Adopted Children And Psychological Problems

Less than 2% of children in the United States are adopted. However, every single one of those children has a burden that the other 98% of children don't experience. This extra burden could explain why, despite the low percentage of adopted children, they make up 25 - 35% of youth correctional facilities. Even though 90% of adopted children express positive feelings toward their adoption and their adopted family, these children still face emotional issues that adopted parents need to be ready to manage. 

Common mental health issues in adopted children:

  • Identity formation
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of rejection
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Adopted Child Syndrome

Understanding mental health problems in adopted children:

Many adoptive parents have a hard time understanding the feelings of rejection and sadness of their adoptive children. They know how much that they love their adoptive child and what a nice home the child now has. Why would the child feel so unwanted and sad? Most adopted children, despite having a good home and good family, still feel a void in not knowing their adoptive parents. Interaction with adoptive parents cannot be determined as positive or negative as all circumstances vary. 

Supporting an adoptive child's positive mental health

  • Always be honest

Adopted children take news about their adoptive parents and the news that they are adopted better when they learn this early in life. Be open and talk to your adopted child about the process and how much you love them, too. 

Many children feel better once they forgive their adoptive parents for abandoning them. Cognitive forgiveness therapy consists of the child thinking about their birth parents' situation and coming to the realization that the adoption was for the best.  Supporting and encouraging this journey can make the child feel supported and understood.

  • Set boundaries

Adopted children should be supported and loved. Adopted children should also be disciplined when they behave inappropriately. Create specific rules and boundaries while also being as supportive as possible. 

Success Stories 

If your adoptive child feels misunderstood, there are organizations at most public schools and in most areas that can offer support. Furthermore, many successful people have been adopted. The list is extensive, but some major names include Bill Clinton, Babe Ruth, John Lennon, and Steve Jobs. Jobs in particular has been vocal about the "unresolved pain" being adopted has brought into his life. And he went on to make the iPhone. 

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