Adoption: Understanding Adopted Children

1. Introduction

During the past 100 years, adoption has grown from a family business practice, has become a problem, medical and legal partner has triggered interest from different disciplines to develop research regarding its practitioners (adopters), sequelae of child victims of abuse and emotional costs , cognitive and economic level.
Initially concentrated forces to children abandoned by their mothers by economic problems, homeless and destitute children who were homeless, so juvenile reformatories and orphanages for these children in order to contribute to their moral development were created.
Lindsay understands Madonna's adoptions
Photo Credit: AIEF0710
Thus the concern is not so much like in the immediate suffering of children, but rather, a negative long-term impact that moral level could lead these children to not respect the rule when were adults .
We must also take into account that some of these adopted children are the result of abduction or child trafficking, especially with different racial characteristics, which can easily be identified by the environment in which the child develops.
The adoption of children in Spain has increased exponentially in recent years standing at the highest rates in the world second only to those produced in the United States.
China is the main source of adopted children, Followers Russia, Ukraine, Colombia, Peru, India, Kazijistán, Nepal, Ethiopia, among others.
These children are fortunate to be greeted by welcoming families with a high motivation to have children and who often have emotional and financial resources to care for them. What we often do not have the adoptive parents is specific information about the symptoms and behaviors that are common in these children and how to help them.

Every child comes with its own history and personal experiences. Depending on the age of adoption, you may have gone through various institutions, foster care, etc. All this at an early age often involves the inability to establish appropriate links and therefore are susceptible to certain emotional and behavioral characteristics that must be known.

On this page we will try to explain the peculiarities of this people, their needs and how to support them in all their maturation and integration, first in the host family and then in their new social environment.

2 – The various factors

As with most children, any adopted child presents a series of cognitive, intellectual and emotional features that are a direct result of a number of factors both internal and external, some of them beyond our control, other well known and controllable.

In general we can say that the way to adapt, develop and act against the family and social environment is determined by the following factors:
a) Genetic Factors, Hereditary

Today, increasingly, we know the complex genetic system that allows the transmission of certain phenotypic characteristics and personality. We could say that our particular code and predisposes us to have a certain personality traits, intelligence, etc. in interaction with the outside world and the different experiences forge our way of being and relating.
One of the uncertainties that can have an adopted child, especially those who come from distant countries with few resources, is the lack of information or lack of family history of the child. I mean, if there was a history of mental health or family risk factors in parents (substance abuse, etc.). Ignoring these data involves the risk of ignoring genetic transmission of pathologies that are unaware and therefore unable to take preventive measures in time.
This is not to dismiss those children with problems of this type, but rather, to know the reality of it to accept their condition and start working on it. Adoptive parents need to know all the available information about the child and his family and, in turn, decide whether they are prepared to welcome a child with special educational needs or a genetic problem.
b) Medical Problems

The illnesses suffered by the child or their evolutionary history are often more available in the various reports that provide the authorities of each country. Similarly, health status at the time of adoption can be accessed through a pediatric examination.

It is important to know the existence of potential problems as early pregnancy of biological mother (infections, exposure to teratogens, abuse substances, alcohol, etc.) since they may produce not always detectable congenital malformations or patterns of atypical behavior in childhood.

Part of adopted children may come from dysfunctional families with a history of substance abuse, alcohol and abuse. Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the disorders that can occur in this area and need to assess risk population.
c) Life experiences

Previous history of adoption (bonding possibilities)

Psychologically it is the most decisive factor in the future conduct of the adopted child are called linkage problems that in some cases, result in disorders link.
At present , there is no doubt that the psychological health of children from an early age , is greatly influenced by the quality and frequency of interpersonal relationships that human contexts provide them from the moment of his birth and even before this .
Of these first relationships, there is what we call “attachment” and that is one of the basic supports to structure a healthy personality.

The attachment (or bonding) is a special relationship that the child establishes a small number of people, usually with the biological parents, especially the mother and unites them prior loop that was built during the pregnancy and that genetically determined as a method to ensure the survival of the child.
Children who were institutionalized before the three years in shelters or passed through several families, it is very likely that they have not had the opportunity to have established during the critical stages, this entails the development of a peculiar psychological profile than later expose.

The age of adoption

In general we can say that the adoption process should be made as soon as possible to eliminate risk factors. As the adopted child is older has more emotional baggage behind, especially if you have already been linked to various people or institutions.

