Children are placed in adoption for a variety of reasons.
More often than not, children who have been adopted are curious about the circumstances that surrounded their adoption. Whether it was originally a closed adoption or open adoption, it doesn’t take away from the fact that these teens usually have a deep need to know who their birth parents are—and it may be causing them to suffer from behavioral problems, depression, a teen identity crisis, or even thoughts of suicide. With all of this in mind, as a parent considers treatment options for their adopted teen, the following question inevitably comes to mind: “What if my child wants to meet their birth parents?”
Prepare for the Eventual Meeting of Birth Parents
Regardless of how the adoption began, as parents, you are in the here and now: your child needs help. Three Points Center, a residential treatment facility for teens that focuses on the “triad” of adoptive parents, the child, and their natural parents says it best when they note that it’s important to prepare for an eventual reunion. They go on to say that although a teen’s expression in finding their birth parents “may sting a bit,” helping them locate them may ultimately “strengthen the bond between the two of you.”
So, how do you help them?
When you make the decision to help them locate their birth parents, you should share with them whatever information you have, as well as remind them to be realistic about what will (or won’t happen) when they finally do meet. Teens can build up expectations in their minds, and disappointment can really devastate them. Being prepared in advance for all outcomes will benefit them most—and that includes sharing information that may be painful for them to hear (for example, if they are in jail, are a sexual predator, or if they are suffering from mental illness).
Get Help with Birth-Parent/Adoptive-Parent Reunions
Particularly when an adopted teen is already troubled, it is important to find a therapeutic treatment center that has an in-depth understanding of how an adoption can impact a teen and their treatment. Complex emotional, social and psychological issues are often present with adopted teens and their families, and when it’s time to address them, it is better to find professional help.
Three Points Center is the only residential treatment facility that is solely for adopted teens. Founded because other treatment centers were not set up to address the specific needs that adopted teens and their families face, they focus on the triad as their mainstay of healing. Three Points knows that a teen’s identity isn’t just about who raised them, and they acknowledge the importance of both birth parents and adoptive parents in a caring, nurturing environment.