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Adoption anger


Hi,

Heavy topic here….but here goes.

I’m wondering how common adoption anger is in teens. I would imagine it is common, but don’t know.

My 15yr daughter is a whirlwind of negative emotions. She is deeply depressed, and I suspect this is redirected anger. She had some minor developmental delays, and very poor social skills with peers. She was 3 months when adopted in a closed adoption.

The wheels are falling off the wagon here. I’m just putting it out there to see who else in in this xxxx storm, and how best to deal with it.

My daughter is in a mental hospital now for repeated suicide threats and cutting. She has had some prior counseling with minimal success. Any help at all is greatly appreciated. - Thanks

Replies

Many adopted children have anger and grief issues. The suicide rate s slightly higher among them. You need a therapist who knows adoption issues. Call all the agencies public and private and ask for referrals and find someone skilled in adoption.

Have you read 7 core issues of adoption?
http://library.adoption.com/articles/lifelong-issues-in-adoption.html
Also Verrier’s Primal wound might be helpful. Keck wrote a book on parenting your adopted adolescent.

Does she understand her story? Many children blame themselves for abandonment/rejection thinking they were bad babies or blaming the adopted parents. Many children adopted from Guatemala have a picture or information. HAve you shared that with her? You might need help with that. Is she being bullied because of her race? Forming identity is key at this age and she may be having issues about being different. Is her school diverse?

Posted by Regina on Feb 19, 2017 at 1:59pm

I’m so sorry for you and your daughter. It seems she needs to be in a complete program for depression—one that would look at it medically and emotionally. Where are you located? Has the school been willing to help/intervene in any way? Does she have a special ed or 504 plan? There are good programs out there, but I know it can feel like a hit or miss, and can be overwhelming and discouraging at times. She’s lucky to have you, but when depression sets in you need all hands on deck—

Posted by karen922 on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:00pm

I am on a parallel path with MY 15 year old daughter with lots of what you say. I am to the point where I wonder if the issue is not the issue—- that is to say we’re flailing around with mental health professionals, medical doctors, her behaviors. It all seems to get wilder and wilder—we’ve said again and again you can be as bad as you want but you’re ours, we love you, we won’t leave you ..... I wonder if all the acting out is to try to push us to the limit with her, shove her out, and only this will validate her feelings no one ever wanted her. So, is it less about dark feelings, cutting, friendship and relationship issues (perhaps she just uses these superficially)  and more about her CORE adoption feelings, trying to understand this ‘piece’ about herself ... which is why I say the issue is not the issue. I’ve just this weekend discussed with my hubby (her dad - we’re married) maybe I should find a new talk therapist to discuss ‘loss and separation from the beginning’ about her adoption ... could this discussion lessen, perhaps, the other acting out and flailing around? I don’t know. And, I’m so so sorry your daughter is now hospitalized—sending hopes some of it works.

Posted by SST on Feb 19, 2017 at 11:10pm

Tons of good stuff in here, and thanks for the kind words of support.

The Link is quite good.

We are in Oakland Co. Mi. and are going to have to find a therapist that specializes. The general ones have had no affect. We have one contact we can pursue still that specializes.

We have always been open with the minimal information we have, and have given her a picture of birth mom. It bothers her greatly that we look different than her. we were given virtually no info other than what was on the adoption papers. In hindsight we should have pressed for much more- duh.

She has extra help at school (IAP), and gets tutoring. She puts enormous pressure on herself to get good grades,and experiences extreme anxiety over it. The school is somewhat racially mixed.

She had here first boyfriend recently. When he broke up with her it was the final straw. She says she is ugly and no one will ever want her. She also freaked out when her grandfather died a few years back, and did not bounce back like most kids would. People can say how great adoption is, and in some cases it is necessary, but I know my kid…and she is wounded. 

Good luck with your child SST. That seems a pretty good theory you came up with. I wouldn’t want to dismiss your daughters feelings, but as you point out..sometimes when someone feels like something is going to happen they push it along to get it over with.

Some days it is so intense I feel like we are in a movie. - Thanks

Posted by Fendermon on Feb 21, 2017 at 9:49am

We just started a new therapist who specializes in adoption attachment/separation trauma. Our daughter has not seen her yet as she is still in the hospital, but this woman seems to be right up to speed on what we have been experiencing.

Typically, we have had no interest at all in adoption issues from traditional therapists. In fact, the social worker at the hospital just last week looked right at my daughter and scolded her for not being happy just for *having* parents when I told her (the therapist) I thought the depression was adoption related.- Good grief…

Posted by Fendermon on Feb 26, 2017 at 5:47am

The “duh” comment was aimed at me and my wife btw, if that was unclear.

