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Possible Psychological Problems faced by an Adopted Child - Emotional and Behavioral

Concerned about what might be bothering your adopted child? Let us understand better by delving deeper into their psychology.

Adoption, in a lot of ways, is not all that different from childbirth. Parenting in any of its forms, quite truly, is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences in life. Whether it is in your belly that you carried your child for most part of the year, or have spent a long time to complete your family coordinating with an adoption agency, when the child finally arrives, all you really want as a parent is to have a happy and healthy child.


However, adoption as a legal process can involve a lot of emotions and feelings for all the people involved - you as a parent, your partner, your family, and the adopted child. Further, it can make child care quite a challenge as many emotional and behavioural problems could occur. Every child needs hugs, lullabies, and ofcourse – their homework checked. While adopted children too face similar issues to the ones non adopted children face while growing up, given the temperament of an individual child, some experiences may directly be related to being adopted. As a result, adopted children may be more likely to struggle with emotions and behaviours. Whatever the nature of the problem may be, some kind of intervention becomes necessary. Especially during the adolescent years, the child will begin to explore their identity, and find a place in the world. 


To make sure that the health, progress, and well- being of your child is not hampered, let us look at some common psychological problems of adopted children that might occur, and what steps can be taken to reduce the probability of the child experiencing them.


Feelings of Grief or Loss

Certain behavioural problems in adopted children can come out of their sense of abandonment. If the child is old enough, he or she may grieve for their biological parents, grandparents, siblings, culture, or language. If feelings of grief, loss, anxiety, or even anger are left unexpressed and not attended to in this regard, it may stir up a sense of uncertainty. They might start to wonder if there is something wrong with them, or if their adoptive parents will leave them too. 


What is needed then is to make sure there is enough communication of thoughts and feelings. To be able to overcome these anxieties, the child must be talked to. Parents must provide the child with a safe outlet for self expression, and acknowledge their feelings. This will allow the child to feel secure and be comfortable with the adoption arrangement.


A Sense of Low Self- Esteem

As the child grows, he or she may face challenges with their self- esteem, which relates directly to their sense of value, identity, dignity, and belonging. The adopted child might think of himself or herself as different, somewhat out of place, and not the right fit in the society with others. It is when the child is ashamed or embarrassed of being adopted, they display a lack of self confidence.


To let them have a better sense of self while growing up, adoption should be looked at in a positive manner when being raised. A sense of self worth and self esteem in the child can be the result of healthy relationships between parents and their adopted child.


Formation of Identity

Development of Identity can be slightly complicated for kids that are adopted. They are likely to ponder over several questions like who their biological parents are, where they live, or why they were given up for adoption. It is like trying to put several pieces of a puzzle together. Identity formation begins during childhood and becomes more prominent into the teenage years. It is a sense of purpose that they seek from life in this setting of adoption, by filling these blanks. In such a case, an ‘open adoption’ (if possible) can be extremely beneficial for children as well as for adoptees.


Open Adoption

An ‘open adoption’ is one where the birth family and the adoptive family keep in touch for the sake of the child. Keeping in touch can mean different things - exchanging letters or mails, or making phone calls or visiting regularly. It is what suits best to both the parties. This kind of a set up makes the adopted child have tangible answers to several important questions. It helps them overcome challenges, and get a wholesome feeling while growing up. They truly understand their identity, and often even carry it with pride, knowing that their biological and adoptive families both love them a lot.



At times, adoptive parents with sincere intentions tend to over- indulge their child. They may treat the adoptive child as someone “special” simply because he or she is adopted. They indulge the adopted child more than they would indulge the biological one. While it may be done out of sympathy and a pure heart, it can create additional anxiety, sadness, or fear for the adopted child. Parents may even not discipline the child if he or she misbehaves, thinking that may not have complete “right.” 


However, over-indulging any child does not lead to a positive outcome in the long run. The adopted child should not be treated any differently. Every child needs to understand that there are rules and that a little bit of discipline can go a long way. 


