Adoptees Grow Up to Be Adults

The perpetual children narrative and consequences

A.J. Bryant
3 min readOct 25, 2023
person holding small sign which says “what can you do today that you couldn’t do a year ago?’
Photo by Miquel Parera on Unsplash

Policymakers view adoptees as children who never grow up.

This persistence that we are ‘forever’ children must end. It delegitimizes our narratives and individual lives. We’re sidelined and excluded in policy decisions that affect us.

Lastly, it damages the adoptee’s psyche. For those adoptees struggling with feelings of negative self-worth, feeling like your story and life don’t matter hurts.

Adoptees can’t re-shape the story of adoption; away from the ‘lucky’ fairy tale, to one that includes pain, loss, and heartache. As a result, adoption accounts remain one-sided and only seen as positive.

Adoptee citizenship legislation

My awareness of this problem increased in the last few years. I’ve worked with some groups trying to pass an adoptee citizenship bill.

Certain transnational adoptees lack US citizenship. I’ve run into the infantilization problem addressing this. I’ve been advocating, writing, and speaking on this issue since 2013.

Adoptees’ citizenship might not have been officially finalized for various reasons. Maybe their parents didn’t want to hassle with the paperwork. Years ago, multiple U.S. government…



A.J. Bryant

Adopted from Kerala. I write about adoption, my intercultural marriage, contemporary India and more. Prawns are my love language.