Adoption & Attachment Issues

Adoption & Attachment Issues

It is natural for an adopted child to have questions regarding his birth parents. Open adoptions afford adopted children and birth parents the opportunity to communicate. A closed adoption, either at the request of the birth parents or the adoptive parents, allows for no communication until the child reaches legal age.

For a child to learn he was adopted can be a traumatic event—particularly if it is an unintended disclosure. It calls into question everything he hitherto believed about himself and his life. Less traumatic but still troubling is the scenario of a child adopted from a foreign country. This person has questions about his culture, his parents and the circumstances surrounding his adoption.

Common psychological effects of adoption:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Low self-esteem

  • Reactive attachment disorder—RAD

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder—PTSD

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—ADHD

  • Identity issues

  • Generalized feelings of grief, loss and rejection

Adolescence is a period of physical and emotional development. A young man carves out his identity during puberty. He develops serious relationships outside the family. A young man who learns he is adopted may react negatively to the news. This added wrinkle to the palette of adolescent angst can only exacerbate any emotional issues the young man already is experiencing.

The magazine Adoption Voices notes adoptees constitute less than two percent of the U.S. population but comprise 25 to 35 percent of teens in treatment facilities and institutions.

Helping an adopted child

Save for infants or toddlers, an adopted child will be apprehensive in his new environment. Parents can ease this transition by providing unconditional love and support the moment the child enters the home. A child must know instinctively his parents are there to protect him. It is entirely possible the young man believes his birth parents gave him up because they did not love him. Adoptive parents can mitigate these feelings through communication, support and security.

How WRA treats young men with adoption/attachment issues

When a young men enters White River Academy, he joins a community. Each student attends WRA for a particular issue. Some attend because of substance abuse. Others have behavioral issues. A young man with adoption or attachment issues becomes integrated into the community through group participation. This includes group therapy, outdoor activities, campus events, sports and community projects of service. For more information about our programs, our campus, staff and treatment options, please contact 866-520-0905.

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Justin Nielson

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