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Understanding troubled adopted children

Sandra Wekesa @andayisandra

You give them a place to call home, a family, and generally a different and better life from which they would have grown up. Yet some turn rogue, unappreciative and become manipulative.

Psychologists argue the hidden story in adoption is fear, especially for those who were abandoned. Adopted children push you away because that is what may have happened to them.

It is common for those who were adopted to feel rejected and abandoned by their birth parents. This is accompanied by feelings of grief and loss. There is no set time or age when these feeling surface but, sooner or later, they do.

Immaculate Kerubo, a psychologist, says adopted children may develop queer behavioural and psychological issues as time goes by. According to her, this is mostly brought about by the fact that they may begin to inquire about their sense of belonging, the role they play in a family or their biological parents.

“There are many cases under which a child may think that they do not belong to a family. But the moment a child begins to ask about their biological parents, it is best to explain everything about them,” says Immaculate.

However, in as much as some children tend to become rogue as they grow up, especially to their foster parents, some turn out to be just fine and excel in life “You can never control a person’s behaviour. In fact, many adoptive parents are loving as they wouldn’t want the society to see them as evil parents,” she says.

Immaculate adds that making children understand that you are not their biological parents may prove to be difficult. Mainly because a child would take long to understand the situation, but she adds that if you do it step by step it might turn out to be easier than expected.

“If for an instance your child came home asking about types of family, you as a parent should take advantage of the time and explain things to them and through hints here and there. It might prove to take long, but the sooner you do it the better,” she says.

She retorts that most of the time a child’s behaviour might be triggered by the fact that they were not told about the adoption before they found out. Or maybe, the fact that growing, up the child had to deal with bullies from school telling them of ‘how they were bought’ or they don’t belong there.

Her parting shot to foster parents is it is wise to try and inform your child if they are adopted as soon as they begin to understand.  “There shouldn’t be a certain age to let them know about the adoption. As soon as they begin to understand some things, just walk them through the topic and everything will turn out well for them,” she says.   

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