Can adoptive parents hate their child

“One recognizes one another in biological parents” - the longing of adoptees for their origins

"One recognizes oneself in biological parents" - the longing of adoptees for their origins

Even if the relationship between adoptive parents and adopted child is good - there always seems to be a wound. Those affected describe how important unconditional love and the knowledge of one's own roots are.

As a child, Hedwig Nathalie van Ingen had to see a doctor every six months: She suffers from high blood pressure - quite unusual for a child. The blood pressure only normalizes when the native Dutch woman is 19 years old and moves out with her adoptive parents. At that time the young woman still called herself Nathalie - just like the adoptive mother used to call her. In 2007, the now 36-year-old switched to her maiden name Hedwig - it is in all of her documents. Last summer, the 47-year-old decided to introduce herself with both names from now on: Hedwig and Nathalie.

Own sons preferred

With Hedwig, the fighter, and with Nathalie, the Christmas girl. "I want to combine both energies," says Hedwig Nathalie van Ingen, whose joy and courage to live were long blocked by an unhappy childhood. The Swiss woman by choice, who grew up in the Netherlands and who was only three weeks old when she was taken care of by her birth mother's brother, says:

"I felt like Cinderella."

Until the age of 19, Nathalie assumes that the uncle is her father and his wife is her mother. The “parents” still have three sons who are always preferred - Nathalie has to cook, clean and shop early. As a child, the thin girl is forced to eat. And about her aunt, who is the birth mother, but Nathalie doesn't know that, she hears: "She is the most terrible in the family."

"I was stolen"

Margaretha Josefine Ruibing was 28 years old when she gave birth to her baby daughter in 1971. Her husband is rarely present, he goes to sea for work. The baby comes from an extramarital relationship advised by a couples therapist to save the marriage. When the little girl was three weeks old, Marga Ruibing was admitted to a psychiatric clinic because of postnatal depression. Nathalie comes to her brother and sister-in-law, and from then on the girl should not let go of them.

"I was stolen," says Hedwig Nathalie van Ingen today. Why was the baby never given back to the mother? Because it was out of wedlock? A question to which the 47-year-old still lacks an answer. No clear view of your own origins and past - that hurts. When Nathalie was eight years old, her birth mother committed suicide. When she is ten, she is officially adopted. But she didn't find out that she was adopted until nine years later, when she moved from home and changed parish. The adoptive mother always denied that she was not the right mother. Nathalie had asked more often - there were rumors.

"The penny falls" at 19

The feeling of not really being part of the family was a loyal companion. Today's therapist was already looking for her roots when she wasn't even aware of it. "I was a quiet child who hardly ate anything until the age of five - there were a lot of arguments about it." The word “Cinderella” comes up again and again when Hedwig tells Nathalie van Ingen about her childhood. When, at the age of 19, “the penny falls” and the lie of life becomes clear, Nathalie spontaneously loses consciousness.

Presumably there is also a lot of tension going away. Because the whole of childhood and adolescence was dominated by adaptation.

"Adopted people are often over-adjusted - for fear of being abandoned again."

This is what the woman says, who suddenly felt grief again last year that she did not know her birth father. And she began to get in touch with other adopted adults and to exchange ideas: A self-help group is now emerging (see info box). The 47-year-old has also created around 300 podcasts with conversations with adoptees, and a new story appears every two weeks ( "Surely half of them did not have a happy childhood," says van Ingen, who knows from her own experience: "The grief of the adoptees over the loss of their first caregiver, the birth mother, is very often not allowed."

Self-help for the adoptee

A self-help group for adopted adults is currently being set up in the city of Lucerne. In a trusting framework, those affected want to reflect on the past together and develop new perspectives. The self-help Lucerne Obwalden Nidwalden is looking for other affected people: From five or six interested people are invited to the meeting. So far, three people have registered. Those interested can contact the Self-Help Center in Lucerne, Tel. 041/210 34 44,
Further self-help groups exist in Bern, Basel and Zurich. Contact addresses at (sh)

"An adoption is always a loss"

She also thought for a long time: Be glad that you are adopted. "I did not understand that I was being used - for the own goals of the adoptive parents." Narcissism is often involved here. She did not get any love: "Unfortunately there is no school for developing the heart." In her podcasts it is a topic again and again: The children are forgotten because the focus is on the adoptive parents' desire to have children. And:

Only when you feel protected and loved do you begin to make demands, to be self-confident.

Hedwig Nathalie van Ingen emphasizes: “Adoption is always a loss. There are three parties that mourn something - the child, the birth parents and also the adoptive parents. " It is important for adopted people to get to know their birth parents: “You can recognize yourself in birth parents. You are a reflection. " The Dutch woman knows through friends of her birth mother:

«I move like my mother, I laugh like her, I am like her. She was a good person and not a terrible one. "

What if the adoptive parents are nice and have a friendly relationship? "A wound is there for the time being," thinks Hedwig Nathalie van Ingen. "It may turn out to be a good scar, but first and foremost every adopted child is wounded." Studies have shown that adoptees are three times more likely to commit suicide and five times more likely to be at risk of addiction.

Mistakes like any other parent

However, the trained therapist is also aware that adoptive parents are allowed to make mistakes, just like any other parent.

"But if the adopted child is looking for his roots, adoptive parents should help him and not complain and be offended."

Van Ingen generally thinks: "The parent-child relationship should never be about the parents' self-realization, but always about the child."

The 34-year-old Dida Guigan looks back on her past with a constructive look. Born in Lebanon, she was adopted in her home country or taken away from her unmarried mother while she was still in hospital - against her will. “Not uncommon in Lebanon,” says Dida Guigan. The girl had a happy childhood with her adoptive parents in Lausanne. Nonetheless, the teenager develops a longing for his roots - and goes in search of his birth mother. The search took ten years, and Dida Guigan was recently helping Lebanese television. Then finally mother and daughter embrace each other - very carefully at first. Guigan says:

"My mother was almost more traumatized than me"

In the meantime she has founded the Born in Lebanon association, which is open to all adopted children and adults, wants to raise awareness and helps in the search for biological parents.

A "bought Cinderella"

Aymara Narda Nina also founded an association, namely in 2016 the «Adopted Adults Association». This should be a vessel for exchange and communication among the adopted. The 43-year-old from Bern and a native of Bolivia was adopted herself - she came to Bern from Bolivia at the age of five. Nina: “It was a big change. I had black hair and dark skin and didn't understand the language. "

She was never happy with her adoptive family. Nina also uses the term "Cinderella". They were bought. She was never loved, encouraged or supported by the adoptive mother. Nina: «I travel to Bolivia every year and visit my homeland and my compatriots. I've always felt my Bolivian roots. " When the Bolivian visits her childhood home in Bolivia for the first time and meets her supervisor at the time, there is “emotional chaos - the processing is enormous”. Nina says:

"After coming to terms with my past for a long time, I am now happy with my own family." (foster and adopted children Switzerland) (legal overview)