If you’re facing divorce and trying to figure out what’s best for your children, it’s important to think about the specific needs of each child. When you and your spouse share an adopted child, it’s likely that your child will struggle quite a bit throughout this process. The loss that comes with adoption can often be awakened through the loss of the divorce, and both you and your ex should be prepared to support your child through this time.
There are many factors that may influence how your child responds to your divorce. As you navigate this difficult time, make sure you have the legal support and guidance you need. Call Hardy Pence at 304-345-7250.
Unique Challenges for Adopted Children
There are several challenges that divorce often brings up for adopted children:
- Loss and abandonment: Adopted children often have a fear of abandonment and loss, due to the loss of their biological family early in life. Unfortunately, the upheaval of divorce can bring these feelings back to the surface.
- Instability: Children, and adopted children, in particular, thrive in a stable environment. Divorce is the epitome of an unstable environment. You know that it’s temporary, but to a child, it can feel like their entire world is over. You may see your child act out, regress, or even withdraw from you as they try to process what’s happening.
- Difficulty with attachment and trust: If the adoption is relatively recent and your child is still figuring out their place in your family, they may experience serious issues with attachment and trust during a divorce. A child who was previously securely attached may suddenly show an anxious attachment style or an avoidant attachment style, making it harder for both parents to bond with them. The child may also stop trusting their parents, making it harder for them to provide support during the divorce.
- Confusion over loyalty: Children may feel like they have to declare loyalty to one parent during a divorce. This is often seen among adopted children, who may naturally be closer to one parent than the other. It’s crucial to avoid any hint of parental alienation, as the child must be encouraged to maintain a strong relationship with both parents.
Emotionally Supporting Your Adopted Child
Understanding the issues your child may face during this time can put you in a better position to support them as they grieve and heal. Emphasize the need for open communication and allow your child to open up to you—even if what they have to say may be painful or hurtful to hear. Remember that they have no say over what is happening, and it’s natural to feel angry or betrayed.
Protect your child’s routine as much as you can. Even if you’re in a different home, you can allow them to keep their same extracurricular activities, take them to spend time with friends and uphold the traditions you have always shared. Any consistency you can give them during this time can give them a sense of security.
Do your best to reassure your child of your love for them and your ex’s love for them. It may be difficult to talk about your ex in positive terms, but supporting their relationship with your child is truly putting your child’s best interests first. Don’t be surprised if your little one needs more reassurance, cuddles, or affection than usual.
Using Your Resources
You may want to have a therapist lined up before you even tell your child about the divorce. They will undoubtedly have things to work through in the months to come and providing them with support right away will benefit everyone. You may want to look for a therapist with specialized training in working with adopted children and navigating divorce trauma.
Keep learning throughout this time. Learn more about adoption-related trauma, the unique ways divorce can affect adopted children, and the best ways to support your adopted child’s growth and healing.
Facing Divorce? Contact Hardy Pence Now
With the team at Hardy Pence, you can work through divorce while giving your children the guidance and help they need. Let us handle the legal aspects of your divorce while you support your family. Set up a consultation with our team of Charleston divorce attorneys by calling us at 304-345-7250 or sending us a message online.