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Adopting - Emotional Issues

Adopting - Emotional IssuesAdopting - Emotional Issues

Emotional Issues of Adopting

This page and its links explain some of the emotional effects that adoption can have on a child.  Being aware of these issues will allow you to better help your child.

Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons

Every child goes through periods of adjustment and development issues as he or she grows. In addition to the normal development issues, a child that has been adopted, as opposed to being born into the family, faces unique issues and concerns.  These issues often center around feelings of loss, grief, abandonment, self-esteem, and identity.

Regarding feelings of loss and grief, many adopted children feel loss and grief related to not being raised by their biological parent(s) and feeling abandoned.  The child may grieve for the loss that they feel. Adopted persons, especially those adopted when they were older or were adopted from foster care, may also have to deal with the loss of siblings, grandparents, and other significant people who were, or might have been, part of their life.

Self-esteem is how a person feels about themselves, their sense of value, worth and purpose.  Many studies have found that adopted persons often score lower on measures of self-esteem and self-confidence than their non-adopted counterparts.

The development of identity is important throughout childhood but typically becomes more focused during adolescence.  Identity development can be more complicated for an adopted child since questions come up about why they were placed for adoption, who are their biological parents, what do these biological parents do, what do they look like, what genetic or other behavior problems do they have.  The adolescent may also focus on the question of who really are they and where do they really belong.

The adopted child and the adoptive parents may need help resolving feelings about the adoptee not growing up with their birth parents and about their feelings of loss and lack of clear identity. Needing outside help is common and many adoptive families seek post adoption assistance for themselves and the adopted child. Some of the approaches to therapy are discussed in the links Adoption Therapy and More Therapeutic Help.

You may also find the link  Emotional Issues and Adoption and the Child Welfare Information Gateway fact sheet Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons.

Families who have adopted a child from the foster may experience some special problems. A good summary and a good source of helpful information is the Child Welfare Information Gateway article Helping a Foster Child Transition to Your Adopted Child.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway article Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents looks at adoption and emotional issues from the standpoint of the birth parents.  This information can help you more fully understand the adoption process and its emotional ramifications for the birth mother and birth father.

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

Adopting - Emotional IssuesAdopting - Emotional Issues