Your heart swells every time you look over and see that unabashed grin on your child’s face. It’s one given without fear, without thought. Not long ago, you could only dream of a moment like this. You used to lay in bed at night and wonder incessantly of the life you’d share with your future adopted child. Overnight, it seems, these dreams morphed into reality. Through adoption, you were finally able to grow your family and become an adoptive parent. So why are you suddenly worried about the adoption-related issues your child may face?
It’s going to be okay! Adoption Choices of Colorado knows that, while you’re joyous to be entering parenthood, you also fear for the future. The last thing you want is for your child’s smile to become hesitant. Filled with pain. This is normal! In order to help, we did our research and found these seven well known core issues of adoption. Awareness of these issues will allow you to better address the complex challenges and feelings your child may experience throughout various stages of development.
The truth at the core of adoption is that there is no adoption without loss. For adoptees, they lose their birth families and possibly their cultural beliefs and surroundings. No matter the details of the adoption, loss is unavoidable. This is why it’s often at the heart of most adoptees’ emotional and psychological issues. A sense of loss can lead to a fear of abandonment and commitment hesitancy.
Even though adoption plans are created out of love and with the child’s best interests in mind, it’s common for adoptees to feel rejected or abandoned. This perceived loss of inclusion can be hurtful. After all, people get their most basic needs met through human connectedness; so, feeling rejected or ostracized from a birth family can cause an adoptee to feel a deep sense of abandonment and isolation. Rejection can interfere with parent-child relationships, romantic relationships, and even friendships.
3. Shame and Guilt
Most adoptees who believe they were rejected or abandoned also experience shame. Some believe that their behavior was why their birth mother placed them for adoption. Others feel they did not have value or were not good enough or cute enough. Guilt and shame can contribute to low self-esteem and self-destructive behaviors, which can lead to a demand for self-perfection.
The profound losses that created feelings or fears of rejection, which led to the emotions of shame and guilt, must be grieved. Grief for adoptees is complex. They have experienced a profound loss that changed the trajectory of their life. In the rearranging of family trees through adoption, they are grieving as their understanding of what happened to them unfolds. While grief is universal, it’s experienced as a personal and highly individual process. Every adoptee grieves according to their own timeline and in their own way.
Adoptees wrestle with these fundamental human questions – Who Am I? Where Do I Belong? Who Are My People? – on a level most adoptive parents can’t comprehend. They often feel as if their identity is incomplete, being born into one family but becoming part of another. Adoptees are on a quest to understand who they are and where they fit. They want to share their stories with others to better understand themselves. Stories that are broken due to historical or personal events can make it difficult for people to understand and express who they are and solidify their life’s narrative. For some adoptees, the intensity and depth of these questions interferes with the development of a sense of self.
Intimacy requires an adoptee to know who they are, what they need in relationships, and believe that they have value. But issues of adoption often interfere and cause relationship problems. Loss, rejection, shame, grief, identity-questioning can accumulate and compound in the mind of an adoptee and can lead to difficulty developing intimate relationships. Intimate attachment in relationships requires trust, respect, acceptance, empathy and reciprocity.
7. Mastery and Control
Major, life-altering decisions are made for adoptees, often without their consent or awareness. Even when for the better, their worlds are turned upside down without warning. It’s no wonder that adoptees often have a need to control certain things. This can play out differently for different people and may be recognized in anxiety disorders, dysfunctional relationships, and eating disorders. It’s also a contributor to adoptees’ issues with perfectionism and attempted control.
Issues of Adoption
Adoption Choices of Colorado wants you to rest easy! While there are some adoptees who experience adoption-related issues, many do not. How and when they are affected by both the positive and challenging issues of adoption depends upon factors such as personality, temperament, and support systems.
Keep admiring the smile on your child’s face. Only this time, do it without fear of the future. Should he or she exhibit any struggles, you’re prepared! Knowing these seven core issues of adoption allows you to, not only be there for your child, but also help him or her along the way.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
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
Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
This year, she’s joining Adoption Choices Inc. as an Editorial Intern. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.
When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.
“7 Core Issues of Adoption.” AFFCNY, 2016, https://affcny.org/adoption/become-an-adoptive-parent/adoptionissuestoconsider/7-core-issues/.
“Lighthouse Thoughts.” Beacon House Adoption Services, https://www.beaconhouseadoption.com/2012/09/the-7-core-issues-of-adoption/.
Roszia, Sharon Kaplan, and Allison Davis Maxon. “Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency.” The North American Council on Adoptable Children, 2019, https://www.nacac.org/resource/seven-core-issues-in-adoption-and-permanency/.