If nothing seems to work out, reach out to an expert - one that understands your child and you as a parent. With the right kind of assessment and intervention, the psychological problems can be managed and you and your child will learn to honour the positivity and strength that exists in your relationship as a family.

July 29, 2021 |  read

More on Adoption

Adoption in India

Adopting a child is a beautiful journey. Here‘s everything you need to know about adoption in India and the laws and processes related to adoption in India.

Do you know what the law says about adoption? Well, let’s start with the ancient law of adoption, known as the Hindu law, which by the way, was the only law in India that allowed the adoption of orphaned children. Under this law, the adopted child had rights equivalent to that of a natural-born. This was because according to the ancient religious customs a son is spiritual and material welfare to a family. But this letter of the law was a bit complicated and held barriers based on gender and caste in society. Today we have a more re-defined law and order for the process of adoption. Let’s take a look at it.


Prepping for child’s arrival

Adopting a child is similar to the birth of a child in your family. After all the paperwork and court proceedings that you have gone through, you begin to prepare your home and finances for the upbringing of a child. There are adoption counsellors who can guide you best with these preparations. They will provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you get in order.

While the waiting process is never-ending, there are some fun things that you and your partner can get done to cool your nervous system. Explore child care measures from books and other parents with babies. You can also choose baby names and talk to other adoptive parents for more in-hand experiences. You can even try reaching out to them on our community platform. 


Prep the baby room and shop for baby clothes and products. While you make these changes in your life, don’t forget to spend quality time with yourself and your partner. Track your thoughts and support each other during these times. It will help build a closer relationship as the baby arrives home.  


Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956:

Today’s modern society called for a lot of changes from the ancient Hindu Law. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 allows a person to adopt a child irrespective of their gender or marital status. But the court holds limitations for a male parent to adopt a girl child. While there are a few extra regulations, the law also allows adoption not only for Indians, but also NRIs and foreign citizens.


The evolution and progress of our institutions and society, today, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (also called as HAMA) has broken down a lot of barriers otherwise enforced by the old Hindu law. Section 7 and 8 under the HAMA rule defines the eligibility criteria for both genders to adopt a child.


Process of adoption under HAMA

The applicant should register with the Child Welfare Agency through an Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA). These sources are found in each state capital. They can also go through agencies that are certified by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). There will be a set of interviews and processes that look into the intention and motivation of the parents behind the adoption.


Once they are shortlisted, a court hearing takes place regarding the adoption. Once the court issues the decree, the adoption is finalized.


Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

This legal letter allows a couple or a single parent to adopt a child, an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child. However, this law is very different with respect to the HAMA law. The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 is very secular in nature, i.e. it is not specific to the Hindu community. The Child Welfare Committee can legally allow a child up to the age of 18 to be adopted by a parent.


Since the law is not very gender-specific, the eligibility of the parent or parents is common to both male and female. According to this law, parents or individuals should be mentally fit and financially stable. They have to be motivated to adopt and provide everything for his/her upbringing. For couples, the consent of both the parents is mandatory and should also hold two years of stable marriage relationship. However, this law also does not allow a single man to adopt a girl child.


The age of prospective parents is taken into consideration when they adopt a child of a particular age. The minimum age difference between the two should not be less than 25 years. Also, the law holds a barrier for couples who have three children. Under these circumstances, only the adoption of children with special needs is taken into consideration.


Process of Adoption under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

The parent(s) should register with the Adoption Coordinating Agency or with the State Adoption Cell. Following this process, a Home Study report is prepared by a social worker who will come interview you, your family members and other financial orders of business. This process also includes a rigorous counselling session that prepares you to be a supportive parent to your adopted child.


Once your Home Study report is accepted the agency connects you with children who are admitted to be legally adopted. If the child is above the age of 6, then a written and verbal consent will be obtained. After the successful matching, a petition is filed in court to obtain the necessary orders.



Over the years, there have been many attempts that have been made to bring about a change in these two laws in the system. The attempts hope to bring about uniformity between these two letters of the law. The process of adoption is a ray of hope to people and children everywhere. Legal formalities are just a part of the system to ensure security for the child and the parents. 

December 17, 2020 |  read