Adopted children will want to talk about their adoption and parents should encourage this process. Several excellent children’s story books are available in bookstores and libraries which can help parents tell the child about being adopted. Children have a variety of responses to the knowledge that they are adopted. Their feelings and responses depend on their age and level of maturity. The child may deny the adoption or create fantasies about it. Frequently, adopted children hold onto beliefs that they were given away for being bad or may believe that they were kidnapped. If the parents talk openly about the adoption and present it in a positive manner, these worries are less likely to develop.
All adolescents go through a stage of struggling with their identity, wondering how they fit in with their family, their peers, and the rest of the world. This struggle may be even more intense for children adopted from other countries or cultures. In adolescence, the adopted child is likely to have an increased interest in his or her birth parents. This open curiosity is not unusual and does not mean that he or she is rejecting the adoptive parents. Some adolescents may wish to learn the identity of their birth parents. Adoptive parents can respond by letting the adolescent know it is okay to have such interest and questions, and when asked should give what information they have about the birth family with sensitivity and support.
Adoptive parents often have questions about how to deal with the circumstances of adoption. These parents need support from mental health and health professionals.
Some adopted children may develop emotional or behavioral problems. The problems may or may not result from insecurities or issues related to being adopted. If parents are concerned, they should seek professional assistance. Children who are preoccupied with their adoption should also be evaluated. A child and adolescent psychiatrist can help the child and adoptive parents determine whether or not help is needed.
My mom can hardly remember everything that had happened to her while at the Salvation Army. She blocked out most things. They were good to her there, but being only 14, she was scarred. No one ever warned her about what it was like giving birth. She made a lot of friends and had a councilor that she was very fond of.
October 2, 1975 she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who she named Daniel. She got to hold him and feed him his first bottle. That is most of what she can remember. Then she made the ultimate sacrifice: she gave her precious baby boy up for adoption. When she had to go back home, life wasn’t so easy. Her parents never let her talk to anyone or even tell them about what had happened. She was now 15 and another life-changing event happened. Her father past away at the young age of 55. Throughout all this my mom still managed to graduate high school early and met my father. They had three children, but my mom still thought about her first born, especially on his birthday.
Well, it’s been 27 years thinking about him. We have been looking for him on the internet for about 7 years now. Then I found a web site called Adoption Forums. I met a lot of nice people, most were eager to help for free. One day I came across someone who had an e-mail address who said they could find his amended name. Right away I e-mailed her; she found his name within a few days.
I did more research on my own and found his address. I wrote him a letter, and he called me about 1 week later. We have since met. He is more than my mom ever dreamed of. He is successful and a great person. I have since met his adopted parents; they are wonderful people. They took us in as their family too, and my son as their grandson. I love them both dearly. I couldn’t ask for a better family. They answered all my mom’s questions of how my brother grew up; she even got pictures to see him grow. This is all more than we have ever wished for. It is like a dream.
Although my mom hasn’t got to meet with my brother and his family yet because she is on the West coast and they are on the East coast, she talks to them often. As for me, by some miracle, I only live 3 hours from my brother and 9 hours from his parents, so I have actually seen them a few times.
If you have established a loving, supportive, respectful relationship with the teen, you may have carte blanche when speaking about important issues. A teen may not really develop his spirituality until these questions in their mind are answered. Their natural curiosity about religion and God must be satisfied first.
My advice is to present, but do not try to convince. Let the Holy Spirit work in their lives, just as it works in your own. Show by example, the life of a Christian. Live everyday as though you know god and his son, Jesus, who died to save us. Pray in front of them, for them, and with them to foster their own belief in the power of prayer.
Not all teens are ready for church or the commitment we all hope they will someday make. They are, however, open to a short conversation about how wonderful your personal relationship with Jesus is and how it feels to be part of God’s family. You may find them receptive to the transfer of biblical information if you engage in the 30-second message technique. This tidbit of information given at appropriate times that apply to the present situation for your teen is most successful. This is a wonderful technique to communicate things you wish to say in a way the teen will tolerate. Unless a teen brings up a question or asks to discuss it, long discussions are out. We want them to continue to be interested, not to be pushed away by our insistence and persistence. A short message will be welcome where a log sermon may not be.
Our home practices saying grace, daily prayers, and prayers for safety before trips as just a few examples of times you may set an example of your faith. This lets teens understand your personal feelings about spiritual matters. Many teens are not ready for a full devotional period in the home, but will at least sit quietly while prayers and grace are being said. This is less intrusive and we want the teen to participate willingly.
Teens are notorious for spending much of their time thinking about themselves. Their interests center on their friends, their future, their music, and their clothes. But, did you know teens also think about spiritual things? During family meetings in our foster home, on many occasions the conversation turned to God, heaven and the afterlife. Their questions were many, their concern genuine.
Kids would ask us if we believed in the afterlife and God even though they had witnessed our faith. They wondered if heaven and hell really existed. The statements they made about what they believed were quite sophisticated and revealed this was not the first time they pondered these questions.
Our home was an open forum for discussion on anything, and I do mean anything, they wanted to talk about. Kids often asked embarrassing questions about topics that should have shocked us. When that happened, we stifled a gasp, tried to hide a blush, and proceeded to answer their question. When questions were of a spiritual nature, we trusted God to give us the right words, opened our mouth, and proceeded to speak. Our belief made answering the questions easy, even when meanings were harder to portray.
Teens are usually willing learners and open to hearing others’ ideas and theories when presented in a non-confronting way. They will accept information from people they trust and care about sooner than from those who represent authority or to whom they have a distant and weaker relationship.