Lighthouse Thoughts

September 7, 2012

The 7 Core Issues of Adoption

I was recently thinking about how my teen and some of her friend’s life experience’s may effect there relationships, especially as they enter the dating scene. I decided now might be a good time to review the “7 Core Issues of Adoption” as described, Silverstein and Kaplan.  Many members of the adoption tirade describe these as being life long and can affect adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents. The descriptions below look at adoptee and adoptive parents.  
Loss:  significantly impacts all members of the adoption triad. For adoptees, loss is most often equated to abandonment by birth parents. Adoptive parents who experienced infertility may suffer from self-esteem issues. The impact of infertility may be unacknowledged and trivialized. Adoptive parents may try to overcompensate. 
Rejection: An adoptee perceives that they were rejected by their birthparents and responsible for the rejection. This may results in self-esteem issues and an anticipated response or rejection from others.   Adoptive parents may feel a sense of isolation from their peers. They may reject or blame their partner.
Guilt and Shame: Adoptees may feel guilt because they believe they are responsible for their loss. They may be ashamed of being different, or feel guilty that they survived.
Adoptive parents may feel responsible for their infertility. They may believe they are being “punished for their past sins”.
Greif: Loss of a birth family/culture is often unacknowledged. If a child is not allowed to grieve, this can lead to emotional or behavioral issues. Adoptive parents with unresolved grief may have problems attaching to their child. They may perceive a child’s grief as rejection.
Identity: The personal identity of an adoptee may be affected as they struggle with the question “Who am I?” Adoptees, especially trans-racially adopted children may struggle with a sense of belonging. Adoptive parents may lose their sense of identity through crisis levels of stress, post adoption depression, infertility or a difficult adoption process.
                       
Intimacy: Having experienced loss, rejection, self esteem, and identity issues, adoptees may struggle with intimacy issues. They may have a diminished capacity or resistance to attachment. Adoptive parents with unresolved grief may struggle with intimacy issues and martial problems.
Control: Loss of control can result in control issues and power struggles. Adoptees may struggle to control their environment in an attempt to feel secure.  Many aspects of adoption are out the adoptive parent’s control. Overcompensation caused by lack of control can become a continuing frustration even after an adoption is finalized. 

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