Approximately 5 million people alive in the US today are adoptees. Several legitimate assumptions can be made regarding that figure; some don’t know that they were adopted, some do know, and, most likely those are numbers that may never be known and recorded because they fall into the realm of personal family matters. What can be said, however, is that of those who know that they are adopted it’s not uncommon that, whether verbalized or not, they typically have some questions; Who are my birth parents? Why did they give me up? Was there something wrong with me?
For a young child in their formative years, if they are aware that they were adopted, those questions (and others that follow) are understandably difficult waters for them to navigate. This creates, for the adoptive parents, some challenges in their child rearing efforts that are seldom faced by non-adoptive parents. A child in those special circumstances needs complete reassurance that they are loved and wanted, and that there is nothing wrong with them. They need to know that they are just as special as any other child in the family.
It’s often easy for an adopted child to withhold asking those questions for any number of reasons. Chief among them is that the answers might validate their thoughts that prompted the questions in the first place–that they weren’t loved by their birth parents, and therefore weren’t wanted, and therefore that there is something wrong with them. When that occurs, the questions do not remain dormant in their minds. There are plenty of reminders on a daily basis that feed into their negative thoughts of self-worth.
It’s incumbent upon adoptive parents, and particularly Christian adoptive parents that they openly and frequently pour love into those adopted children. They need reassurance, often repeated, that their real birth story is as precious as everyone else’s, that it is no difference at its root between theirs and anyone else’s real birth story–and that is that we are all children of God, a child of love. Reinforcement such as that will bless their lives for years to come, and it will help build into them a stronger foundation of who they are and why.