Adoption is one of the most life changing events in the lives of both parents and an adopted child. Parents become responsible for the development and growth of a new family member. Every story involving adoption is unique, which means that it is necessary to expect the most unusual reactions of an adopted person. The consequences of realizing the adoption may be different. However, in the majority of cases people feel thankful to their new parents for giving them a chance to live life at the fullest. There are various possible reactions of an adopted person, which may lead them towards the desire to find biological parents. Moreover, the adopted individuals often face psychological issues, which may require additional help and support in order to start living in peace. It is worth considering the challenges of being an adopted child along with post adaptation issues requiring professional psychological help.
Being An Adopted Child
When children realize that they have been adopted, it is necessary to expect both positive and negative outcomes of the behavior. The reaction of children is accompanied by stress, which leads them to the myriad of emotions. One of the most common reactions to adoption results in grief over the loss of the biological parents or relations with them. A child may also project the possibility of meeting biological parents and talking to them about the reasons they had to separate from their child. In addition, children may feel anger due to the unfairness of life and biological parents’ refusal from them. Semi-open and closed adoptions are the main triggers of grief, stress, and tension among adopted children due to the lack of information about biological parents. The most difficult period for an adopted child takes place in the teenage years accompanied by the outburst of emotions. A mixture of feelings covers abandonment and the feeling of being rejected by a biological mother. Children feel deep pain and sorrow due to the obstacles, which they had to face in their life. It becomes even more difficult for a child to accept the fact of adoption, when they realize that their biological mother gave birth to other children and did not reject them.
Adopted children feel significant difficulties in the accommodation to the idea that they could have another life. Emotionally charged life events including birth of children and marriage, or death of a parent lead to the outburst of emotions because of turbulence taking place in the psychological background. Loss of biological parents and family-related grief is not the only reflection of emotional non-stability of an adopted child. It may be even more difficult to realize the loss of the possible family members including brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. In this way, adopted children feel the lack of family identity even if they have warm relations with their new parents. A child may also feel the lack of cultural identity, if parents adopted a child from another country (Ballus and Perez-Testor). The children, who were adopted in teenage years, may feel lonely because of new surroundings, friends, school, and even pets. Adoption is not easy to accept for both parents and children, which means that there should be a period of adaptation leading to the inclusion of a child into the family. However, emotions will continue to have an influence throughout the lifespan. Parents should have enough tolerance, loyalty, and support helping a child to get used to the new life conditions and new family welcoming them to learn how to enjoy life again.
Emotions are not the only indicators of the difficult life period for adopted children. Adaptation of a child faces even more challenges from the psychological point of view. The complexity of the issue also refers to the identity problems. The formulation of identity aspects starts in the earliest childhood and continues to increase its intensity throughout the years. Even when adopted children become adults they suffer from the identity issues. In the adulthood, it becomes even more necessary to find biological parents and know what happened to their lives. Adopted children may also try to find their brothers and sisters in order to see the place where they were born. It does not mean that adopted children feel less gratitude to the parents who adopted them. It means that it is crucial to them to find their place of birth.
Adoptive identity has five phases including lack of awareness, emerging awareness, drowning in awareness, reemerging awareness, and peace. The phase of lack of awareness means that an adopted individual does not acknowledge the adoption in general. It is one of the most severe phases, which leads to the continuous desire to find biological parents and reunite with them. Emerging awareness means that an adopted individual accepts the fact of adoption but is aware of some issues, which do not lead to the desire to look for the biological family. Drowning in awareness is another dangerous phase accompanied by anger, stress, and anxiety. Reemerging awareness means that an individual accepts the fact of adoption and recognizes its positive influence without much intention to find answers to the adoption questions. Finding peace means that an individual managed to accept or solve the adoption issues, which allow returning to the routine performance with full comfort and patience.
Another widespread issue of post adoption period finds itself in the low score of self-confidence and self-esteem, which prevent an adopted child from comfortable performance. It happens for the reason of a feeling of being rejected or different from other people. Growing up away from the biological parents triggers the loss of confidence in the future, which may lead adopted individuals to depressive state of mind. In addition, long secrecy around the adoption of a child leads to the alienation of children from the parents who adopted them until they realize the positive aspects of adoption. As a result, parents also engage in the process of adaptation, which requires them to treat an adopted child with patience and tolerance before realization of being adopted. However, the main idea parents should understand is that adaptation and alienation are natural.
Managing adoption issues may be difficult and challenging, which means that adopted individuals need help and support. It is possible to outline several helpful options for adopted individuals, which may be useful in accommodating to routine life activity. Support groups is one of the most widespread psychologically beneficial way of finding relief from stress related to adoption. These groups consist of members who faced the same problem and who cannot find appropriate solutions. Active sharing of stories and experiences shows adopted individuals that they are not the only ones who faced the issue. It helps to relate to the experience of others and see the positive aspects of adoption accompanied by gratitude to the parents who accepted them as their biological child. In addition, support groups help to find answers to the question whether there is a need to find biological parents. Some group members may even share the experience of finding their birthmothers by showing the possible consequences of the meeting. If an individual feels sever grief and depression, there is a need to continue therapy with the help of the counsellor. Professional counselling became available in the contemporary society due to the demand in the psychological support. However, many counsellors do not know how to target the problems faced by adopted individuals, which means that there is a need to conduct a thorough research for the appropriate counsellor. Professional knowledge, outlook, and skills will identify the reasons of stress. As a result, an individual will be capable of realizing the role of adoption in his or her life. Education is another option available for adopted individuals willing to find explanations to their reactions and emotions. There is a myriad of literature holding articles with topics related to adoption, which explain the outburst of emotions and feelings related to the adoption. Nourishment of personal mind with knowledge about the problem helps to understand the factors, which led to the life changing decision of the new parents.
In general, the main support should come from the family members of the adopted person. Regardless of the intentions of the adopted individual to find biological parents or family members, new family should support such initiatives. Otherwise, there will be a gap in the communication and alienation of an adopted individual from parents will be intensified. Parents should be patient enough while waiting for their child to learn more about his or her life. It will help to reduce the influence of stress and emotional pressure.
Adoption is a complex process, which may take a life long journey. Emotions and feelings may require an individual to spend long years analyzing his or her life issues, lack of identity, and continuous state of depression. Nevertheless, there are effective solutions to the psychological imbalances, which may be useful in combating stress. Support groups, counselling, and education may be helpful in finding answers to the most worrying questions. As a result, adopted individuals find peace in their mind and have a fresh start in their perception of the surrounding world.