Mental Health Effects Of Being Adopted

Last Update on January 25, 2024 : Published on January 26, 2024
Mental Health Effects Of Being Adopted

Can adoption have psychological effects on a child’s mental health? To find an answer to this, researchers at the University of Minnesota performed a test on adopted and non-adopted children and found that adoptees are more prone to childhood disorders like attention deficit disorder, major depressive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and others.

But why does this happen? Why does being adopted in early life have to be associated with poor health outcomes in adulthood?  To understand this, in today’s post, we will understand the mental health effects of being adopted.

Why adoptees are at a higher risk of Mental Health issues

When discussing adoption, it is often considered a great gesture that helps orphans find a family. In doing so, the trauma a child undergoes is often overlooked. This is because people think it is okay to adopt a child and bring in a new environment, but what happens is that the emotional connectedness a child can feel with the primary parent is not the same as that of the adopted family.

This is why the adopted children struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and uncertainty. Some of the issues are genetic, while others might be a result of intergenerational transmission of attachment and trauma.  Also, if the biological parent of the child has experienced trauma, the adopted child might show symptoms of different mental health disorders.

Issues faced by Adopted People:

1. Those who are adopted often feel abandoned by their birth parents. They always struggle with the feeling of grief and loss, and there is no time or age when they might start feeling this way. But there is a surety that they will feel this way sooner or later.

2. They often struggle with self-esteem issues because they feel rejected. Also, they have an understanding that there might be some issues with me, which is the reason my birth parents abandoned me. These feelings and thoughts stay even after they have received enough love and support from the adoptive parents and family.

3. Adoptees often feel guilty because they think thinking about their birth parent or feeling the loss and grief is showing disloyalty to the people who adopted, loved, and raised them.

4. Adopted people often feel disconnected from the original heritage of their birth parent, and they always have the desire to be accepted. They think they are not part of the family they have been adopted by because they don’t belong to that particular race or ethnicity.

5. Adopted children also face self-identity issues as they are unable to relate or connect themselves with others. Also, they have no idea of their genetic background, creating a gap. They don’t even know their birth date, medical history, and roots, which makes them feel they are not part of the society they are living in.

Long-Term Effects of Adoption

 Thinking adoption does not affect the children’s mindset is naive, as when a child is adopted, a lot of things change. The new family might be welcoming and loving, but no one knows what the child feels inside. Also, with more efforts adopted parents put in, the adoptee feels more guilty.

Emotional or Mental Trauma

Often, how an adoptee processes their adoption trauma is based on their age. For example, those who are adopted at a later stage in life can remember the traumatic experience, the neglectful events, and the atrocities. At the same time, those adopted during their infancy have a vivid memory of such things.

But this doesn’t mean that the adopted children cannot feel the grief of the loss of their biological family, their heritage, and their culture.  However, the only way to heal from this trauma is by accepting themselves and acknowledging their feelings. When they feel that they are part of the society’s healing process.

However, if they are being reminded that they are adopted, different studies show that there is always difficulty forming emotional attachments with the adopted parents and siblings, and there is a struggle with low self-esteem.

Common Issues Psychological Problems With Adopted Child

Often, adoption negatively affects the attitude of the adopted kit; therefore, it is essential to understand the psychological issues that adopted children face. This helps to deal with them and the behavioral issues they might show.

1. Feeling Rejected

If a child is adopted at an early stage and does not remember that,  upon learning the reality, they may experience different emotions or feel rejected and abandoned.  Also, there might be a withdrawal from communication. They might even lock themselves up and disconnect from the world. Also, they might feel that their biological parents never wanted them, they are unwanted children, and nobody likes them, which affects their self-identity and self-esteem, due to which they become introverted and might show certain mental disorders.

2. Loss and Grief

When the adoptee understands that the parents, he or she is living with are not biological, there are always unexpressed feelings of loss and grief, which contribute to emotional trauma and behavioral problems. There is also disappointment when these emotions pile up as they cannot reciprocate the love the family gives. This makes the child feel the loss of their biological parents and feel guilty about not honoring the feelings of their adopted parents.

3. Identity Crisis

There is a chance that the adopted child faces issues of self-identification when they learn that they are adopted. They struggle with issues like anxiety, stress, and depression and may also develop complicated identity issues. They may also question their existence and want to know about their biological parents, and such children also get aggressive over small things.

How to Developing a Sense of Self

Most people in the world have difficulty discovering who they are and their purpose. Adoptees have even greater challenges, as identifying themselves is their biggest challenge. They don’t know anything about their biological parents, genetics, or even their medical history, which for them, developing a sense of self is difficult. However, if they keep certain points in mind, this problem can be somewhat dealt with.

Here are some suggestions that might help:

1. The adopted child can join certain support groups where he can find other adopted children and discuss things with them so that a coping mechanism can be developed and the feelings of fear, frustration, and rejection can be handled easily.

2. Psychotherapy is another way to reduce guilt, anxiety, depression, and fear about being adopted. Once you talk to a therapist trained to understand what you are going through, they will help remove some of the internal blocks that will help attain a sense of self-identity and esteem.

3. In addition, the adopted child should read as much as he can about the family’s children, the challenges they face, and how they were able to cope with the different feelings and emotions they felt after they learned that they were adopted.

These tips will help the adopted child to overcome the mental issues faced because of being abundant by the biological family.

Take away

If you are adopted and you feel that you are struggling with certain issues, it’s best that you talk to someone about them and let them help you. It does require a certain amount of courage, but once you learn how to deal with an emotion, it becomes easy to handle things by opening up in front of the family who has adopted you, showing them that you trust them and you are loyal towards them also this helps develop attachment between the adoptee and the adopted family.

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