren't good enough cause you might feel pressured by social media, or some internal self goals, take a break.  Log off, take a walk, call a friend, and just know that you ARE good enough. The relationships that really help you realize self worth are the ones in person.  Be mindful of your time, engage with the community as you have time, and appreciate everyone's efforts instead of comparing.  And that, has helped me see that I am enough.


Identity is, of course, one of the greatest struggles of being a transracial adoptee. In the United States, there is an unspoken racial hierarchy (also affected by gender) that is almost never addressed or discussed. It is up to the adoptee to figure out this hierarchy for themselves. This creates anger, resentment, and division. While I was adopted with two other children from South Korea, we lacked any vernacular to discuss race and we were left in the dark together. The primary sentiment of our transracial adoptions was that we were 'saved' from a poor country with less resources, which was, unadmittedly, rooted in racist biases, such as being submissive. My 'generous' white parents willfully ignored the racial component of adopting children from a different culture from their own. Their lack of accountability is incredibly painful. The burden of creating an identity was left up to us. My childhood was filled with confusion and anger, having been adopted by a mother who has a borderline personality disorder. Not a perfect family. Not a happy ending. Again and again, healing (and identity) has to come from within. 

Spring Lee

A big struggle I have faced is people referring to my family as my ‘adoptive family’ or my birth family as my ‘real family’. It is incredibly insulting to say my brothers and my dad are my ‘adoptive family’. I am so thankful for my family and the journey, while not easy, I have been on. The trauma associated with adoption has helped me relate to others and empathize more.   


When I was five, my mom and I took a trip to the Smithsonian Museum in DC. We were waiting on a bench inside when a young Asian couple walked towards us. They looked us both up and down, twisting their mouths in confusion and wondering what this Asian toddler was doing with an older white lady. Taking the initiative in this interaction I cheerily greeted them with a friendly "HOLA." 

From a young age I have struggled with people's assumptions of who I'm supposed to be because of my race: good at math, quiet, knows everything about Chinese culture because I'm Chinese. But I'm not the stereotypical Asian people see on their sitcoms. I'm outgoing and curious, prefer language arts over numbers, and I'm still learning a lot about my Chinese heritage. I still sometimes internalize those stereotypes and think I'm a failure at "being Asian," but now I have a community with Navigating Adoption who understands that we are more than just our outward appearances.

Jean Provance

When you always carry a sense of not quite fitting despite all the measures saying you fit just fine. It is hard to help people without this visceral sense what it is really like. One event sticks out clearly to me.

While I was in graduate school  taking a grief and loss counseling course, the professor asked us to turn in our obituary as an assignment. As I sat at the computer starting at the blank document I wanted to turn in a completely blank page they way adoption wanted it to be. An industry selling the narrative of a blank baby given to adoptive parents to be shaped by them with nothing before from birth and no affects thereafter. Rather than turning in a blank page, I wrote “Here she lies, whoever she was. Jean was born but never lived, Kristen lived but was never born. Who was she?” 

It was after that assignment that I decided to change my name back and integrate my identity so that I was both born and living with the hope at the end of my lifetime there would not be a doubt of who I was, no doubts that I was born and lived. I was not a blank slate at birth to be shaped. I was fully formed, came with an identity, a heritage, and a history. 

 The professor  shared he had never received a response like that before. It was never not the grief and loss that people shared about or that was taught about. I hope it continues to be shared about. I didn’t only loss a family I lost parts of myself too.  

Of all the loss in adoption the one thing I could undo was the erasure of my name and claim my whole identity. To be fully authentic self meant I no longer had to try to fit one way or another, I could just be.

Gia McCormick 

Being adopted is a hard concept to grab onto. Most adoptees never knew what it felt to be loved until it truly happens to them. As a kid, I was raised in a biracial family and I was never judged or felt like I didn’t belong in my family. As I grew older, specifically, I had a History teacher telling me my parents should send me back to China and climb the Great Wall of China. I felt hurt and threatened! As we celebrate National Adoption Month, I am beyond grateful that I had a second chance at life! 



This month, I would like to highlight the importance of not only recognizing but highlighting transracial families. As someone who has been adopted along with my little sister we’ve struggled with the concept of looking different than the rest of our family. It took a very long time to learn that just because we have different hair, or different skin there is beauty in complexity. From not feeling connected to your roots, to just having a different physical appearance than the rest of your adopted family, it can be difficult to navigate and sort through those emotions, so this month I would like to remind everyone out there that doesn’t fit the “traditional” family look, you are seen, you are heard, and you are absolutely beautiful.


One of my greatest struggles is knowing that there is such a slim chance that I will ever see my biological family here on this earth — specifically my mother. She was only 18 when she had me, but knew my best chance was to be placed in an orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia. I’m now 24 and have lived in the U.S. almost my whole life. I have a bachelors degree and am currently in my last year of law school. I just wish I could thank her and let her know that I’m okay.

Liza Locke

Adoption was always something that I never really cared to learn about. I was dismissive towards learning about my culture and exploring that part of me because I wanted to feel like I fully fit into the American lifestyle. I have always struggled with feeling lonely and like I don’t have a place in the world. In a room full of people, I felt lonely and no matter how hard I tried to adapt to situations nothing would give me a sense of belonging. These emotions caused me to feel like I was crazy, like there was something wrong with me. Nearly six months ago, one of my closest friends at the time made a joke that she thought to be funny in which she said my mom was not my real mom. These words hurt me so deeply. I didn’t realize how much those words affected me until I started my freshman year of college. The second I got here, the feeling of loneliness kicked in, making it hard for me to make friends, forcing me to face what was causing said loneliness beneath the surface. I began to do research and read books on how adoption manifests in our subconscious. 

While searching for explanations to the feelings that led me to feel crazy, I discovered a community. I found people that can truly understand those emotions and I am now seeking out more information about my culture. I have always felt alone in every battle I have faced. Now I know I am not alone. In learning all this information, it has also made me feel so excited to have a child of my own. I am beyond excited to be able to create a human being and nurture it but to also adopt a child and help guide them through the complex implications of adoption. 

I am so thankful to have a supportive, close-knit family to help me as I continue to explore my adoption as not everyone is so lucky. Now, I am okay with not fully fitting in with Americans or Asians. Although this doesn’t mean I do not carry the shame of not belonging, weight has been lifted off my shoulders.