#110 -WHAT AND WHERE AM I?

September 30, 2017 at 9:17 am | Posted in adoption books, Adoption differences, adoption information, adoption insight, adoption issues, adoption loss, Differences - adoptive parenting and biological parenting, Differences -adopted child and biological child | Leave a comment

 

How can I know where I am going if I don’t know

where I came from?

 

One way to help a child avoid the meandering

journey of “Who am I?” is to start when the child is very

young to help him describe himself. Many adopted children

have a hard time making decisions. They don’t feel grounded

enough or secure enough to make choices in life. Because

their internal self-image is jumbled and wishy-washy, they

look at life with that attitude. They really don’t know who

they are, so how can they be expected to know where they

are going?

 

Some adopted children need extensive help in sorting out

who they are. A way to move through this confusion is to

explore with your child all the positive avenues in which he

shows an interest. Give him a sense of identity early in his life.

A biological child may see a particular interest or talent

within his family. He may want to pursue this for himself to

see if he, also, has this talent.

 

The adopted child has no such role models to emulate. He

has adoptive family members, but their genes are different

from his. Here is where adoptive parenting becomes different.

An adopted child should be allowed to try many avenues—

and also be allowed to drop out of those same avenues. He

potentially will dabble in many more areas because the whole

world is out there for him. He has no guidelines built in for

him. It’s a trial and error method.

 

Just because there is a talent in a biological family, that

does not mean every family member has it, however the

inclination may be strong to pursue similar interests. The

adopted child may also want to pursue an interest that is

strong within his adoptive family. This may or may not work

out. If he strongly wants it to work, and he finds he has little

ability for it, this becomes another separating factor, making

him feel he is different from his adoptive family. He may

think their biological child would have had that talent, he

doesn’t, and so he is a disappointment to his parents.

 

The adopted child is unique. He is one of a kind, as we all

are. This should be emphasized over and over again for the

child. He is who he is and what he makes of himself. If he has

positive encouragement to follow his interests, and permission

to drop them along the way of his inquiring journey, he will

find his unique niche. He needs to have permission from his

family to quit a quest without being labeled a quitter. He is

exploring, doing research in a way. Not everything is going to

work out, but he needs to keep going. He needs to feel he has

his own set of gifts and talents to pursue.

 

This may be a frustrating time for the child if he does not

find early success. Here is where parents should be alongside

him encouraging him to find his own identity. We are all

different from one another, but often the adopted child wants

to find ways he will fit into his adoptive family so he doesn’t

feel like an outsider.

 

With sincere encouragement, parents should give the

message to their child that it is all right to be different. He

may feel he needs permission to do this. The child needs to

feel loved and appreciated for who he is and needs to feel that

love and appreciation are solidly there even though he may be

different from other family members. He may be on a lonelier

track pursuing his innate talents and be in a field his family

knows nothing about. He may feel he would be getting more

sincere support were he in a family with the same talents he

has. A child may feel distant from his adoptive family, again

reminded he is artificially placed, and wish he had the natural

inclinations and interests of his adoptive family. Common

interests are always a unifying factor.

 

However, this can be an exciting journey, exploring many

avenues along the way. The adopted child is not bound by

family expectations as a biological child might be. He is

freer to explore many avenues, but he needs ongoing, strong

support from his family to know they want this for him. He

needs to feel free of any preconceived plans. He needs honest,

open support to find his uniqueness and develop it.

 

Excerpt from “Insight Into Adoption”, 3rd edition

 

 

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