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CULTURE AND IDENTITY


ADOPTION ISSUES FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS

Adoption issues are raised at many different times during childhood. Birthdays bring thoughts of birth parents and questions about why the adoption took place. School assignments (drawing the family tree, describing the family, bringing in baby pictures) place the adopted child in a predicament. Teasing or taunting on the playground and unthinking remarks by others may particularly resonate with the adopted child. Many stories, cartoons, and movies have parental loss and adoption themes (most recently, the Harry Potter series), and bring up questions or concerns for the child.

Worries about physical appearance become more common in pre-teens and teens. Adopted children may have particular anxiety about not resembling family members, and not knowing what to expect. One adopted teen stated, "I couldn't take it for granted that I looked like my parents. My non-adopted sister can look at our mother and see what she will look like when she grows up. I wish I could look ahead like that."

 

From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.

 

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