trauma for the adopted child

simply stephen / November 8, 2011

Trauma for an adopted child is quite common.

They have already been removed from at least one caregiver. Probably several. Nurses, birth mother, foster parents. It is common for a child to suffer post traumatic stress disorder and rejection, even prior to birth.

While some children have suffered a traumatic family situation before being adopted, the process of adoption in itself is enough change, stress and turmoil for anyone, let alone a child. Many adoptees will suffer nightmares, have tantrums, feel insecure, sleep improperly, be angry and seem distant.

Telling a child they are adopted can also creates issues, but it is important not to hide adoption from them. Even as infants, the body senses change. Adoption creates an extreme sense of loss and guilt (they lost a family member), leading not just in childhood but throughout their lifetime.

Grief and pain is involved. So is rejection. Someone didn’t want them. They may have no sense of belonging.

It’s hard to express yourself at the best of times. Imagine if you are a child. You have not learned how to verbalize your feelings. Acting out is one of many ways to achieve this. Any child will hold emotions inside until they learn how to behave. They need to feel secure first. They are unable to understand the implications of adoption, so they are certainly not able to master emotions.

How this is handled will contribute to their mental and emotional development.

The foundation of happy life.

Fear not…that’s what all people are faced with in life. It is just about recognizing the differences and treating each situation as a unique experience.

understand emotional stability

Trauma can influence the ability to learn normally. It will also effect emotional stability. Their brain chemistry is changing and abnormal brain growth can effect how it forms. This doesn’t mean the child (or as a an adult) lacks intelligence or emotional capacity but it does mean that it needs extra nurturing.

Trauma can also impair social development, since a child will often withdraw. This may cause them to get bullied (or vice versa) and have further problems communicating with peers. There is often anger and aggression. They have not had a bond from birth, so bonding with friends may be difficult. That could mean a disconnect in the form of emotions and empathy.

what can be done about trauma

Teaching a child to deal with loss, grief and anger is a first step to healing. There is magic bullet. As a parent you must first be aware of what has caused the trauma and empathize with this innocent child’s situation.

Only then can you start to work on healing.

  1. That process will involve recognizing triggers and causes, so when your child reacts you understand why and what is happening. Without that step you will be unable to prevent further trauma. Recognize the impact of trauma in you and you will see it in your child.
  2. A structured lifestyle, one that corrects bad behaviour is much more important and effective than demonstrating love.It is actually selfish and secondary to demonstrate your love. A child needs to feel stable first. Time will demonstrate your feelings.To be stable you have to feel rooted in your surroundings. That involves a consistent, reliable and rigid environment, which has to be created with care and purpose.
  3.  Incorrect behaviour is not acceptable. It should be dealt with first. As the child learns what to expect, they can then move on to develop other skills, including empathy and love.Try using the TIME OUT exercise to calm them down and let them focus on thinking about their actions.
  4. Communicate and verbalize feeling later
  5. Reduce stimulation – there is so much processing going on and extra material is too much strain
  6. Trying to get too close will often push them away. It scares most children. Thoughts of rejection are going through their mind. It’s already happened at least once.
  7. I shouldn’t have to say this but – never hit any child, but especially a traumatized one
  8. Always offer love and affection with dedicated face time at regular intervals during each day

There are many methods and support tools to help lay a foundation of love and stability. Perhaps you need to find a support group or work with a family specialist to build a healthy platform for your child’s development.

how can adopted adults learn to deal with the trauma

Many adopted adults suffer from trauma and ignore it. There is no need to put yourself through the pain. Learning to love and accept yourself and the people in this world is a great step to healing. Recognizing that you need to do that is the first step.

It is not likely that you will be able to do it alone. You are not alone in this world and if you don’t deal with the hard stuff it will get harder later. Please take the time to look around cope with life and read some articles that will help you find the solution you need. If you have a question, my ears are open and I would love to hear from you or read your comments.

Also, have a look at the great resources available to help you cope with life.

2 thoughts on “trauma for the adopted child

  1. While it does help to read what a NORMAL reaction to adopted children should be…I received the opposite from my adoptive mother. Chronic over-stimulation has warped my sense of comfort. The structured environment is a promise I never had,
    and a constant trigger of environment is too much to handle.

  2. Rainstorm. I feel for your predicament. I too have some difficulties still…but I have been able to work through most of them with constant effort and many years of therapy. Making the choice to not be a victim and continue on…and to help fight the stigma and societal problems is a good start to continue on a positive road. I have been inactive on this blog for a little while but not inactive in depression, adoption and the stigmas of society. I will drop by your website as frequently as possible. Thanks for commenting.

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