By Dr. Jan Hittelman

While all of us are faced with parenting challenges, parenting adopted children can present additional issues that can impact the parent-child relationship. Adopted children often struggle with issues related to their identity: Where do I come from? Who are my birth parents? Why was I given-up for adoption? How much a parent should share with their adopted child regarding their early history is yet another challenge to be considered. Parents of adopted children need to develop a game plan for addressing these and other unique issues that are likely to surface. Issues around ethnic/racial/cultural differences between the child and parent(s) can also trigger a variety of unique challenges that will need to be addressed. Finally, there are issues unique to adoption that come-up as a function of the child’s developmental stage. For example, identity issues become a much larger concern as children enter into adolescence. Providing both parents and children with opportunities to meet and share with others in a similar situation can be invaluable.