How do I deal with a child who is angry at being adopted and is becoming bitter towards his adoptive parents?
Dear Hurting Parents,
I relate to your struggles since I am an adoptive dad myself. Two different emotional processes (or dynamics) are at work within your child: (1) feelings about relinquishment by their birth parents, and (2) feelings about being adopted by you.
Through my research on this topic, it is clear that the age at which the child was adopted make a huge difference. Typically, if they were past 2 years of age, there are normally some attachment issues.
It is important to find ways to talk honestly and openly with your child about their adoption, while not degrading their birth parents. Remind them that, according to the Bible, God is all of our adoptive father. Also, assure them that when they are old enough (that age is for you to determine), you will do your best to help them find their birth parents if possible. Show to your child that this prospect does not frighten you or cause you to become defensive. It’s important they see you being supportive.
Part of your teenager’s struggles are related to a struggle with their identity. Who are they? Where do they belong?, etc. Continue to affirm your unconditional love to them no matter what.
Hang in there! Adoption is a long and winding journey with many twists and turns along the way!
Ryan Noel Fraser was raised in Cape Town, South Africa. An Assistant Professor of Counseling at Freed-Hardeman University, he serves as an elder and the preacher for the Bethel Springs Church of Christ in Bethel Springs, TN. Ryan is also a nonfiction, Christian author represented by Hartline Literary Agency, religion columnist for the Jackson Sun (in West Tennessee), and certified as a pastoral counselor. But most importantly, he is a husband and dad to two wonderful teenage kids. Ryan holds a B.A. in Bible and Masters in Ministry from Freed-Hardeman University, a M.Div. from Abilene Christian University, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling from Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University). Follow him at @RyanNoelFraser.