There are different stages in adoptees’ lives when they will ask questions about who they are and where they come from. Adoption, for some, can cause a mix of emotions and feelings surrounding their own experience. When it comes to their mental and emotional health, this should be handled in a comfortable setting for them to cope. This blog is part one of how to handle, treat and support the adoptees during the possible challenges they face with adoption.
All adopted persons are entitled to their own feelings about their adoption, positive or negative. Like everyone else, they live in a society with different issues and struggles that may impact their everyday lives. These should never be ignored nor should they be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Throughout their lives, they may wish to reach out to different people and adoption groups that can help them understand adoption and allow them to interact with other adopted individuals.
The regulations for the state of Nevada on post-placement includes visits to your home. At this time adoptive parents may ask the caseworker for additional resources on where to find health professionals and/or possible adoption groups for the child. Adoption Choices of Nevada provides that helping hand for the different steps that not only birth parents will go through, but also the adoptive parents.
Mental Aspect of Identity and Self-Esteem
Adopted children can gradually develop different insecurities that can affect how they form as individuals and relate to others in the future. For instance, some adoptees may have trouble understanding who they are and where they fit in with their family and in society. The constant battle of not knowing where you belong can cause negative effects on their mental health. Encouraging an open line of discussion about their adoption allows a more at ease feeling about being adopted.
Depending on the child’s age and maturity level, their feelings and responses towards their adoption may be different. They may create fantasies or possible beliefs that they were given away for being bad or kidnapped. Adolescents will go through their own stages of identity, and therefore, the adopted family should expect questions and curiosity and should support the adoptee with sensitivity.
Emotional Aspect of Loss and Anxiety
At any age, adopted individuals will face a grieving period. During this time, they can feel the sadness of the loss for their birth family. This grief should never be ignored or denied. The adoptive family should support the child and provide some type of counseling support if the child is showing signs of depression, or it is affecting their function of life. An option that parents can consider is seeking a psychiatric referral. You want to provide a safe place for the child to discuss their feelings without judgment or fear of rejection. Importantly, the adopted family should not take this personally. It is not a statement about anything the adopted family has or has not done, but rather an example of the child trying to understand his or her own identity.
Adopted children may experience trauma in their early life. If they had a previous family or time spent in an orphanage or foster home, they may have felt separation, neglect, and/or abuse. Events or situations that provoke these emotions can trigger a negative reaction from the adoptee. For instance, if a child was adopted at an older age, they may develop separation anxiety and always worry that they will be put back up for adoption to another family. This type of anxiety can be handled differently for each adopted individual. Sometimes therapy is needed as a way to help the child work out the issues and to accept and mourn the losses. Not all work is done within the therapy office, but rather with the adoptive family. This offers an opportunity for everyone to come together to build stronger communication, and bond with each other as a family unit.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Make an Impact
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Strom graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx in May of 2018, where she received her bachelors in Professional Writing. After receiving her education at Lehman College, Rachel is currently interning at Adoption Choices Inc., where she is a weekly blogger.
Rachel was adopted from Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991. Her adoption experience has helped her write articles for Adoption Choices Inc., from the perspective of an adoptive individual. She hopes her articles will help someone looking into adoption or encourage those currently in the process.
When Rachel is not writing for Adoption Choices Inc. or her own novels she enjoys her other passion for baking, where she resides, in the New York City area. When she is baking, music is always playing throughout the kitchen while she is whipping up a delectable dessert for her friends and adoptive family.
AACAP. “Adopted Children.” Adopted Children, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Oct. 2015, www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/facts_for_families/fff-guide/The-Adopted-Child-015.aspx.
Ferlic, Janko, and Unsplash. 2018.
Randall, Nancy PSY.D., and Kim Shepardson Watson, LCSW. “Post-Adoption Services: Acknowledging and Dealing with Loss.” Edited by Chuck Johnson and Megan Lestino, Adoption Council, National Council For Adoption, Mar. 2016, www.adoptioncouncil.org/files/large/ad07fe3e4ce31cd.
Schwartz, Allan., LCSW, PH.D. “Psychological Issues Faced By Adopted Children And Adults.” Mental Help Psychological Issues Faced by Adopted Children and Adults Comments, www.mentalhelp.net/articles/psychological-issues-faced-by-adopted-children-and-adults/.
“Understanding adoption: A developmental approach.” Paediatrics & Child Health vol. 6,5 (2001): 281-91.
Whitt, Jordan, and Unsplash. 2018.