Emotional trauma from adoption
Adoption is not easy. Both for the adoption parent(s) or the child.
Nowadays there are a lot of great guides, books & literature including groups and communities to help smooth the process and give you the emotional support both prior to the adoption and afterwards. A lot depends on the age of the adopted child.
Depending on the child’s background, what happened to the original birth parent(s) and home situation may already have damaged the child’s emotions and self esteem. The foetus picks up feelings from the mother even before birth. Whether mom was sick, sad, angry and frightened or happy, contented, healthy and loved.
Some kids are in the system due to conditions in their homes breaking down. Some women don’t make good mothers, some men get into trouble with the law, lose their jobs, panic at the prospect of becoming a parent and abandon mother and child. The mother is unable to cope. So the state gets the child. It’s very sad when that happens. Many kids especially the boys become unsettled and misbehave as a way of getting attention. This makes the problem worse, as they get kicked from school to school, home to home. When you adopt an older child, you need to be aware of their history.
Do you tell them or not?
There’s also the possibility that the birth mother regrets giving away her child and tries to make contact. Or the child feels that something is not right, finds out that they’re adopted and wants to find their birth mother. Do you tell them that they’re adopted? If you don’t tell them or too late or they find out later when their birth mother/parent is dead, they may be angry with you. They cannot have closure about that part of their lives.
Unhappy and bitter
I have a relative who was adopted. She said that her adopted mother was loving and kind to her. Yet she grew up with low self esteem and felt angry and bitter about her life. Not sure if her other siblings accepted her or mistreated her. She seemed to avoid talking about them when I asked. She became a very unhappy and unpleasant person to be with. Sad and angry inside but outwardly she’s critical and complaining. Many people try to avoid her as much as possible. I spent some time talking to her in the past but she didn’t respond. She even went to church. But nothing seemed to change.
Some people carry emotional scars from their childhood until they find a way to let go. If they ever do.
Understand why you want to do it and what’s involved
If you’re thinking of adopting, please make sure that you understand what’s involved. It requires a lot of strength, courage and maturity. Let alone money & resources to support the adopted child. Ask yourself why you want to do it. Can you cope if it goes wrong?
It may be a long hard road and not the idealised dream that you were expecting. Talk to other parents who have adopted and listen.
Learn from their mistakes to avoid making unnecessary ones. Have a support system to help you through the tough times.