Mental Health Of An Adopted Child

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Every day there are new lives brought into this world, and every day there are parents who still yearn for a child. Some people are not as ready to become parents as some, while some parents feel an immense fear of child-rearing. To give you a fair idea on the matter, the United Nations Children’s Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF, estimates that there are 353,000 babies born every day. Every year, in the United States alone, there are 135,000 children put up for adoption.

Parents may have different reasons for having their child adopted. Some may be too young to take on that responsibility, and some may not be ready for that level of dependency. Of course, it is no secret that having a child is not a walk in the park. There will be times when you become drained to your last bit of energy, yet you might still not do enough. I get it. Parenting can cause us a certain level of stress and anxiety, a fear that we would not be able to do a good job with raising our children.

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With this fear and anxiety, some parents decide to put their child up for adoption. This is a sad reality that many parents have to face, but most of the time, these children grow up in families that can provide well for them and teach them the best ways of the world.

Unfortunately, not every child put up for adoption can grow up in the same environment. Some children might get adopted by an abusive family that only fosters or adopts a quick buck. That is a sad reality that the children are facing.

But how does this early adoption affect the child? A study in the United Kingdom was published speaking on how early adoption has affected these children’s mental health well into adulthood. The study had over 243,797 participants, and among them, 3,151 adults were adopted at an early age. The study had concluded that “The association between childhood adoption and mental health cannot fully be attributed to stressful environments but is partly explained by differences in genetic risk between adoptees and those who have not been adopted.”

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Furthermore, the study explains that since children who go through adoption at an early age face more life stressors before they are adopted, such as prenatal (example, maternal substance abuse, stress, health problems) and postnatal (e.g., lower socioeconomic status, neglect, abuse) environments and the likely very stressful adoption process, these individuals are more likely to develop developmental and neurobiological difficulties and mental health issues or concerns.

Meanwhile, in another study conducted in the United States, they had tried to determine whether adolescents who had been adopted at an early age were more likely to develop any behavioral and emotional issues. What the team of researchers had found was that those participants who were adopted had scored only moderately higher than those who were not adopted on quantitative measures of mental health. Nevertheless, being adopted approximately doubled the odds of having contact with a mental health professional.

This is quite alarming given the rate of adoptions every year. So, we must take strides in ensuring that every child, adopted or not, has access to mental health care. As of the moment, undiagnosed mental issues can start as early as the age of 10, and this can continue well into adulthood. Leaving mental illness untreated can cause a lot more harm than you would expect. The body can only be as healthy as the mind is, so when the mind is failing, the body fails.

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Untreated mental illness can lead to a serious decline in physical health, and in extreme cases, it can lead to death. So, if you are an adoptive parent, make sure that you regularly check up on your child. Ensure that they can healthily process their emotions and cope with their stress in a good manner. Try to address any mental illness symptoms that you might see in your child as early as possible.

Adopted children must realize that not because they are adopted means that they are not loved or that they are not worthy of anything in this world. Constantly remind them that there is a reason why you found each other, and maybe you both need to fill a certain role in each other’s lives. No child ever has to question why their biological parents did not keep them. Be a reminder that bad things can sometimes have good results and that no matter what other people may say, they are your family and that they are loved beyond belief.

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