NEW YORK -- Adoption is founded on loss, and a child's reaction to being adopted often can be best understood with a grief model.
The unresolved, uncommunicated, and unvalidated grief that some adopted children may feel often goes unrecognized as an overlay that accompanies more typical psychiatric disorders in adopted children, David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., said at the meeting.
In other cases, adopted children might act up and present what looks like a serious psychiatric problem, but closer examination shows it is an adjustment reaction or other low-level problem that occurs as an adopted child struggles to understand the meaning and implications of adoption, said Dr. Brodzinsky research and project director at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in Oakland, Calif.
"I see two kinds of cases. In children with clinically relevant problems, such as depression, anxiety, or …