“Are you an adoptee who feels like a weed, out of place and unloved?”

Have you ever felt that you were imprudently transplanted? Do you feel like a wild bramble growing in a cultivated field of strawberries? Have you ever experienced the hurtful feelings of being judged, viewed with contempt and disapproval, or considered undesirable and unwanted in a particular situation because you were adopted? Have you ever felt unwanted and unloved outside of your comfort zone and native habitat or sensed that you were in a human-controlled setting where you were unwelcome?

Adoption Detective | Judith Land

“Dandelions create ephemeral fields of summer gold with many secrets yet untold. Jubilant young lovers bursting with glee shoo away the bees, pluck the wild flowers, and on bended knee gift their bouquet of wild yellow blooms hoping to capture timeless love. These are the unforgettable priceless moments in the sun when flint meets steel and sparks ignite lovers hearts.” —Judith Land

Strangers profiled me as my mother’s “adopted child.” She had skin as pale as milk. Her eyes were blue, and her hair was naturally blond. The nature of her character, attitude, appearance, and temperament was highly dissimilar and seemingly unrelated to mine. I was cognitively aware of our apparent differences at an early age. I intuitively recognized polarizing differences in our personalities, comfort levels, styles, and deportment. I automatically warmed to strangers who were more like me. My adoptive mother and I had contrasting emotional responses to external stimuli and differing opinions on common issues. There were variances in our sense of humor and subtle imbalances in our thinking. I was not too fond of it when she highlighted my character flaws and embarrassed me in public. My emotional response was always intense. I felt like a weed, out of place and unloved.”


The Scottish Thistle with it attractive purple flower is a resilient little weed that blooms across Scotland’s landscape. It is the ‘National Flower’ and best recognized symbol of Scotland. A humble weed might seem an odd symbolic choice as the floral emblem of the country, but what could be better than a native-born plant which is as bold as it is beautiful? Yet, in Canada thistles have a terrible reputation as the most noxious and annoying weeds in the home garden.

The word “weed” has no botanical significance in taxonomy because it is simply a plant growing outside of its natural geographic range in a situation where it is unwanted. Weeds are not valued because they have no practical purposes, profit, or beauty. They have a negative connotation because they aren’t beneficial. They are invasive outside their native habitat and grow wild and rank when not controlled. They spread haphazardly with creeping stems that root and spread out and hinder the growth of other more desirable vegetation. Weeds are natural enemies because they cause difficulty and annoyance. Weeds are troublesome, poisonous, and harmful. They are worrisome when they compete for limited resources; infect and degrade desired plants; cause damage to the environment; harbor pests, cause irritation, and carry pathogens.

When an adoptee feels like a weed or a fish out of the water and cries out for a shoulder to lean on, they need to know that many plants widely regarded as weeds have beneficial properties. They are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings and valued for food and herbal medicines. Some weeds attract insects that are beneficial to other plants. Some improve soil conditions by acting as mulch. Weeds protect water supplies by reducing moisture loss and soil erosion and bring nutrients to the surface through the taproot. Breaking up hardpan soils in cultivated fields and hosting nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the earth are positive benefits. Many weeds have colorful exotic flowers and prominent foliage in showy botanic gardens.

Adoptees with post traumatic stress disorder suffer greatly. They need to know that happiness and contentment come from rejecting the prosaic feelings of lonesomeness and tearful thoughts of separation associated with adoption. The question they should be asking is, “What’s wrong with attractive yellow flowers and purple Scottish Thistles?” Thistles have many reasons to be appreciated. What about dandelions? Bees make delicious honey from them. Winemakers use them to produce delicate wines, and they are edible and nutritious in salads. They have bright yellow flowers that add aesthetic beauty to alpine meadows and fallow fields. “Dandelions and thistles are tough, resilient plants that thrive in harsh environments and difficult circumstances. They are worthy and full of nature’s gold—just like you and me.”

Judith Land

About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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9 Responses to “Are you an adoptee who feels like a weed, out of place and unloved?”

  1. Almost worse than a weed when your own “parent” would refer to you as their adopted daughter.

  2. Mary Wolfe says:

    It’s worse when you are an older child when adopted. I realize now how I buried and blocked my feelings almost 60 years. Being not just rejected by your parents but being yanked from siblings and not knowing why. Now learning why makes it worse, but I understand why I have been so fearful of being rejected all my life, why I let people abuse me – including my adoptive parents, and walk all over me. Now I am trying to find the real me, and put that fear of rejection away, but it’s hard and scary. And I have found no support groups for others in my situation.

    • Rina Boyles says:

      Blessings to you, Mary. I am an adoptee too. Keeping you in prayer, tonight. We can’t figure it all out. However, I do believe us adoptees have a fine-tuned, heightened sense when it comes to life, in general. Don’t despair. I’m certain that God has an answer to all of this and every other unsettled situation in life. It also seems that there are many creative, artistic, musical types among us.

  3. Apologies for the expletive ; sometimes it is needed for emphasis – I am a fucking oak tree . I also apologise , in advance for torturing the metaphor which I have used . I have survived so much . I have overcome all the situations which are ostensibly my fault , but which on real analysis are adoption related behaviors and behavior patterns , Like an oak tree I have defined the environment around me – ” you know the field with the gnarled oak tree?” . This is not just nurture and adoption trauma giving me a hard shell – I have , by necessity , changed the field which surrounds me by a bit of self pruning , to ensure that there is still the oak tree which defines the field . There is something within my collective DNA which has coalesced with adoption and all her ‘gifts’ , to make me an emotional survivor. There are plenty of points of collective experiences and feelings within adoption . There are as many divergent , individual experiences . There is a danger in trying to make a club for adoptees ; it presupposes that we are all virtually identical and that our collective natures and nurturing have been identical . Each tree is unique .

    • Judith Land says:

      I have seen Britain’s most favorite tree, the “Major Oak” in Sherwood Forest used by the famous Robin Hood and his men for shelter; it is surrounded by mystique and folklore. With a waistline of 35 feet it is an impressive tree with a canopy of over ninety feet and it may be as old as 1000 years. Large oaks in history were frequently depicted as dwelling places for woodland spirits and seen as a medium of prophecy and knowledge. Ancient trees are inspirational in their beauty, majesty and spiritual qualities.

      I fully concur. I like your metaphor. Trees come in all shapes and sizes with varying fruits, nuts, foliage and flowers. It is wonderful you have a positive self-image of self as someone who is strong and independent, who can see above the fray of cliched, banal, stereotyped, and conventional life and distinguish the differences between people of substance and meaningfulness and the futile and unintelligible.

      Confidence is the full trust and belief in the power, trustworthiness, and reliability of our ability to succeed. Believing in oneself and our abilities is what leads to self-reliance and self-assurance. Confidence is the state of feeling certain about the truth that leads to positive feelings of self-assurance and trust in our abilities, qualities, and judgment that leads to higher self-esteem, feelings of good health, and ways of staying more in touch with others in a social context. When we see value in our own self-worth it helps us act with composure and assertiveness and feel more at peace with the world. Confidence is what helps us find the strength of mind to understand the psychology of human destiny that demonstrates how we can improvise or change our life script to create a happy ending.

    • Judith Land says:

      I think I’m a Norway pine and every year I add another ring to my trunk.

  4. Nearly … if this tree metaphor was only presented in a positive way then it would be trite and it would seem emotionally brittle . There are plenty of rings in the trunk and they don’t all have to be positive . An oak tree in the middle of the field is unique , but it is also solitary . Like the ‘Major Oak’, it is unknowable and its origins and purpose can only ever be a matter of speculation.

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