Adoption is fueled by desire and big hearts. It is the desire of the expecting mother to give a good life for her child. It is the desire of a family to have the joy of raising a child. The people that choose to adopt want a child to raise, and be a part of the family. This desire to make sure the adopted child has a sense of belonging is healthy for everyone. Sometimes, in an attempt to make a child feel like they belong some complicated emotions get overlooked. The reality is there are stark differences between an adoptive child and a biological child. These differences sometimes come with complicated (and often subconscious) emotions. I am of the belief that the best way to navigate some of these is to acknowledge differences with acceptance!
While the day to day and the love remain the same there are 5 differences between adoptive and biological children.
- An adoptive person has 2 families. Adoption is truly about merging two families through a special bond. Regardless of the level of relationship an adopted child has with their bio family they are still connected to some capacity. This means there are more relationships to manage.
- Biological children have a sense of natural belonging that comes with similar physical features, talents or other generational traits. This is one reason why open adoption is important. It allows the adopted child to know where certain traits or characteristics come from filling in those gaps. Where did I get my musical abilities from? Embracing those traits and acknowledging where they came from can go a long way.
- Birthdays and holidays are usually happy events. They also can be confusing for adopted children. Be considerate of how the adopted child feels. They may think about their birth mom, why they were placed for adoption, or wonder about their biological family. I encourage you to have conversations about how they feel.
- A child who comes to you through adoption is experiencing a form of trauma. This is even true in infant adoptions.There is trauma associated with being disconnected from your biological family. Think of it this way, from the moment of conception a baby is being biologically prepared to be connected to their mother and having a separation at birth is a traumatizing event that can deeply affect the psyche. Being aware and having discussions about this can go a long way to a mentally healthy child.
- Acknowledge that a child that comes to your family through adoption is different and celebrate those differences!
Being aware and educated on the differences between biological and adoptive children will make managing some of those complicated emotions a little easier. Celebrating adoption by acknowledging differences and complications is important for your adopted child’s emotional health.
To learn more, check out my YouTube Video on this topic!