Acceptance Rejection Identification

Depending on their preadoption history, adoptees may experience acceptance, rejection, identification, and separation issues in a magnified way, as these issues can activate concerns about the loss of the biological parents and the reasons for and permanence of their being wanted by their new parents. Identifying with the adopting parents may be a complex task, if truth and fantasy about the lost parents interfere or if strong differences, such as skin color or IQ, set them apart. Parental counteridentification problems can be felt. Not convinced that family bonds are forever, adoptees appear especially vulnerable to even a semblance of rejection. Even normal parental limit setting can be interpreted as a rejection. Being sensitive to weak, unstable, or conditional parent-child bonding, adopted children can act out and seriously test parental love. While actually seeking confirmation of the unconditional acceptance they had hoped for, they sometimes precipitate the very rejection they feared. Children traumatized by the instability of ever-changing caretakers in early childhood may have difficulty bonding successfully and face exceptionally turbulent times when seeking to separate from their parents in adolescence. Reassuring adoptees of having been chosen, not merely wanted, can increase their self-esteem and experience of being secure. Acomparison of normal children— both adopted and nonadopted—revealed no difference in self-concept between the two groups. Adoption becomes a negligible factor in individuals who are able to make a positive adjustment.

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