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What really helps adopted children thrive?

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In 2018, my husband and I were one of the first married same-sex couples to adopt in Germany. Before we were approved, we had to complete a long process of interviews, financial and medical checks, as well as extensive preparation classes. In these classes, we were often confronted with the myriad challenges that many adoptive children face. Some of them are to do with a fundamental sense of separation and loss: what the Scottish writer and adoptee Jackie Kay, in her memoir, Red Dust Road, describes as the “windy place right at the core of my heart”. Others are rooted in traumatic experiences that occurred before the adoption, which can include neglect and abuse, prenatal alcohol exposure, or spending early childhood in institutional care.

While individual experiences of adoption can vary hugely, these underlying traumas can pose long-term risks for the child. According to an analysis of 85 studies on the mental health of adoptees and non-adoptees, the risk of adoptees experiencing psychiatric disorders, having contact with mental health services, or treatment in a psychiatric hospital was approximately double that of non-adoptees. Similarly, a Swedish study on international adoptees found a higher risk of severe mental health problems and suicide in adolescence and young adulthood among children who had been adopted.

However, although being adopted is associated with these risks, a successful adoption placement can help vulnerable children overcome the early adversity they faced. Adoption has been shown to help close the developmental gap between children who have been in care and their peers, having a measurably positive impact on, for instance, their cognitive development.

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https://ychef.files.bbci.co.uk/1600x900/p0dm12b2.webp(Image credit: Ben Fergusson)

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221124-what-really-helps-adopted-children-thrive?utm_source=pocket_discover_parenting

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