Relationships in Open Adoption
One of the advantages of an open adoption
is that there is a link between the adopted child and her biological family, which can help provide the child with knowledge about her true roots and identity.
At some time in their lives, most children, whether adopted or not, go through what is commonly referred to as an “identity crisis.” During this time of searching, questioning, and sometimes even rebellion and depression, children have an extreme curiosity about where they came from and how this relates to who they are and where they are going in their lives. In the case of an adopted child, this process has the potential to present some rather unique and significant problems.
As the adopted child looks in the mirror, it sees clearly that its physical features and appearance are different than those of its adoptive parents.If the adopted child is perceptive, which most children are, he will also realize that he has talents and personality traits that are different from those of his adoptive parents. These kinds of feelings are what help awaken in an adopted child a desire to explore and understand its roots.These feelings and desires are not bad and in reality are very healthy and normal. In the case of a child that is not adopted, it can observe on a daily basis its genetic and behavioral roots, a luxury that is not shared by and adopted child.
Adoptive parents should not be offended or alarmed by this curiosity It is healthy and an important part of the normal development f a child’s personality.Just because a child asks these kinds of questions does not mean that the adoptive parents have failed in their job as parents, or that their child is embarking n a road to not loving them.In fact, it can often be a negative or offended reaction by the adoptive parents that can throw the child into a negative tailspin.
It will be at the time when (not “if”) this happens, that the adoptive parents will wish that they had more information about their child’s birth parents
, so that they can lovingly and supportively nurture their child through this identity
crisis, and even share that experience with them.
The worst possible outcome is for the child to feel that he has no support in his search for his parents, so that it becomes a point of contention in the relationship, and makes the child feel that he is forced to engage in a search on his own.
Although there is a longstanding and continuing debate over whether the adult personality of a child is contributed to more by the “nature”, or genetics, of the child, which are not subject to change, or the “nurture”, or upbringing, of the child, which is subject to change.Regardless of which of these philosophies may be correct, or which you agree with, the time will eventually come when most children will take a serious look at where they came from, in order to be able to make some pretty important step toward where they are going and what they are going to become. For and adoptive child, its link to its biological family can be an important tool if this transition is going to take place in a healthy and uplifting way for the child.
If the circumstances surrounding an adoption resulted in the adoption being closed, where the adoptive child has no way to explore and gain strength from its roots, it can be extremely difficult for the child to fill this void satisfactorily.
Although there are those who will claim that a closed adoption gives adoptive parents the opportunity to make their own family in the way that they choose - without the need to look back or interact with the biological family of the child - if the focus of the whole adoption process is centered on what is in the “best interest of the child,” which is the way it should be, perhaps the feelings of fear and paranoia that are quite often associated with open adoption relationships with biological family, will not well founded.
Although problems that are associated with identity crisis will not surface until later in the child’s life, a wise parent would give those issues full consideration and wait until a time when there is still an opportunity to implement an alternate plan where the future welfare
of the child is protected.
Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway