Navigating the Difficulties of Adoption: Supporting Your Child and Being Their Voice

August 10, 2023 | 5 min read

For families formed through adoption, the notion of advocating for yourself and your family can seem both daunting and intimidating. After all, it's not always easy to go up against the system - the seemingly ever-changing landscape of legal documentation, regulations, social services standards, and more.

But advocacy is a powerful tool you should cultivate to protect yourself and your family from any unnecessary hardship or harm that could arise from navigating these complex systems. In this blog post, we'll discuss concrete tips on advocating for yourself as a child who's been adopted or adoptive parent so that no matter what curveballs life throws your way, you're equipped with the knowledge and resources to do what's best for your family.

Challenges Children Who Have Been Adopted Face At Home

Children who have been adopted often experience unique and complex issues at home that can create feelings of resentment, isolation, and confusion. A lack of understanding or acceptance from family members can lead to an identity crisis in which the child feels like an outsider and doesn't fit in with either their adoptive family or the culture they were born into. This can be further compounded by a lack of communication between the child's adoptive parents and their birth parents.

Furthermore, adoption is often accompanied by a range of emotional issues that are unique to the individual. For example, abandonment issues may arise for those separated from their birth families. Children in these situations may have difficulty forming attachments with new people, worry about fitting in or a sense of belonging, and feel frustrated from a lack of identity.

Looking for ways to better advocate for your adopted child? @NEChildrensHome’s blog is full of tips and advice you need. Check it out here:Click To Tweet

One key way of supporting children who have been adopted is through open dialogue about their feelings. This communication allows them to express themselves more freely without fear of judgment or rejection. It also helps build an understanding of how adoption has impacted their lives so far. Additionally, providing an environment where children who have been adopted feel safe to explore their identities without feeling pressured or judged by anyone else’s expectations or standards is crucial.

Providing a secure home life where children feel accepted and supported in exploring who they are can help children who have been adopted better understand themselves and transition through any difficult situations at home more easily.

Struggles Children Who Have Been Adopted May Face At School

Children who have been adopted may experience struggles in school that are different from their peers. First, they may feel disconnected or different from their peers. This feeling of isolation can be compounded when they are asked to do assignments that assume a traditional family, such as creating a family tree. This sense of disconnection is especially salient if their adoptive family is interracial, large, or extended.

Second, children who have been adopted are more likely to have trouble in school and see their grades drop due to trauma stemming from being separated from their birth parents. Plus, it can be difficult for a child who has been adopted to know how to speak to school counselors and teachers on their behalf, as they may not understand the full context of the adoption process.

Children who have been adopted need additional support and understanding when navigating school life. Without adequate resources or attention given to the unique experiences of children who have been adopted, it becomes harder for them to succeed academically or connect with peers.

For example, schools should have access to counseling services specifically geared towards adoption-related issues so that students can receive support for any trauma related to separation from birth parents.

Learn how to navigate the challenges children face during adoption & become an effective advocate for your adopted child. Get tips from our blog today:Click To Tweet

Additionally, educational materials should reflect different types of families so that all students can see themselves represented in classroom activities and assignments. Finally, teachers should be given specialized training in working with students who have been adopted to provide the necessary guidance and resources for these students’ educational success.

Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health

Children who have been adopted often experience a difficult journey with mental health. They are faced with the uncertainty of their past, present, and future and may be dealing with:

  • Identity issues
  • Feeling disconnected from their parents
  • Having difficulty forming relationships with peers

They may also struggle with self-esteem as they try to understand their adoption story and what it means for them.

Sadness, anger, and fear are all normal emotions that children who have been adopted can experience during the adoption process. These can lead to further struggles such as anxiety or depression. For example, they may be overwhelmed by the sense of abandonment when separated from adoptive parents in unfamiliar environments.

It is important for children who have been adopted to learn how to express these feelings in healthy ways so they can build resilience and cope better with stressors in life.

One way to help a child who has been adopted struggling with mental health is to talk openly with them about their feelings and experiences associated with being adopted. Recognizing that this is a difficult journey is key because it helps create a safe space where the child can open up without any judgment or stigma attached. It also allows adoptive parents to provide support and understanding without imposing expectations on them.

Additionally, seeking help from mental health professionals can give the child access to therapeutic approaches tailored specifically for children dealing with adoption-related issues like grief, guilt, and confusion over identity. Talking about such topics openly can allow for greater insight into how a child who has been adopted feels and provide guidance for finding positive solutions that work best for them.

As a parent of a child who has been adopted, it can be hard to witness and even harder to help your child with the struggles that arise. Despite this, you should remember that issues like feeling isolated or disconnected from peers are entirely normal and that providing resources and support for your child is the best course of action in addressing it.

Start by speaking with mental health professionals about your concerns, helping your child connect to their peers at school, and creating healthy dynamics in the home. Letting them know they are loved unconditionally is one of the most important things in helping them overcome struggles.

Even though adoptive parents may feel at a loss as to how best to tackle adoption-related issues, it can seem manageable if they are armed with the right information and community support. NCHS offers tons of resources geared specifically toward families formed through adoption, so don’t hesitate – reach out today!