How do adoptees feel about Shel Silverstein’s book “The Giving Tree”?

Ahhh… another review about the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

The author of this article mentions, among other things, the fascination of orphan-hood to children who aren’t orphans.
As adoptees, we don’t know our conception and birth truths. We grow up not knowing.

For me, I hated stories and movies of orphans because I grew up knowing that my mother died and that’s how I became adopted by two people who became my parents. The horrible truth actually happened to me. Other kids could hide in their fantasies, relieved that they aren’t orphans after all. But not me.
I never read The Giving Tree until recently. I do not like this book. I look at it from an adult’s perspective. And from an educated adoptee’s perspective.
I see the anguish on the old man’s (the boy) face as he sits down on the tree’s stump. Is he realizing his or the tree’s life as a wasted life? Is he saying, “ What did I do?”
A tree (mother) who gave everything. An unselfish mother or a mother who lacks confidence to say no?
Would a male tree do the same? Would a little girl growing up do the same?
As adoptees, what does this say about our adoptions?
As adoptees, do we see this book differently?
What do mothers of children lost to adoption think of The Giving Tree?
In reading the Comments Section, one stood out:

“I rather thought the point of the story was that we sometimes don’t realize how much the people in our lives love us and appreciate them as we should- but the ones who truly love us continue to love us anyway. i thought it was to teach a child appreciation and awareness.”

To which, I replied:

“Yours is the only response that redeems this book to me. Thank you.”

In retrospect, yes, I suppose The Giving Tree does teach a child appreciation and awareness. That is what my daughter said she felt about this book when she was a child. She read it at summer camp.

Adoptee Suicide

The author of this blog post, Elle Cuardaigh, states: “I never felt my mother abandoned me. I never felt abandoned. But I have felt keenly alone.

Enough to kill myself.”
It is the alone-ness that eats at me. Adoption did not provide for me a better life. Sure, during my childhood, I had it good. But I was raised as an only child. I was alone. Meanwhile, my adoptive parents and all of my extended adoptive family knew I was not alone. I was really the youngest of five children. I was intentionally kept apart from my full blood siblings. And then they found me. And the bickering between me and my adoptive parents began. And me being attacked by the rest of my adoptive family, save but a few. And then the attacks upon me by the very siblings who found me. I was different, not like them, spoiled, they said. I should shut up, do not write about my adoption-reunion. Too bad. I am. Because I stand up for myself, I am alone.
I promised my cousin a few nights ago that I would not kill myself. With a handful of relatives who love me, I realize I am not alone. They know what adoption did to me.

elle cuardaigh


When L’wren Scott took her own life, those of us in the adoption community said, “Another.”

It was so recent that Charlotte Dawson had done the same:

These two celebrity deaths made us take notice of a recent study, although many of us did not need “proof”:

Adoptees are four times more likely than the non-adopted to attempt suicide. And those who attempt suicide are much more likely to actually die that way.

We are the lucky ones, aren’t we. The fortunate. The chosen. The ones who weren’t aborted, as we are so often reminded. So we’d better be grateful. By the same line of reasoning, we were thrown away. Abandoned. And to even think about “those people” is betrayal to the ones who raised us, our real parents.

So why are we killing ourselves?

L’wren Scott and Charlotte Dawson should have been Successful Adoption poster children…

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Adoption Trauma: Farewell Charlotte Dawson

For many reasons, I’ve been thinking about adoptees and suicide. This dark subject haunts me. I battle depression and suicidal ideation nearly every day. The pain of my life as a bullied adoptee means that I must constantly renew my promise (not to kill myself) to those who love me. Despite the bullying directed at me, there are people who love me. People who would be crushed if I were to complete a suicide attempt.
I made a promise to my cousin a few days ago, that I would not succumb to my thoughts of wanting to die. It’s strange how a call out of the blue can be both sad and uplifting at the same time.
Though I never knew Charlotte Dawson, we had adoption in common. And being mocked, stalked, and bullied on Twitter.

Kim Coull

As a fellow adoptee my heart goes out to Charlotte Dawson in her tragic passing. She has been on my radar for many years now, since I found out she was adopted at birth and now, here in memoriam, I can again feel her a breath away from my soul.
A lot has been said about the reasons for her suicide and without wanting to butt in as a stranger where I am not welcome, I do feel I have a silent and meaningful connection with her as a fellow adoptee. There are often many reasons behind a suicide and Charlotte had complex, compelling, and overlapping traumas in her life that may have lead to her early death. However, I would also like to say, from my position as an adoptee, that Adoption Trauma is (as Von Coates has also posted on her Facebook page) still grievously overlooked and underappreciated in society today. I…

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