Today I found this insightful report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute for adoptive parents and others who facilitate adoptions, concerning the developmental needs of adopted children at every stage of life, with a special section for those who adopt through the foster care system.
After identifying a number of factors (including adoptive parents’ reluctance to acknowledge the need for ongoing training in their quest for a placement) that have led to insufficient ongoing training of both parents and adoption facilitators, the study indicates that there are a number of issues of which we need to be aware in order to help our children attain a healthy core identity and acknowledge their ongoing sense of grief and loss.
This is not easy reading, but it does validate the feelings of parents and children alike for whom adoption has turned out to be something other than the “happily ever after” they imagined it would be. This doesn’t mean we don’t love our children — which of course we do. Rather, it acknowledges the very real, ongoing challenges of integrating the combined influences of birth and adoptive family members in the life and identity of an adopted child. Worth reading.