Adopting a child is a wonderful way to start or add to a family. Adoption involves making some choices that are unique to the notion of “having children.” Some of these decisions include whether to pursue open versus closed adoption, the age of the child to be adopted, whether to adopt a child with special needs or different racial or ethnic backgrounds and how to deal with language barriers. Adoptive parents must decide how to assimilate the adoptive child into an existing family as well as the extended family and the community in which the family lives. Most adopted children make a relatively smooth transition into their adoptive families and their developmental stages are often indistinguishable from their nonadopted peers. However, a small number of adopted children or adolescents experience medical, psychological, or learning problems that require professional intervention.
Frequently, adopted children need to work through their feelings of sadness, abandonment, loss of family history and identity including helpful medical information. Some will fantasize about their biological parents and look at people around them to see whom they resemble physically or in their personality. As they approach their teen years, some adoptees may wish to search for their biological parents while others will have no interest or curiosity in doing so. These issues require thoughtful attention and parental guidance and are best approached in a relaxed and open manner. At Silber Psychological Services, we believe that learning about adoption is an ongoing process preferably to be welcomed with honesty, patience, and empathy. Adopted children need to be able to help set the pace as to how much and when they want information related to their adoption. Parents are there to guide, support, encourage and help with limits and healthy boundaries.
Learning more about the issues that can surface at different stages with adopted children can help adoptive parents and their children go through developmental stages more easily. Adopted children have a genetic blueprint that will differ from their adoptive family’s genetics that in part influences their behavior, school performance, and capacity to form relationships. For example, traits inherited from birth parents can play a strong role in certain problems that are often seen in childhood including ADHD, learning disabilities, or disruptive behaviors to name a few. Some adopted children have experienced inconsistent nurturing early in life that can impair their ability to form healthy attachments and trust with others in spite of being placed in a safe and loving adoptive home. Managing of these issues may require professional help.
Both adoptive parents and their adopted children may experience frustration, anger, sadness, or confusion when adoption issues arise. When your efforts to deal with these problems in successful ways fail and disruptive behavior or breakdowns in communication occur, it may be time to seek professional help. At Silber Psychological Services we can help with a wide range of adoption issues. We teach adoptive parents and children to find resolutions that can lead to more satisfying interactions and relationships in their life together.