Raising adoptees is not the same as raising biological kids. An adoptees reactions are not the same. Their emotions are not the same. Their needs are not the same. They SEE and FEEL things differently. They process interactions with others differently and often in a way that is negative towards their own selves. Adoptive parents NEED to know this and recognize this.
You need to weigh your words and actions before you do them and think about what you are saying and talk through in your own head how your words and actions might be received by the adoptee in your life….and adjust accordingly.
Just because your child seems happy and outgoing or in control on the outside does not mean she/he isn’t struggling on the inside. Adoption creates trauma and from what I learned from many adoptee accounts is that trauma usually creates a person that struggles a lot with self esteem, fear of rejection and control. Those seem to be pretty consistent.
Here’s one first person account of how it feels –
My adoptive mom was running errands and so was late to pick me up from an after school activity. Everyone was gone and it was just the teacher and me. First I was super uncomfortable and embarrassed to be the only one still there. As each minute passed, I was petrified she was not coming. I had pretty instantly started writing this script in my head..”she’s not coming, the teacher is going to have to call the principal, what if something terrible happened to her, I am sure my dad will not let me stay with them, where would I go”….and in and on it went. It didn’t end when my adoptive mom finally showed up. Those feelings that invoked, turned into a week of crying, and others in my family thought there was no reason for my behavior. That is was just random crying at literally everything. It would come out of nowhere.
She ends her sharing with this appeal –
Don’t let your kids be me. I don’t wish that on anyone. The emotional toll is immense. It changed my life in ways I wish it didn’t. Learn all you can about the trauma response and help meet them where they need you to be, not where they tell you or where you or anyone else thinks they should be. If you are listening, you will eventually get it and your actions and reactions with your child will come naturally to you in beneficial and supportive ways.