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What are the emotional effects of adopting a child?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2022 | Adoption

Adopting a child is such a fulfilling experience, both for the adoptive family and for the child themselves. However, the process is not without complexities, and many people involved in the process experience negative emotions and effects.

While you can receive help with the practical aspects of adoption, dealing with the emotional effects is often a lot more challenging. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your new child fully integrates with your family.

Understanding the core issues in adoption

Social workers often speak of the adoption “constellation”, which refers to all parties involved in the process. Additionally, every person in the constellation, from the adopted child to the adoptive family to the child’s birth parents, will experience a wide range of emotions during the process. These effects are the seven core issues in adoption, and they include:

  • Loss
  • Rejection
  • Shame and guilt
  • Grief
  • Identity
  • Intimacy
  • Mastery and control

For example, a parent’s inability to care for their child due to life circumstances is a form of loss, while families and kids often experience grief after the adoption as a result. Questions of identity can also arise as a child struggles to define themselves in their new family.

How to help your child feel loved and accepted

The first step to ensuring your child feels at home is accepting the seven core issues with an open heart. It is natural for a child to miss their birth parents, even if their family situation was less than ideal. New parents should understand this and support their children by listening to their statements without judgment.

Adoptive parents must also make sure their child feels loved and secure in their new home. Establishing a routine, meeting your child’s material needs, and making yourself available for questions are all good methods of doing so.


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