Posted by Fendermon on Feb 27, 2017 at 5:40am

A bit of a break through happened. She verbalized and acknowledged she was angry about being adopted. She had yelled about it before, but this is the first time she calmly admitted it. I consider it a step forward.

Posted by Fendermon on Mar 29, 2017 at 5:21am

I am in the **** storm.  My daughter is 11 and I am afraid as she ages the same behaviors your daughter is demonstrating will manifest. I also have a 10 yo son who has anxiety over everything.  I have felt utterly helpless until recently when I found some books while researching RAD. 

I have recently found The books “Primal Wound” and “twenty things adopted kids wish their adoptive parents knew”. After years of counseling and researching, I finally feel like I’m on the right path to helping my two children adopted from Guatemala.  One acts out horribly and one is scared of his own shadow.  I have found it amazing how difficult it is to find any kind of break through or understanding.  After reading these two books, I have ordered more that the authors suggested so I am as informed as possible when seeking new therapy.  These books have given me insight I so wish I had previously had because I would have realized the cohnselors we were seeing don’t have the background needed to help with depth of the issue of being adopted.  I urge anyone, even those with compliant children, to read these books. 

I pray you find the help you need. It is so hard to know your child is suffering and you don’t know how to help. The whole family suffers.  God bless you.

Posted by Mlesliec on Jun 17, 2017 at 1:37pm

I am in the **** storm.  My daughter is 11 and I am afraid as she ages the same behaviors your daughter is demonstrating will manifest. I also have a 10 yo son who has anxiety over everything.  I have felt utterly helpless until recently when I found some books while researching RAD. 

I have recently found The books “Primal Wound” and “twenty things adopted kids wish their adoptive parents knew”. After years of counseling and researching, I finally feel like I’m on the right path to helping my two children adopted from Guatemala.  One acts out horribly and one is scared of his own shadow.  I have found it amazing how difficult it is to find any kind of break through or understanding.  After reading these two books, I have ordered more that the authors suggested so I am as informed as possible when seeking new therapy.  These books have given me insight I so wish I had previously had because I would have realized the cohnselors we were seeing don’t have the background needed to help with depth of the issue of being adopted.  I urge anyone, even those with compliant children, to read these books. 

I pray you find the help you need. It is so hard to know your child is suffering and you don’t know how to help. The whole family suffers.  God bless you.

Posted by Mlesliec on Jun 17, 2017 at 1:37pm

In addition to the books recommended above, which are excellent, you might want to read adoptee comments on their forum here, and forums in other places such as FB. Adults who were adopted as children have insight no one else can.

Posted by Maryam on Jun 19, 2017 at 12:40pm

Thanks for the posts and warm thoughts Mlesliec and Maryam.

Yup, you have to go directly to people who have gone through this to get any insight at all.

We started a new therapist recently who is focused on DBT (therapy). We were steered toward him specifically because of the severity and persistence of our daughter’s condition.  I have since learned that DBT is a focus on the present/mindfulness oriented type of thing, Which is all good… in some respects,

However, any time I bring up how I think the adoption is key to understanding my daughter’s extreme feelings I get a bit of a blank stare and a nod…before moving on to something else.

I’d basically kill for a good therapist at this point. The only upside I’m seeing so far is that she seems to like him, which is a start I suppose.

You have to stay in the game, and acknowledge your child’s feelings and validate them. The “Be thankful you have such great parents” bs comes at them from all directions, and people never want to even admit the child suffered any kind of loss at all.

Talk openly about being adopted. I swept it under the rug a bit when our daughter was younger because she would just brush it off when it came up. In hindsight this was a big mistake. - Good luck

Posted by Fendermon on Jul 09, 2017 at 8:37am

I’m attempting to reconnect my daughter to her roots BTW. I owe it to her.

http://www.familiasdecorazon.org/

Posted by Fendermon on Jul 09, 2017 at 9:02am

where are you? check with domestic/international/foster agencies and ask who is good with adoption issues. Maybe the same name will pop up> Do you belong to any support groups? Maybe other parents know who is good

Posted by Regina on Jul 09, 2017 at 6:22pm

Hi Regina,

I’m in Rochester Mi. Thanks very much for the info. I will try that approach. I have kept my eyes open for nearby support groups without success yet. - Bill

Posted by Fendermon on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:35am

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