Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Article #320 Adoptive and Step Parents

            When a parent remarries after a divorce or separation or death of a spouse, it’s an adjustment for those involved especially the children. Acceptance of a new stepmom or stepdad is not automatic. It may never occur depending on the personalities involved. Time and patience plus unconditional acceptance will determine when and IF bonding happens. Step relationships are complex and change through the years depending on the interactions of the individuals involved. Love can’t be forced.  It grows from the seeds of genuine caring and sending value OVER TIME. The younger the child, the easier the adjustment usually is. Although, there are plenty of grown adult children still filled with anger trying to understand why their parents divorced or split up when they were young then remarried. Family and individual counseling can help heal the new relationships involved in a blended or stepfamily.

            What about adoptive parents? If the adopted child is young when placed in a new home by his or her birth parent, it’s easier for that individual to bond with the new adoptive parents. The difficulties come later when an adopted child grows up and wants to meet his or her birth parent/s. It’s new territory for all involved. Mixed feelings can be manifested by an adopted child, a birth parent and even the adoptive parent. Fears of rejection, guilt, anger, etc. may arise.

I’m watching this process as an adopted child who is now a teenager wants information on her birth parent. The adopted parents are helping this daughter reach out to the birth mother, not knowing if that birth parent wants to reconnect or not. In this process there may be other siblings to meet, and many questions to be answered to bring closure. It’s important for the adopted child to go slowly and talk about the process supported by loved ones.

            Having four adopted grandchildren, I’ve watched them bond with their adoptive parents and myself as a grandparent. We are family, yet there is a birth family somewhere that they may want to meet one day. Hopefully not until they are mature enough and interested in making this connection.  Their adoptive parents have sacrificed so much to make a home for these children not born to them, but chosen to join their family.  Hopefully, the children involved have the support of their adoptive family and their birth family in this endeavor to connect.
NEXT TIME: Rebellious Children. 

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