A number of issues can develop for children who are adopted, particularly just after the time when children become aware that they have been adopted. Children may feel grief over the loss of a relationship with their birth parents and the loss of the cultural and family connections that would have existed with those parents. They may ask difficult questions that parents are unsure how to answer. Depending upon the age of the child when they were adopted, there may be difficulties forming secure attachments with their main caregiver and other close relationships. Adopted children may struggle with self-esteem moreso than their non-adopted peers. Identity issues may be of particular concern for teenagers who are aware that they are adopted. Adopted children may also feel guilt and concerns that they are betraying their adoptive family if they express a desire to learn about their birth family.
Some children who are adopted can experience severe trauma in their previous environment which can have a substantial impact on their ability to form secure attachments with their new caregivers as well as ongoing attachment problems. This can lead to a condition called ‘Reactive Attachment Disorder’ or RAD. This is an attachment disorder which is best treated with behaviour management strategies as well as strategies which strenghten the child-caregiver relationship.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help children with issues related to adoption or RAD, or to book an appointment with one of our child clinical psychologists who can provide help and strategies in this area, please email or call the clinic on 02 9438 2511.