In honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, I would like to talk about some difficult topics. In this post, I will be discussing suicide and self harm in depth. 

Did you know that in 2013 there was a study that stated that adoptees are 4 times more likely to commit suicide? Why does this fact get pushed down? Why doesn’t everyone know this? Why don’t more people talk about this? Let’s face it, people are scared of having the hard conversations. People don’t like feeling uncomfortable. People don’t like to talk about things that make others feel uncomfortable . 

So, why is it more likely for adoptees to commit suicide? I think some of the main reasons is because adoptees are prone to feel unwanted, unlovable, and not enough. These feelings can arise because the first person we knew (biological mom) gave us up. For me, I have definitely felt this in relationships and even friendships. It’s hard feeling like no matter what you do, your friends/boyfriend will not love you for who you are. Let adoptees feel these emotions. Let them express them to you. 

Often times, we are expected to just be “grateful.” This is extremely damaging to adoptees. Of course we are grateful to be in a family that takes care of us, but by telling us how “lucky” we are, it makes us feel like our trauma attached to adoption doesn’t matter. It causes us to think something is wrong with us because we feel all these complex feelings and everyone around us is telling us how lucky we are and how we should just be grateful. I’ve read story after story about adoptees numbing the pain by cutting, self medicating, and doing drugs to numb the pain because they feel like their feelings aren’t valid. 

Another big reason I think adoptee suicide rate is so high is because we often don’t know our medical history. I don’t know if mental illnesses  such as depression or anxiety runs in my family, just like so many other adoptees. Therefore, it is harder to get help and catch the problems early on. Luckily for me, I have a family who supported me through getting me therapy when I needed it, but some families don’t even think that it’s necessary. For example, let’s say my great grandpa, grandma, and birth dad all had severe depression. That would inherit to me. My adoptive parents ignore the signs, because they have no idea it runs in my biological family. These mental health issues without help can cause self harm and possibly suicide. 

So, parents or family members of adoptees, let your kids express the hard emotions. Remind them that they are normal things to be feeling in their position. Get professional help if needed. Tell them you love them often. Let them know they are here for a reason.

Adoptees, know your worth. Remember that their is a whole community of people standing behind you. Stay strong. 


  1. This is a very difficult conversation. Many times this conversation gets pushed down like you said because it makes people uncomfortable. Another reason could be that people who do not experience it, become afraid because they dont know what to do about it. You are SO right…..it needs to come in the open and people need to be educated. That will help people with the fear, everything brought into the light diffuses the fear. Im so proud of you for bringing this into the light. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are such an asset to this struggling world today. Your ability to express your own feelings and the possibility of others feelings is so helpful to all. You light up the world around you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Call me your bad new friend Ashley as I have not followed through with touching base as I said I would—but I will say that life on this end has been overwhelmingly consuming!

    I wanted to be able to have the time to write you a proper backstory email as well as where my life as an adoptee stands today.
    Suffice it to know, that it stands with me relatively content with that part of my life— but the story is definitely crazy, even at 61 adoption can be a huge deal 😉

    I did want to touch base regarding your topic today on suicide because my brother, who was also adopted and was not my biological brother, struggled his entire life with the whole adoption issue– despite our adopting parents raising us with love, kindness and much generosity.
    They were our parents plain and simple, yet something inside of him always told him otherwise.

    I am a firm believer that all babies in utero experience the side effects of the mother’s emotions–not just nutritional effects but very real emotional and spiritual effects.
    Many mothers who know that they will be giving up their babies for adoption upon the child’s birth live a roller coaster of emotions—resentment, anger, sorrow, an emotional severing of ties…the list goes on and on.

    The baby carries much of this buried deep inside their psyche with rejection being a huge issue for those who are adopted…an “issue” that they carry well into adulthood. And it is heavy baggage which can have an adverse effect on those important relationships as one grows up.

    There can be a sense of fear from more rejection.
    There can be a detachment factor that acts as a bizarre safety net.
    It’s that “don’t get too close or you’ll get hurt…again” madness.

    My brother battled internal demons most of his life–and I know without a doubt that those demons came from his mother who carried him…His demons were exacerbated, when as a young man, he conducted an exhaustive search for his biological parents.
    He found his mother in a different state. He up and moved to that state and city all in order to foster a relationship— yet she wanted nothing to do with him.

    The double rejection lead to him eventually committing suicide.
    Following his death, his biological mother found out he actually had a little bit of money and was more than willing to take that…never mind that she was a successful lawyer and didn’t need his money….

    It was a sad sad story…
    But as a strong Christian, I have always believed that good can come from bad.

    I had always resented my brother when we were growing up because of the constant chaos and pain he put our parents through along with our entire extended family.

    Our adopted mom died young at the age of 53 from cancer.
    I know people can’t “give” others cancer but she had lost all desire to live because of the madness
    and turmoil he constantly created…she found the cancer an escape.
    And despite everything, our dad bent over backwards to help him.
    I seethed with anger at what he had done to both of our parents…they were also my family not just his, yet he had done quite the job of destruction.
    (more of what I will write about or you can find the stories as older posts on my blog)

    I resented him because I blamed him for Mother’s premature death and Dad’s unending sorrow.

    That is until the day I received a phone call at the school where I was teaching with the news that my 35 year old brother had shot himself.

    As an Episcopalian, I always believed that suicide was the greatest sin against God.
    The ultimate slap in the face.
    Like many Episcopalians and Catholics during those days, suicide was considered and abomination and unforgivable sin.
    Many of the churches would not conduct a funeral within a church for the victim of suicide.

    However today, in our oh so tolerant society, that seems harsh and just one more mark against The Church by the naysayers.
    But it shouldn’t be.

    Suicide, like birth and “normal” death, each remains a mystery.
    One of those things man can never be totally certain of.

    It was years later when I had a student to commit suicide that I began to look at my brother’s death much differently.

    A dear friend of mine, who was a minister at the time, talked with me at length about this student’s death.
    He said something to me that brought clarity as well as a revelation.

    No one knows what happens during that exact moment when the soul straddles
    that thin line between both life and death
    No one can say with any certainty what is transpiring between God and that soul
    at that very moment in time and space.

    Cannot God still extend His grace and mercy?

    I believe in sin and I believe in Hell just as much as I believe in Heaven.
    I also believe that we each have a choice.

    We can refuse God’s Grace and Mercy.
    We can refuse the resurrection of Christ and even curse His gift to us.
    Or…we can fall on our knees, seeing our sin for what it is and accept Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

    Can this still not happen at the moment someone pulls a trigger, or a noose tightens on a neck
    or when the air completely expels from the lungs??

    I cannot say because I do not know.
    And that is because I am the created and not the Creator.

    And it is because I cannot say that I could blessedly find forgiveness for my brother all those many years after his death.

    Will I ever see my brother again?
    I can’t say with any certainty…but I do believe God knew his pain much more keenly than I ever did.

    So forgive my rambling comment and forgive my latent touching base…I promise Ashley I will
    email soon!
    But until then you just keep on speaking up and out for all those adopted folks out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, that breaks my heart! I struggle with the topic of will people that commit suicide go to heaven. But as you said, we do not know because we are not God. Can’t wait to hear more from you!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for sharing this info. As an adoptive father, these things and feelings never occurred to me. It’s so amazing that you can put all these feelings into a simple post!

    Liked by 1 person

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