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CULTURE AND IDENTITY


PATHWAYS OF BUILDING TASKS FOR IDENTITY

Age Period Typical Tasks Adoption-related Tasks
Infancy Trust vs. mistrust Adjusting to transition to a new home
Developing secure attachments, especially in cases of delayed placement
Toddlerhood and Preschool Years Autonomy vs. shame and doubt; initiative vs. guilt Learning about birth and reproduction
Adjusting to initial information about adoption
Recognizing differences in physical appearance, especially in interracial and intercountry adoption
Middle Childhood Industry vs. inferiority Understanding the meaning and implications of being adopted
Searching for answers regarding one's origin and the reasons for relinquishment
Coping with physical differences from family members
Coping with the stigma associated with adoption
Coping with peer reactions to adoption
Coping with adoption-related loss
Adolescence Ego identity vs. identity confusion Further exploration of the meaning and implications of being adopted
Connecting adoption to one's sense of identity
Coping with physical differences from family members
Resolving the family romance fantasy
Coping with adoption-related loss, especially as it relates to the sense of self
Young Adulthood Intimacy vs. isolation Further exploration of the implications of adoption as it relates to the growth of self and the development of intimacy
Further considerations of searching; beginning the search
Adjusting to parenthood in light of the history of one's relinquishment
Facing one's unknown genetic history in the context of the birth of children
Coping with adoption-related loss
Middle Adulthood Generativity vs. stagnation Further exploration of the implications of adoption as it relates to the aging self
Reconciling the creation of a psychological legacy with one's unknown past
Further consideration of searching
Coping with adoption-related loss
Late Adulthood Ego integrity vs. despair Final resolution of the implications of adoption in the context of a life review
Final considerations regarding searching for surviving biological family

 

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

 

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