Whether you adopted your teen recently or when they were a baby, questions and feelings will abound as they get older. Teenagers are undergoing chemical and physical changes in their lives as well as social and emotional changes. Has your teen been asking about their birth parents? Wondering if they were wanted?
Fill Them In
Our children will always be our babies, no matter how old they get. When it comes to questions surrounding adoption, remember that your teen will soon be an adult. They need to know that parents don’t usually give up a baby for adoption without good reason.
Support Their Search
You may feel guarded when your child asks about their biological parents. Understand that they will always love you. Supporting their search will keep them from feeling isolated. Whether you are the only parents they’ve known, or you came into their life later, they still don’t want to feel as if you disapprove.
Schedule Family Time
Children who are adopted as teens may have been passed through several homes before they find their forever. Many of these homes may have been full of children. Schedule family time with both your adopted teen and any other children you have to remind them that they are part of something bigger than themselves now and that the whole family wants them to be a part.
Make Time for One-on-One
It can be hard to carve out individual time, especially if you have more than one child. It’s important to make regular dates with your teen. This could be dinner after volleyball practice or going for a run. If you make it regular, it will be another source of stability for your child.
Remember that children who are adopted as teens already have over a decade of instability in their lives that has shaped their actions and decisions. Even children adopted earlier in life can have traumatic experiences from before their adoption that impact them on a subconscious level while growing up. If your teen seems to be troubled, seek help. Get involved with a support group, church group, or see a counselor. While seeking this help, make sure your child knows that you don’t blame them for the issues. They need to know that you love them.
Make a Plan
Show your child that you are invested in their future by making a plan for after high school. Remind them that you’ll still be there for them after they are grown, and there are few ways to do that better than helping them create that plan. Listen to their desires and encourage them to follow what they want, with you in the background cheering them on the whole time.
Parenting a teenager is a special challenge in and of itself, and adopted teens can be an added challenge. Life is hectic, but remember to make extra time. They may seem like they no longer need you, but they do. Continue to be present in their lives, even when it seems they’re shoving you away, and that will go a long way toward making them feel loved and wanted.