The Ignored Psychological Pain of Adopted Children
A multitude of issues may arise when children become aware that they have been adopted. Children may feel grief over the loss of a relationship with their birthparents and the loss of the cultural and family connections that would have existed with those parents. This feeling of loss may be especially intense in closed or semi-open adoptions where little or no information or contact is available with birthparents but the adoptive parents refuse. Such grief feelings may be triggered at many different times throughout the child's life including when they first learn of their adoption, during the turbulent teen years, upon the death of other family members, or even as when becoming a spouse or parent. There can also be significant concerns about feeling abandoned and "abandonable," and "not good enough," coupled with specific hurt feelings over the birthmother's choice to "reject" the child" to "give me away" or "not wanting me enough." Such hurtful and vulnerable feelings may be compounded should the child learn that the birthmother later had other children that she chose to raise herself.
**This is especially painful to the adoptee, feeling resentment, jealousy and anger in post adoption reunion phase of the adoption paradox.
Adopted children may also suffer from a loss of access to important medical or genetic birth family histories. Although adoption agencies take pains to gather medical and family history information, it is often not possible to have full information for the entire birth family. In a closed or semi-open adoption, there may be no way for an adopted child to ask questions or clarify vague or missing information that may only become relevant long after the adoption occurred. Even a simple doctor's appointment wherein an adopted child is quizzed about their family medical history can become a trigger for painful or awkward feelings, reminding the adopted child (or adult) that he or she is somehow different from others and doesn't have the same information available to share with the doctor.