Adoption is a beautiful thing and can occur in many different ways. Some people choose to adopt domestically through a private adoption agency; some adopt through the foster care system; some adopt internationally. Behind every adoption story remains a degree of grief and loss for the biological family, no matter how successful the attachment and integration into the adoptive family. Children who have early experiences in trauma, abuse, or neglect have barriers to overcome when transitioning from an orphanage or foster care. Parental education, resources, and child and family therapy are essential components of this transition. Children who come from these difficult beginnings, such as those from an orphanage or foster care, are more likely to experience difficulties forming healthy attachments with their adoptive families. Adopted children who exhibit intense emotional-behavioral problems are difficult to parent and may have lasting detrimental effects on the adoptive parents and the relationship between the parents, child, and siblings. Parents may have to readjust their own expectations and the family environment, as well as consider the past trauma of the child driving the behavior. Long-term disruptive behaviors that continue without intervention have been shown to lead to increased rates of substance abuse, violence, and depression.
Therapy Can Help
There are appropriate and effective therapies available that address adoption transition, attachment issues, and difficult behaviors. These therapies focus mainly on increasing the quality of the relationship between the adoptive parent and child.Attachment disorders in adopted children are likely more common than is reported; these disorders are often misdiagnosed and underreported. Parents who have lower expectations and more flexibility in their interactions with their adopted children are more likely to have successful transitions and adoptions. Successful adoptive parents have fewer negative reactions to difficult behaviors and better support systems in place. Children are resilient and capable of making tremendous gains to overcome early life trauma and hardships. When parents find that balance of nurture and structure that their specific child needs, then dramatic growth is possible.