Opening a Closed Adoption-- The Teenage Years
By the time I was fourteen, I felt angry, alone, and left out. All my friends, of course, knew their backgrounds. They weren't adopted. I didn't have even one clue. Everyone in my world kept me guessing. I just want answers to questions I am just beginning to think about.
Raylynn Becker, age sixteen
Any adolescent, whether born into a family or adopted into a family, faces certain development tasks. In addition to incredible physical changes, adolescents go through turbulent mental and emotional transformation. As their thinking processes deepen, they shift from the tangible preoccupations of childhood, during which they focused only on things they could see or experience, to a view of life on a high level. 1 Adolescents begin to ask profound questions such as Who am I? What am I going to do with my life? and even What is the meaning of life?
Adopted teens are no different. They struggle with the same questions, but perhaps with a difficult dilemma. Denying who you are as an individual is a major part of being an adolescent. Like everyone else, adoptees need to know where they came from in order to begin to develop a sense of who they are. Because they lack the basic knowledge of their biological roots, teenage adoptees who have grown up in a closed adoption have a harder time trying to form their own identity. 2 As most adopted adolescents struggle with life's normal transitions, they do so