Adopting a baby means the ability to start early establishment of bonding and therefore minimize significant risks. The children are not aware of his situation and have time to explain RIEF.
Between 2 and 5 years, children have already begun to use the language and to record their emotional memory intuit all relevant events. It depends on the affection and the possibilities of stimulation received his current psychological state.
At this age children are mostly aware that starting a new life. Many of them tend to react to the achievement of certain parents for wanting to forget and erase everything that has to do with his past. Thus, if you are from other countries, they can avoid at first contact with compatriots or objects that remind the country of origin.

As age goes up making the accumulated charge can hinder vital relationships with new parents as part of the accumulated emotional pain can express them and go against them. For this type of adoption (children over 7 or 8 years) may be advisable monitoring by a professional child psychology during the initial adaptation process.

Other important factors

In understanding the adopted child will also need to assess important aspects such as parental educational styles.
According to various studies conducted, best educational style is what we call democratic versus authoritarian or permissive. This is also valid for the adopted child.
This style is characterized by the requirement of principles or shared by family members, a clear structure of the rules and the limits, but combined with a great contribution and affective communication to children.
It also plays an important role as the expectations of both affective developments that parents are created on the new child. Expectations too high may encounter a different reality and thwart certain extent, their longings.

Another important rating factor is what is called Resilience.
We could define this factor as: “The ability of an individual or a group to thrive, to continue projecting in the future despite the destabilizing events of hardship and trauma sometimes serious” (Manciaux and others, 2003).
In short, resilience is an attitude towards life, a way to grow and develop effectively facing adversity and therefore potential hope that helps people recover from complex situations.
This concept of resilience is applicable to both parents and children. In recent would be the result of emotional, educational and socializing contributions, their parents or other adults has been able to offer.

Adopted children, as mentioned, usually carry, in many cases, what we call problems early bonding. This makes them much more vulnerable emotionally to deal with unexpected changes, particularly those involving the possible loss or range of current attachment figures. The arrival of a new sibling, parental separation, including changes of school, teacher or city can reawaken in them certain emotional alarms that may present with emotional destabilization and maladaptive behaviors.

Finally note that other factors such as culture or social and economic status of the family may be important in the adaptation and performance of the adopted child.
A culturally appropriate means understanding or finding the peculiarities of the new child as well as the economic level involves access to private resources when they are not available at the public level.
3 – Common Manifestations of the adopted child

The features below are set do not occur in all children but to make a set of common symptoms in this population. Also the intensity or shapes that can take depend on the particular characteristics of the child and its history.
a) First reactions after adoption

The acquired bad habits (hygiene, eating, sleeping, etc) which should gradually change correct.
Insecurity, fear – Fear of other people. Rejection of a family member Coy about its origin. If you are from another country you may reject objects or people that remind you of your origin.
Need to constantly be with the adoptive parents. Behaviors to get attention from parents (even for that quarrel). Often these children constantly to test their parents in a subtle game that can be adapted from the unconditional sample form boundary transgressions affection.
Difficulty integrating into institutionalized settings (school, etc.).
Nightmares and Night Terrors accompanied occasionally shouting, with frequent waking call to parents.
In some children enuresis and encopresis episodes may occur.
A behavioral level is very frequent hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention deficit. They can punctually arise against other aggressive behavior toward him or (tantrums, screaming, biting, etc.).
Low tolerance to frustration and low self-esteem
Need to hoard or collect items. Forgetfulness frequent doubts in certain situations. They know exactly what is expected of them in certain social situations.
Finally note that in adopted children with 2 or more years from about age, and had not received sufficient attention affective stereotypes may appear, swings, irritability.

b) Disorders frequently associated

Linking disorders
The lack of early bonding, as explained, causes a lack of emotional security. This can result, as appropriate, in a form of exaggerated indiscriminate expressed towards anyone but awareness affective potential danger.
In its other aspect manifests with a passive, depressive affective response, unable to establish appropriate reference to people links. At the same time they can appear aggressive behaviors.

Learning Disabilities
Some of these children have not received adequate stimulation at critical stages of learning. This determines your ability to learn may have been limited.
This group is often delayed language acquisition and literacy problems.

Behavior Disorders
It is well documented in this population the presence of ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity, attention deficit, impulsivity). Clearly, in these cases, the symptoms would not be so linked to a neurological profile but would obey basically causes emotional and reactive type, although there may be components of both parties to accentuate the problem.

We can also meet with disobedient, defiant and / or aggressive behavior.

