The United States now has approximately 2,500,000 adoptees under the age of 21—representing nearly 2% of the population in that age-group. In addition, about 350,000 children live with foster families in this country during any given year. These children and their families have inherent vulnerabilities and problems that pediatricians may overlook. Significant numbers of foster children and adoptees are seen with behavioral, learning, and psychiatric problems. It is important that continuing counseling be available to the adoptive family, commencing prior to the adoption procedure and following throughout the early adulthood of the adoptee.
Uniqueness of Adoptio
Adoption is a situation with emotions which can be best comprehended by those in the adoptive triad itself: the birth-parents, the adoptee, and the adoptive-parents. In the adoptive procedure a mother has given up a child she has borne; parents adopt the child of an unfamiliar background, and, unlike his peers, the child knows that he was not born to the parents who have reared him. Many adoption agencies have in the past advised the adoptive-parents to raise the child as their own, love him as their own, and concurrently remind him periodically that he is not their own! Frequently no further counseling would be suggested for these families.