Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Emotional Impacts of Adoption

Adoption gives children a second chance of living a long, healthy and happy life with guardians who vow to give them proper care and provide a loving environment to grow up. Though most adoptees develop normally, with positive social and emotional wellbeing, there are unique issues and emotional effects that come with being an adopted child.

Adopted children will likely face concerns over the course of their development. Though it varies with every child, there are common emotional struggles related to an adopted life, including feelings of loss, grief and abandonment. Some children will not understand these feelings early in their lives, but most come to identify them later on. The sense of loss occurs from being separated from their birth mother. This detachment imprints a subconscious trauma on the adoptee, leaving them with feelings of grief and abandonment. As mentioned before, the adoptee often is not aware of these emotions until adolescence, when they have a greater understanding of their adoption. Early feelings of abandonment may resurface when an adoptee loses a loved one or experiences a divorce. Such fear of loss may inhibit an individual’s ability to have healthy committed relationships or prevent them from initiating in any form of intimacy.

As adopted children grow to be teenagers, many feel a shake in their identity because they lack the security that non-adoptive peers derive from their biological parents. During this time, adoptees can feel confused, angry, sad, lonely, misplaced and isolated. They often have questions about their birth parents, information that may or may not be available to them, depending on the details of their adoption. Their identity can seem uncertain, without knowing who or where they came from. This is the most challenging time for an adopted person because they may start to realize there are no similarities in physical appearance or personality to their adoptive parents, which can create a disconnect and may lead to problems, such as acting out or rebellion against adoptive guardians. At this period of question, adoptees may also begin to create scenarios or fantasies about their birth parents. This is only natural, but may also inhibit moving forward with a rewarding life.

Along with inquiries of their heritage, religion, ethnicity, education, social class and culture, comes the question of medical history. Because a lot of adoptions are closed, this information is not always readily available and can lead to real issues in the health of an adoptee. Without a proper medical history, adopted individuals cannot be sure if his or her biological family has a history of disease or health conditions. This information becomes a serious issue when an adopted woman is trying to become pregnant, as she may not know if there is a history of genetic disorders. For this reason, some adopted individuals refrain from having children at all.

Although there may be emotional difficulties, many adopted children end up developing into healthy and happy adults. Adoptive parents can provide a home of love, warmth and care for these children, while supporting them through stages of confusion, grief and frustration. The best way to manage these problems is to recognize them and offer help and encouragement through these times. If you are interested in learning more about adoption, contact our adoption professionals for more information.

This article was written by Alonso Borra on behalf of AdoptHelp, we are a full service domestic adoption center specializing in both independent and collaborative adoptions. To know the pros and cons of adoption, visit

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