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The Adopted Teen’s Quest for Identity

adopted-boyAdoption is obviously a better alternative to a child languishing “in the system” – living in foster care or an orphanage. That’s why I have worked many years with national and international adoption organizations whose goal is to match needy kids with great parents. As I’ve experienced these adoptions first hand, I firmly believe that God has His hand in every case. After all, God is the ultimate authority on adoption. I think He provides specific parents with specific children for specific reasons. It may be hard to believe, but God may have given you a child knowing that as a teen they would struggle, and that He would need you for such a time as this. Continue reading “The Adopted Teen’s Quest for Identity”


When Adopted Children Become Teenagers

adoptedMany adopted kids seem to have more than their fair share of issues when they reach the adolescent years. Some can suddenly turn on the very people who rescued them years before, the family who adopted them.  Why is that? 

Here’s why . . . just as self-awareness begins to grow in the early teen years, adopted children can begin to struggle with the who and why of their adoption at this time — even kids who were adopted at birth.  Feelings of abandonment by their birth mother can burst to the surface and add to an already emotionally charged adolescence, fueled by a search for meaning, belonging, and validity in their life.

Many adopted children question their true identity during the teen years. For the mortified adoptive parents, their teenager may demonstrate a profound and shocking lack of appreciation and even a temporary hatred of them. So, the obvious question from these parents is, “What have we done wrong?” My answer to them in most cases is that they have done nothing wrong. Continue reading “When Adopted Children Become Teenagers”


Step-Family Teen Troubles

Step-parents often experience rejection and anger from the step-child in the teenage years.  After giving so much loving care over the years, it can be more than a parent can bear when the child seemingly turns against them in the teen years. 

In our Heartlight residential program, I daily help step-families in the midst of such turmoil.  Our work begins following a plea for help, similar to the note I received today…

“My husband and I have been married since my daughter was two years old.  Her biological father has had very little to do with her.  My daughter constantly argues with her step-father and will not stop.  He sometimes responds by becoming angry.  I simply cannot handle this any longer. “

Step-parents can take it very personally when a step-child seemingly rejects them.  It’s hard for them to understand how a child they helped raise could so suddenly become hateful, mean, and angry. Continue reading “Step-Family Teen Troubles”