Adopted Child Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes And Prevention

6 min read

Parenting is a blissful journey of nurturing your child with love and affection. Earlier the couple who had medical issues and could not conceive and have children of their own used to rely on adoption. However, in the recent years, the perspectives on adoption have changed considerably in India. Nowadays, even couples who have kids of their own, sometimes adopt a child. Also Read: Five Important Facts On Adoption In India
sad adopted child 3
Thanks to the influencing elite class of our society like the film stars, adoption is slowly becoming a trend. In addition, adoption is a great blessing for the people who fall under the following categories.

    • Transgender
    • Women who don’t want to go through the whole process of conceiving and delivery
    • A Man or woman who have no desire to get stuck in a marriage but love to be a solitary parent to a child

Also read: Adoption Facts
But it may be noted that bringing up an adopted child is not always as simple as it sounds. Sometimes, they could come with a psychological array. The adopted child syndrome is something that could be anticipated in such children, in different degrees.

  • What Is An Adopted Child Syndrome?
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Adoptive Child Syndrome?
  • What Causes The Adopted Child Syndrome?
  • What Are The Effects Of Adopted Child Syndrome?
  • What Are The Ways To Prevent Adopted Child Syndrome?
  • When To Talk To A Doctor For Adopted Child Syndrome?

What Is An Adopted Child Syndrome?

An adopted child syndrome or ACS is a disorder found among some of the adopted kids that happen as a result of a number of psychological and emotional problems some of them go through. This includes:

    • Problems in bonding and resisting bond building from the part of an adopted child towards his or her adoptive parents
    • Attachment disorders
    • Lying and stealing
    • The volatile and aggressive behavior exhibited by the adopted child
    • Challenging authority and picking up fights with people in the household

Also read: Bringing Your Adopted Baby Home

What Are The Symptoms Of Adoptive Child Syndrome?

The signs and symptom of Adopted Child Syndrome will be different for different children. More often, the adoptive children with these issues will not open up their emotions and thoughts with the foster parents. Therefore, the parents should be aware and watch out for the following signs of ACS, as the adopted child bears twice the risks of psychological issues than normal children.

  • Depression
  • A general feeling of distress, loss, and rejection
  • Low self-esteem
  • Acting like an outsider, not expressing connection to the parents and siblings (if any)
  • Always try to avoid eye contacts with parents
  • Anxiety
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD): Children with attachment disorders have trouble attaching to others and handling their own emotions. This results in a privation of faith. The child always discards the parent’s efforts to calm, soothe, and bond with him or her. A child with an attachment disorder feels unsafe and alone
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This condition is characterized by feelings of extreme fear, helplessness, and vulnerability
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, also called ADHD: This is a condition in which the child has issues with paying attention and concentrating on everyday jobs or studies or even playing, The child has a tendency to act without thinking much, and also exhibits a trouble for sitting still
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): Child with ODD exhibits extreme opposition to authority, fight with parents, outbreaks of anger and meanness with peers
  • Separation anxiety disorder: Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which the child exhibits excessive anxiety even if he or she has to separate for a little while (like going to school) from home or from those to whom the child is attached
  • Identity crisis: This is a feeling of unhappiness and confusion, often occurring in adolescence, caused by the inability of the child to identify their personality

What Causes The Adopted Child Syndrome?

The reasons that pave the way for the adopted child to develop ACS are:

  • Primal wound: According to the available evidence, the children whose connection with their biological mother are severed the either before birth, during birth, and during pre-verbal life (before a baby knows a language and uses words to communicate) develop primal wound. Thus, every child given up for adoption get that feeling of rejection to some extend irrespective of how young they are. This causes a primal wound, which often gives rise to the adopted child syndrome
  • The pain of parting: The orphaned and abandoned kids carry a pain of parting from their biological parents. Even very small babies, who are not able to remember the trauma, could feel it subconsciously. This creates a fear that their adopted family also would leave them one day. This fear of separation from the new family can result in adopted child syndrome
  • Cultural differences: If the adopted family comes from a different ethnic origin than the adopted child, let it be skin or hair color, facial features, etc., the child could find it hard to adjust and feel as odd one out and has an increased chance to grow up into a confused personality
  • Genetic difference: Even if the adopted family and the adopted child come from same nationality or race, obviously they will not resembles each other due to genetic differences. Not having any resemblance to other family members can create a feeling of being different which gradually may pave the way to adopted child syndrome

What Are The Effects Of Adopted Child Syndrome?

Not all the children who are adopted exhibit the effects of adopted child syndrome. Many of them grow normally like any other children. However, several researchers have found that the rate of psychological maladies is more among adopted children than normal ones. Here are some effects of ACS.

  • Adopted children show a delay in accomplishing physical and emotional development milestones as compared to the normal children
  • The adopted child develops attachment issues that increase with their age. As they grow, even if they may show attachments to an unfamiliar person, they remain emotionally detached from the foster parents
  • They have a tendency to get drawn to alcohol and drug abuse, thereby, inclining towards different kinds of crime
  • The adopted children are found to develop psychological issues like eating disorders. Overeating and under eating are very common among such children

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What Are The Ways To Prevent Adopted Child Syndrome?

It is a fact that the adoption provides a huge positive change to abandoned children who have experienced a tough life and rejection in their young lives. However, as foster parents, it is equally important to put additional effort to make the kids settle down in their new life. The following steps will help to prevent or decrease the intensity of ACS:

  • Love and care: Find more time to care and love him. Each and every gesture of yours should provide him a feeling that you love him and care him and he is an integral part of your life. Giving him a hug, holding his hand while speaking sweetly to him, ruffling his hair with love, etc. help to increase his confidence and trust. Also read: Bonding With Your Adopted Baby
  • Never forcefully attempt to mold the character of the child: Never try to forcefully mold the character of the adopted kid according to your wish by scolding and punishing. Give them time to settle down and eventually through love and explaining the logical consequences of his act slowly bring him and mold him according to your wish
  • Urge the child to socialize: Encourage the child to socialize. Give the child every opportunity and create events (like planning a party, taking him to the park, etc.) to socialize with the neighbors and friends. This will eventually help the child to come out of his cocoon
  • Instill feeling of permanency: Adopted children are always scared of losing people around them as they have experienced the same early in their lives. It is imperative to instill the confidence in them that you are going to be around him/her permanently and not just for a few hours or days

When To Talk To A Doctor For Adopted Child Syndrome?

It is very difficult to understand and recognize the symptoms of Adoptive child syndrome. So you have to closely watch your adopted child and if he shows any of ACS then timely medical intervention is necessary. Take him to a psychotherapist who will look at his symptoms and treat him accordingly. Psychotherapy will help to remove the negative feelings, guilt, anxiety, rejection etc. from your adopted child’s mind.

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