4 – Common reactions parents
Parents, at times, may feel disoriented and overwhelmed by reactions and behaviors that do not quite understand. Generally, most of these behaviors must be understood in emotional key. We have already explained that one of the characteristics of adopted children is constantly putting approves the unconditional love of his parents. This can make it through the transgression of the limits established by the family and creating an uneasiness or frustration at parents. In response the questions and concerns arise. Among others, include:
- Disorientation. It calls into question their ability to control the situation and if the methods are appropriate. Discrepancies between the couple or mutual recriminations trying to find the best solution may occur.
- Guilt. Some parents feel great remorse when they punish the child. Also doubts about the intensity or frequency of the punishment must be applied are presented.
-Overflow. Usually feelings of hopelessness and fatigue around two fundamental and closely associated factors are described.
The first is emotional and is manifested by the constant need for physical contact, to receive tokens of affection, to ensure, ultimately, an emotional closeness to strengthen their own security.
The second refers to behavioral aspects such as handling difficult hyperactivity, attention deficit, impulsivity, temper tantrums, low frustration tolerance, relationship problems with siblings (if any), etc.
- Problems in couples. As a result of the factors described above, the couple can see significantly altered their daily lives and see frustrated in a sense their expectations for adoption. Normally, with the right advice, agreed joint strategies and being able to understand these children emotionally key things improve substantially.

5 – General Guidance for Parents
We have set out on this page that the behavior and personality of each child is different, depending on many factors both internal and external. For adopted children also become important prior to the adoption story, and their chances of early bonding as key elements to ensure affective and emotional stability.

Considering all these factors, here are some general guidelines to help parents understand, regulate and normalize those behaviors or emotions that are likely to improve in the family.
1. Many of the behaviors the child must understand emotional key. So not only correction is to change external behaviors manifested but also work originated emotional base.
2. The child and family need time to adapt to each other. Setbacks and difficulties are part of a natural process that will improve if we know the characteristics of these children and how to act.
3. We must be clear in setting boundaries and fulfilling when we establish punishments, but, likewise, know give real emotional support dedicating the necessary time.
4. Faced with disruptive behaviors (Tantrums, disobedience, etc.) we can apply traditional methods of behavior modification as time out or the cost of the response (withdrawal of a privilege to play, watch TV etc.). However, it is important to note some details on your application within this group:
1 – First of disruptive episodes, not raising his voice, no load too nervous which could mean a worsening of things. Nor anything tries to reason with child at the time. Stick to remove the child from the stage (where possible) or the parents letting her withdraw only temporarily.
2 – Let her know that you are disappointed with your behavior (not with him) and that makes me sad parents. What it is to make a physical and emotional distance from the child momentarily. The idea is that if he wants to get our attention or to prove ourselves is not going to get by this means and should correct them. The child will learn and internalize these patterns but can take some time. Many of these behaviors are due to unconscious and out of the child’s voluntary control mechanisms.
3 – Arguments with our children about their emotions and behaviors should always be cold, in quiet moments. With smaller stories that will help us act out similar situations that try to control.

Obviously not enough to know control behavior, we must adopt appropriate measures to enhance the bonding within the family measures. In this regard we recommend reading our page working bonding with our children.

Boosting a good bonding always involves establishing effective communication channels. In this regard it is important:

Take seriously each question and provide a clear and understandable response to his age. We can help with examples of people or situations that the child knows and familiar to them.

Learning to express emotions and feelings:
It is very important to encourage the expression and communication of emotions. As the child is able to verbalize their feelings will reduce fears, your self-esteem will increase and decrease the maladaptive behaviors.
One way to do that is dedicated to creating spaces about them. On our website: Emotional Diary a tool that can be useful in these cases is exposed.

Tell the truth. Explain its origin:
In children adopted with only months to live will not have memories of the past and from the three years depending on the degree of maturity of the child, you may begin to ask questions. We must avoid the risk that you get information from other sources, in particular, just when you start to go to school and therefore we explain its origin. This should be done gradually, very naturally, avoiding the painful details.
It is very important to convey that he was always very desirable and even grew in another tummy; current popes were waiting to be all happy. -Wikipedia
In any case it is recommended that the adoption disclosure is made before 6 years.

For children from other cultures or countries, you need to go to work a positive memory of it, especially with children over 7 or 8 years. It seeks to integrate its past with respect to its origins and present. This can help you form a more stable and confident personality.