Last week we began to discuss the impact that adoption can have on adopted children. At A Is 4 Adoption, we do our very best to make sure that you and your child have the tools necessary not only to survive the adoption process, but to thrive together in a home full of love and acceptance. To do this, it is important for you to understand the effect that adoption could have on both you and your child, so that you can better address their emotions and help them work through any issues that come up in the future.
Along with feelings of grief and loss, adopted children may also experience a crisis of identity. A child’s identity begins forming very young, and while you love your child as your own and they think of you as their parents, being adopted may be an integral part of their identity development. Struggles they may face include:
- Why their birth parents didn’t want them (and other feelings of not being loved or wanted)
- Where there birth parents are now
- Whether or not they have any siblings
- Whether or not they look like their parents
- And others
While an open adoption may help to bridge the gap for some of these questions, it may not always be an option. Talk to us today if you are worried about other issues that may present themselves through open adoptions.
Phases of Identity Issues
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the phases of an adopted person’s awareness of their adoption and the identity issues that come with it, will generally look like:
Step One: The child has no awareness of the adoption, or its influence on their life.
Step Two: The child is aware and acknowledges that they were adopted, but sees it as a generally positive experience.
Step Three: Issues come to the forefront and the child starts to feel lost in grief, loss, and not understanding.
Step Four: The child realizes the issues but is able to see past them, acknowledging that the adoption is an overall positive experience and they are accepting of it.
Step Five: The child has worked toward understanding their identity issues and has recognized adoption’s miracle in their life. This step offers peace, understanding, and the joy that adoption has the power to bring to people’s lives.
While adopted children are similar to non-adopted children in many ways, one of the most noticeable differences that has been seen in past studies is adoptive children tend to have lower self-esteem than other children. Because each child is unique, this low self-esteem will often manifest itself in very different ways, and may be caused by a variety of different questions, but many adopted adults will describe the source to be feelings of rejection, of being different from other children, and of not being wanted or loved.
The best thing you can do for your adopted child is to show them how loved they are, to listen to their concerns, and never to make them feel like their issues are irrelevant or unfounded. The best way you can make them feel important is to let them know that you take their feelings seriously and want to help them.
Stay tuned to learn more about how adoption could affect adopted persons, and contact our professionals at A Is 4 Adoption for more information about our adoption process and how we work with families to make sure every child has their best chance.