A TED talk about the long term effects of trauma on children. They don’t just “get over it.” In many cases, they bear the scars of it for the rest of their lives.
This is why we do this – to help children avoid trauma and avoid the life long consequences of these horrible things happening to them or to those they love.
I’m going to jump into a difficult subject today. It has to do with adoption and what happens after the kids get home. But first, I need to make a disclaimer that comes with a couple of points:
- Not every child who is adopted deals with trauma issues. Many of them live fully adjusted, totally normal lives (if you can even define normal) and don’t carry any emotional baggage from being orphaned and adopted. You don’t hear about them, precisely because they are “normal.”
- Every child who goes through the disruption in their life that comes with being orphaned and adopted has the potential of being affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- So every adoptive parent should go into adopting knowing that they might have to deal with these type of issues and should be prepared for the possibility.
I’ve had discussions with numerous people over the years where the topic has come up that there are no guarantees with biological children and there are no guarantees with adopted children. Those who are not in the adoption “world” seem to think that means that adopting isn’t that much more of a risk of “hard parenting.”
That’s not exactly true. Yes, it is true that there are no guarantees, but there are also probabilities. And the probability is higher that a child who goes through the first years of their life and faces one or more of the following is more likely to have emotional baggage to deal with:
- Is not raised by their biological parents and consistently cared for during the first 5 years of their life.
- Has a constant turnover of the people who are caring for them – and can’t build an emotional and trust bond with one person.
- Witnesses or experiences a traumatic event – the death of someone close, abuse, natural disaster…….
- Has consistent and ongoing situations where they have emotional or physical needs and they need someone and there is no one there to be their “go to” person.
When you look at it, any one or more of those could fit the experiences of almost every orphan in the world. That tells me two things:
- There is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the care of vulnerable children while they are in “transition.” That means the time between when they are with their birth family until the time when they are with their new family.
- The adoptive parents and those who care about them need to be much more aware and much more supportive of the reality that every single adopted child has the potential for carrying very difficult experiences that leave scars on them.
So, with that being said, I’m going to step down from the podium and let a couple of other writers talk about adoption, trauma and what it means. I would encourage you to read the links below and if you want to talk about them, either message me (see the spot on the right side?) or Facebook me or carrier pigeon or whatever way you want to get in touch.
If you are there, know you are not alone.
If you know one, support them. Encourage them.
If you are feeling God calling you to become one, be faithful.