Adoption Loss

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Adoption Loss

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It's pretty widely accepted among professionals that adoption is connected to loss, that the experience of being adopted is about gradually coming to understand that loss. And it's pretty extensive, loss is pretty extensive in adoption. There's not only the loss of birth parents, but the loss of extended birth family, the grandparents, the siblings. There is the loss sometimes of other non-biological caregivers, previous foster parents, and other important people in their past lives. Therapists perhaps, coaches, teachers, previous foster siblings, previous friends. As they get older, they begin to also experience that they've lost a connection to people who look like them in transracial adoptions, so there's a loss of their sense of a racial and cultural heritage. Sometimes they lose their mother tongue, the language they used to speak. And as they get older into the adolescent years, there's a sense sometimes of a loss of a part of themselves. And adoptees often talk about it using spacial metaphors. Something's missing, they might say. It's as if part of me isn't there. It may not be a big part, but a part of them that sometime is nagging and they want to know about.

See David Brodzinsky, PhD's video on Adoption connected to loss...

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David Brodzinsky, PhD

Psychologist & Author

David Brodzinsky is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Foster Care Counseling Project at Rutgers University. He also maintains an active private practice serving the clinical needs of children and families, including individuals who are part of the adoption triad. Brodzinsky has written and lectured extensively in the fields of developmental and clinical psychology and is an internationally known expert in the field of adoption. He is co-author of such well-known books as, The Psychology of Adoption, Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, and Children's Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues.

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