Adoption is often a complex issue. For the child involved, finding out that you are adopted can sometimes be traumatic or life-altering, regardless of if you are a child, adolescent or adult when you find out. At the very least, this can be a real shock and take some time to process.
If you have surrendered a child to adoption, that can also be a confusing time for you- whether it is recent, or you’ve had an adult child seek you out – adoption can be filled with complicated emotions.
Adoptive parents can also struggle when a child is curious to know more about their birth parents, or the birth parent seeks out the child they gave up for adoption.
Occasionally, these situations can cause some psychological issues that require help to resolve.
Some of the issues that may arise due to an adoption include:
For the child:
- Lack of trust – especially if they feel they’ve been deceived for a long time
- Feelings of abandonment by birth parents
- Fear of future abandonment by anyone in a close relationship
- Acting out (expressing anger inappropriately or directed at innocent bystanders)
- Guilt (why did my parent not want me?)
- Feelings of not being good enough
For the birth parent:
- Guilt about surrendering their child or causing them stress over learning of their adoption
- Anxiety about the relationship moving forward
- Grief for all that they’ve missed in the child’s life
- Anger at having this part of their life exposed or revisited – especially if they did not seek out the child
For the adoptive parent:
- Fear of losing their child
- Anger towards the birth parent for interfering if they sought out the child
- Anger towards their child – why do they need to know more about their birth parents – aren’t they happy in this family?
- Guilt if they’d kept the adoption hidden
When is it time to get help?
You may experience prolonged or severe symptoms of:
- Grief or loss
- Anger management issues
- Self esteem issues
Having complicated and strong feelings about adoption and your role in it is perfectly normal. However, if you are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your enjoyment of life or daily functioning then it’s time to seek support.
There are several options that may help you with adoption-raised issues. Often, the first place to start is meeting with a counsellor in order to determine the best therapies for your needs. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, your therapist can offer therapeutic approaches that are right for you. Traditional talk therapy or psychotherapy, mindfulness, EMDR, and more can be helpful for youth and adults. Play and Art therapy is effective with children.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight?
Working together with a therapist can help you to overcome the feelings that are dominating your life in relation to adoption. It is possible to heal, enjoy healthy self esteem, and move on to have healthy relationships – now and in the future. Insight Psychological has a number of child-therapy and adult specialists on staff in our locations. Please call today to set up an appointment.
Featured Therapists that can help:
Other Therapists that can help: