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The Struggle of Adoptive Children: Interpersonal Relations - Essay Example

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Adoption can be one of the most useful social institutions available for children and families. More open and liberal attitudes towards adoption have made the placement of children available to ever more social groups. …
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The Struggle of Adoptive Children: Interpersonal Relations
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Download file to see previous pages (Wegar 363). In addition to society's views, the reality of the path towards adoption forms values and concepts within the child. These experiences may make it difficult to form personal relationships amid feelings of mistrust and low self-esteem. Adoptive families and adopted children may face a life long struggle to normalize their personal relationships in their life with each other and those outside the family unit.One of the main considerations in the future that adopted children face in forming relationships is the mental state of the child at the time of adoption. Adopted children have often been subjected to severe loss. They have lost their parents, siblings, and other family members. In cases of international adoption that have become more prevalent, there will be a cultural loss, language replacement, and possibly the loss of racial heritage ("Impact of Adoption" 3). The adopted child may feel that the loss was due to their fault and question their own self worth. This loss of self-esteem will follow the child throughout life as they struggle to realistically assess their own value in a personal or intimate relationship.
The events that precipitate an adoption may also have a damaging effect on a child seeking to form relationships. The child's experience may have been impacted by abuse, neglect, or hurt feelings. These experiences will lower self-confidence, increase self-doubt and negatively impact the adopted child's ability to form healthy relationships. These lowered self images create "relationship anxiety, as well as with ratings of immediate feelings of rejection and powerlessness, negative affect, and negative self-perceptions" (Feeney 43). This relationship anxiety can cause self doubt and result in an over-reaction to negative behavior from a partner or friend and the victim may see themselves as an unworthy candidate for a loving relationship (Feeney 43). The adopted person who has experienced a situation that has created relationship anxiety will find it difficult to trust and enter into a meaningful relationship.
Children and adolescents that enter into an adoptive situation may not be able to form a relationship with the adoptive parents due to attachment disorder. This is usually seen within the first three years after adoption and can "...impair, and even cripple, a child's ability to trust and bond - or attach - to other human beings" (Keck). Many of these children have not yet established a set of personal values that adequately allow them to express empathy, grief, or appropriate anger. They transmit their anger to the world around them by placing blame outside themselves. They blame caregivers, parents, and teachers for their anger, and even blame inanimate objects as the source of their problems. Parents and teachers may not recognize this as attachment disorder and attempt to punish the child or reason with discipline. According to Ellen Singer, an adoption program specialist, "children who are more vulnerable to "fall apart" under stress, to be fearful, to overreact to frustration, especially with anger, to have trouble delaying gratification, to being overly sensitive to criticism, or mistrustful or otherwise inappropriate emotionally, are likely to encounter trouble in their peer relationships with other children". However, according to Keck, "... children or adolescents who engage in projecting blame are those who have not yet ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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