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How does divorce affect an adoptee?

Imagine being adopted by two people you care about only to discover that they want to get divorced. As a child, your world might feel like it's falling apart a second time. Being an adopted child and going through a divorce adds a layer of complication to a child's life, so it's important for parents to be patient and accommodating as the child adjusts.

Divorce is a loss for children, just as it is for the couple getting a divorce. There's no way to make a divorce comfortable for everyone; it's a difficult situation and has many factors that could lead to disputes. For an adopted child, stability is an important part of life. Divorce disrupts that.

What can you do to help your child during the divorce?

First, focus on stability as much as possible. Keep up with plans with friends and family, and take time to talk to your child about his or her concerns. A therapist may help your child work through feelings of insecurity if you believe your child is struggling through the divorce.

Second, take the time to make sure your child knows how important he or she is to you. Both you and your spouse need to make sure your child understands that even though there are changes taking place, those changes aren't intended to cause him or her pain. Instead, focus on the benefits of living apart and the family dynamic it will create for you. Avoid being negative around your child, since this adds to the stress of the situation.

Your attorney can help with the legal side of divorce while you focus on the emotional work you need to do for yourself and your child.

Source: The New York Times, "When Divorce Magnifies Adoption’s Losses," Deesha Philyaw, accessed March 24, 2017

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