possible difficulties for adopted children

simply stephen / November 22, 2011

All children (and adults too) face a variety of hardships and problems. For adoptees, a variety of unique problems and possible social outcomes typically occur.

Experts argue on many results but some studies have shown emotional and mental behavioural problems are greatly increased for the adopted child. They do agree that almost all adopted children will have some kind of attachment issue and some difficulty connecting with people.

common emotional issues

There are common emotional issues many adopted children might face during their lifetime, partly because of the trauma of adoption.

Connection and affection is often difficult, especially toward caregivers and in relationships. An adoptee may even connect with a stranger instead of someone they know because it involves less emotional attachment. Emotion is something that frightens them and they may seem distant to the ones close to their heart. Relationships with peers and co-workers are often strained and demanding.

Adoptees may possess a low self-esteem and be extremely clingy or jealous. That’s because confidence is often lacking. Dealing with people, especially when they feel misunderstood or are having a difficult time verbalizing, may involve a fight for control. This is often in a passive aggressive style. So they might just be bossy or have a tendency to want to know everybody’s business.

They want to be in control.

behavioural difficulties

Other behavioural difficulties involve extreme anger and lack of ability to control their temper. This could invole acting impulsively but laying blame or behaving in an oppositional manner is not uncommon. Instead of thinking first, they might just react. There are ways to deal with anger.

It’s an attempt to protect themselves.

Consequences don’t matter, they are nothing compared to the turmoil they might be feeling.

It’s not surprising that lying, stealing, cruelty, disrespect, bad mouthing, early sexual behaviour, hoarding, possessive tendencies, carelessness, recklessnes, poor hygiene and abnormal eating habits are frequent. They need boundaries or else they will seek attention…any attention.

Sleep afflictions are very common including nightmares and insomnia. Bed wetting can also accompany the poor sleep habit. A fear to go to sleep can eventually lead to permanent insomnia or light sleep habits. This does have it’s advantages, with 24 hours in a day, when you sleep very little you can use the day to achieve and enjoy many things.

I’ve learned to appreciate stimulation and life that I get to live instead of “sleeping it away”.

With so much emotional strain, an adopted child is probably extreme when it comes to social behaviour. They either want excessive attention or are extremely anti-social. The child has lost trust in society and may lack the ability to believe in anything or anybody.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Development of skills can be severely stunted at important stages of a human life. A poor memory and difficult time learning is a result of emotional trauma. If a person is protecting themselves in a flight or fight manner when they should be learning and growing it is obvious that life skills are being lost.

Regaining skills and emotional ability later in life is much more difficult. It is likely they will be working on healing. Many adult adoptees are busy learning how to cope with life, instead of enjoying it. They lose the early foundation for work, relationship and happiness.

OK. That was a pretty vivid blurb. It seems a little bit lumped together.

I’m adopted. What I found interesting was all the talk about “experts and studies” and the mixed results. Yet all of them talk about the merits of the studies with out realizing that in all sample groups the issues adoptees struggle with occur much more frequently than the general population. The lists of issues are also very similar on every resource I reviewed.

Want to hear the kicker…I have struggled (or still do) with just about every issue mentioned in the above paragraphs. Fortunately my parents taught me to focus on integrity, so I constantly work on my virtues. My mantra is “do no harm” – believe me I know what it feels like to hurt, so I don’t want to harm.

If one addresses adoption issues and trauma, they may gain so much more insight, compassion and human understanding than the average person will ever reach.

We all make mistakes and all have issues. Regardless of if you are adopted, we all have the power to change, grow and develop into a person that we can be proud of. There is no easy button, we have choices. There are places and people that you can turn to. Help is available to create a life that offers happiness and prosperity. You just have to reach out for it.

Adopted people have a few extra hurdles to face early on, but the earlier you address them, the better your outlook becomes. I also think they have a greater chance of understanding the human condition!

Let me know your thoughts and experiences as an adoptee or with the people you know are adopted. What attributes do you see as predominant?

4 thoughts on “possible difficulties for adopted children

  1. I can see how attachment to another would become a problem for someone who was adopted. The pain of dis-connect is to much to bear and it is just safer to not attach to anyone at all.

    Of course with this method the feelings of aloneness and isolation would be painful as well.

  2. Justin…thanks for dropping by. Both sides of attachment offer obstacles. There are scientific studies which explore brain chemistry and physiological challenges for adopted people. Since only 2% of the population is adopted and EVERYONE has various environmental factors that effect their lives it’s difficult to get a completely accurate picture. Intuition, direct experience, logic and exploration of cause and effect leads me to believe it adversely challenges the adopted.

    The conundrum is of course isolation. If one doesn’t learn how to bond and connect, they will suffer in the long run. Love, community and relationship are paramount for growth and happiness. Adopted or not, anyone can learn to build stronger relationships and can always develop and grow.

  3. I’m 49 and I sought counseling in my 20’s. I thought I settled stuff, but nope. Most every aspect of this article rings true with me. I’ve carried these lack of self-esteem and abandonment issues all my life. Coping with life as opposed to enjoying it pretty much sums it up, unfortunately. You know, I really think after a certain age you are mature enough control the thoughts entering your mind, self talk. Anyway, this piece made me think.

  4. Lee….thanks for your comment. I am sorry for the delay in my reply, I have been inactive on CWL doing just that, coping with life. Yes, it can be hard. Sometimes the goal to be content, not happy, is enough. But there are ways to get there. Life is a constant effort in, effort out, change and improve. It’s tiring for those with life obstacles. Self talk can be eliminated and controlled. I’m glad I made you think. Keep thinking. And keep growing. Soon, we are back and stronger than ever here at CWL with excited new products, support and tools in the horizon. I hope you will join us.

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