Some studies have found that adopted children constitute a higher number of those admitted to mental health facilities than non-adopted children. This may be because the child was raised in an unstable environment without the opportunity to form successful familial attachments. Some adopted children were placed in foster care as a result of abuse or neglect in their birth parent’s homes. These developmental obstacles may contribute to psychological and social maladjustment later in life.
Environment and experience play an important role in psychological development. A child in foster care who has moved frequently or experienced abusive situations may struggle to form a stable identity and relationships. Some children may be more resilient to the changes and difficulties adoption entails, while others may be more affected.
Every adopted child has a unique background and history. It is important for foster parents to work closely with mental health professionals and social workers, both before and after the adoption, in order to understand and meet the psychological needs of their adopted child.
About the Author:
Dr. Kimberly Hammes Frank is a child and adolescent psychiatric specialist. She believes that successful psychiatric treatment of children and adolescents integrates biological, psychological, and social aspects of the patient’s life, and also includes the input of families and schools. Adoption lies at the center of these complex forces, and Dr. Kimberly Frank has several years of experience working with children in adoption clinics who often have psychological needs distinct from those of non-adopted children.