This chapter was a little difficult for me. The last thing I want to think about is my child be angry at me for any reason, much less their adoption, and I surely don't want to consider the thought that they may act out or even become violent. This chapter goes over many of the reasons that a child might become angry, how that anger may be presented, and how to handle it.
Not all adoptees will experience anger, and those who do will not display those feelings in the same fashion. However, it is very common for adoptees to be angry, sometimes subconsciously, and to inflict that anger in other areas of his life. Some thoughts an adoptee may have are:
- "I'm mad that she gave me up."
- "I'm mad that she didn't love me enough to keep me."
- "I'm mad at my adoptive parents for taking me away."
- "I'm lonely."
- "I'm different than everyone else."
- "I must protect myself from further abandonment/rejection."
The child may not be able to verbally tell you these thoughts, because they themselves may not understand exactly why they feel angry. Here are some things this chapter suggests adoptive parents can do to help their child sort through anger:
- ALLOW them to be angry. Create a safe haven for your child to be angry, and don't talk them out of it. If your child expresses his anger toward his birthmom, instead of saying, "But that's not true...she loved you. You shouldn't be angry," tell him, "That must really hurt to feel that way. I can see why you're mad."
- Reassure them. Although you don't want to talk their feelings down or try to change their mind, you do need to let them know that you love them and that you aren't going to leave them. Adoptees need to know that they weren't placed for adoption because something was wrong with them.
- Find a good adoption counselor. Make sure it is someone that has experience with adoption issues. It is a good idea for all adoptees to have regular counseling during these periods in their life.