The Characteristics of Adoption - Loss

Couples who have lived through the heart-wrenching disappointment of failed fertility efforts will need time to heal. At the end of that time, when they can see light and hope again, they may decide that the best way to have the family of their dreams is to adopt a baby. Today, adoption is different in many ways from the way it was 20 or 30 years ago. On the other hand, the basic characteristics of adoption, the core life issues, remain the same - regardless of the circumstances surrounding the adoption.

7 Emotional Triggers in Adoption

According to Silverstein and Kaplan in their 1982 report on adoptions, there are seven issues for all members of the adoptions process - the birth families, adoptees, and adoptive families - that are lifelong issues remaining with each part of the composite picture forever. These core issues are:

1. Loss

2. Rejection

3. Guilt and Shame

4. Grief

5. Identity

6. Intimacy

7. Mastery/Control

Where Is The Attention Going?

In times past, adoption was more of a win/lose proposition. The birth family loses a child in order for an adoptive family to win a child. The adoptee, whether adopted as an infant or as an older child, was moved from the birth family to the adopted family and the focus was on parental needs rather than the needs of the child. On one side, the birth family needed not to parent and on the other side the adopting family needed to parent. The child's long-term needs were neglected. The idea that raising a child who has been adopted is no different from raising a natural-born child may disregard the difficulties and pain associated with adoption. It is important to acknowledge the struggles and understand the difficulties before, during and after adoption in order to be able to handle the trials that will most assuredly come along.

How Each Member of Adoption Experiences Loss

Loss is a primary factor in adoption. Adoption, after all is created by loss on all sides with each participant having experienced a major loss which is at the core of the adoption. The tone of the lifelong process of adoption is established in the method with which each loss is handled. Adopting parents have experienced the loss of a child to death, failed fertility efforts, infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth, which is one of the most devastating of all losses. They have lost their dream and in many cases, their hope as well. The net effect of this loss will follow them forever.

Table of Contents
1. Feelings of Loss
2. Separation Anxiety
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