Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past

By Betsy Keefer; Jayne E. Schooler et al. | Go to book overview
endeavors. They may experiment with bizarre identities or even proclaim their strong desire to leave the adoptive family. The steady, enduring commitment of parents to the child and adoption can yield unimaginable healing during the turbulent years of adolescence. Remember that adolescence is chronic, but not terminal, both for you and your child.
CONCLUSION
Adolescence can be a difficult time for any family. Having an adolescent in the family creates a period of imbalance for all family members, not just for the adolescent whose identity is emerging. Many parents with adult children assure us that nothing challenged them to grow more as individuals and as parents than mentoring their child during adolescence. While navigating the turbulent waters of parenting teens, it is easy to forget that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel . . . that adolescence is, fortunately, time-limited. The reward in surviving as the parent of an adolescent (and very happily, the vast majority do), is that survivors will experience one of the greatest joys of the life span: watching your child blossom into a young adult. The surprises and joys that accompany this blossoming are well worth the struggles necessary to the "pruning" and "shaping."
QUESTIONS
1. What questions have been asked by your teenager about his or her adoption? Birth family?
2. Do you sense that your teen might be asking in nonverbal ways for more information about his or her history? In what ways does your teen "act out" the need to know more?
3. Do you feel you need additional information to respond appropriately to your teen's need for information? If so, what plan do you have to get that information? How can you involve your teen or young adult in getting it?
4. What have you communicated well with your teen regarding his or her history? Where would you like to improve?
5. What are three ways you can improve communication with your adolescent?

NOTES
1.
P. L. Benson, A. R. Sharma, and E. C. Roehlkepartain, Growing Up Adopted: A Portrait of Adolescents and Their Families ( Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1994).
2.
J. Lynn Rhodes, Dysfunctional Behavior in Adopted Children ( 1993) as quoted on www.lrhodes.com/adoption2.html.
3.
S. L. Smith and J. A. Howard, "The Impact of Previous Sexual Abuse on Children's Adjustment in Adoptive Placement" Social Work 39, no. 5 ( September 1994).

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