Adoption And Identity Formation Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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precipitate psychopathology (Wegar, 1995). Also in agreement with Wegar, McRoy, and Baran is Frisk. Baran et al. (1975) wrote, ⌠Frisk conceptualized that the lack of family background knowledge in the adoptee prevents the development of a healthy genetic ego . . . In most of the studies surveyed, the researchers are in agreement about one fact. Vital to the adopted adolescent`s identity development is the knowledge of the birth family and the circumstances surrounding the adoption. Without this information, the adolescent has difficulty deciding which family (birth or adopted) he resembles. During the search for an identity in adolescence, the child may face an array of problems including hostility toward the adoptive parents, rejection of anger toward the birth parents,

self-hatred, transracial adoption concerns, feeling of rootlessness . . . . (McRoy et al., 1990). While searching for an identity, adolescent adoptees sometimes are involved in a behavior which psychologists term family romance. This is not a romance in a sexual manner, but rather a romance in the sense of fantasizing about birth parents and their personal qualities. Horner and Rosenberg (1991) stated that ⌠the adopted child may develop a family romance in order to defend against painful facts. Often times, adoptees wonder why they were adopted, and because closed-adoptions are common, the adoptee is left with many unanswered questions about the circumstances of the adoption. The adoptee may have a tendency to harbor negative feelings about himself, feeling like he was

unwanted, bad, or rejected by the birth parent. These feelings can be quite powerful, so the adoptee will engage in this family romancing behavior in order to offset the negative feelings and try to reconcile his identity crisis. This point is stressed by Horner and Rosenberg (1991) when they write, The painful reality to be confronted by adoptees is that their biological parents did not want, or were unable, to find a way of keeping and rearing their own child. The children feel that they were either not meant to be or intolerable . . . . Finding an identity, while considering both sets of parents is a difficult task for the adolescent. The adoptee does not want to hurt or offend his adoptive parents, and he also does not want to ignore what is known about his biological roots.

Horner and Rosenberg (1991) write: Adoptive status may represent a developmental interference for children during adolescence. Instead of the usual struggles over separation and the establishment of a cohesive sense of self and identity, the adopted child must struggle with the competing and conflictual issues of good and bad parents, good and bad self, and separation from both adoptive parents and images of biological parents. If all adoptions were open, the adoptee would have the ability to know about the traits of each family. He would have an easier task of forming an identity for himself, rather than struggling with the issues of to whom he can relate. If the adolescent has some information about his birth parents, such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion,

Horner and Rosenberg (1991) believe that the following can happen: From the bits of fact that they possess, adopted children develop and elaborate explanations of their adoptions. At the same time, they begin to explain themselves, and they struggle to develop a cohesive and realistic sense of who they are and who they can become. It appears that if the adoptee has even a minimal amount of information about his birth parents and adoption, he will have an easier time with identity formation than an adoptee who has no information about his adoption. The adoptive parents can also play a key role in aiding in identity formation of the adopted adolescent. Much of the research I surveyed at least touched upon the role of the adoptive parents. Kornitzer stated that the more mysterious

the adoptive parents make things for the child the more he will resort to fantasy (Baran et al., 1975). This is yet another argument for open adoptions. Again, if the child knows the circumstances of his adoption and other pertinent information about his biological roots, he will have an easier time forming an identity in adolescence. It is also noted that, . . . young adoptees are vulnerable to feeling different or bad due to the comments and actions of others (Wegar, 1995). This is to say that the child will feel more accepted, and that his adoption is not a stigma if his adoptive parents have the conviction that being adopted does not make the family bad, and it does not mean that the adoptive parents are failures because they could not have biological children. Sometimes the