Impact of Divorce on Adopted Children

How does divorce affect adopted kids? Do adopted children suffer greater from their parents’ divorce? How can parents lessen the impact? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Ann Cleary, Director of Holt International’s California Branch Office. She received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in children’s mental health; and Judy Goldman, social worker with Vista Del Mar Adoption Agency.

Hit the Highlights
  • Let’s start with the impact of divorce on all kids and then move to how this differs with adopted kids.
  • Is divorce harder on adopted children? Will it stir up more grief and abandonment feelings? If so, how can adoptive parents help their child cope?
  • Does divorce bring up earlier abandonment or rejection in an adopted child?
  • How do abandonment issues play into an adopted child’s response to divorce?
  • What are the signs that an adopted child might have issues with feeling abandoned?
  • Most parents feel guilty about divorce, but there is often an added sense of guilt for adoptive parents because the promised to be a forever family for this child. What contributes to the added sense of guilt for divorcing adoptive parents.
  • Feeling of guilt to birth parents. You promised them one thing in your profile and then you divorce. Or to the adoption agency for foster care adoption or international adoption. A birth mom in our support group is furious at the adoptive dad who after the divorce stopped being involved with his children.
  • Is divorce more common in adoptive families perhaps because of the stress of infertility and adoption and sometimes stress of parenting kids who’ve experienced abuse and neglect.
  • How to facilitate openness with birth parents when you divorce.
  • What type of counseling or therapist is best for adopted kids to help them cope with their parent’s divorce?
  • Children sometimes feels like they have no place to belong and that family relationships are tenuous at best. How can parents help?
  • How does moving back and forth between two homes add to the stress of a divorce for children? What can parents do to lessen the stress?
  • How to set up co-parenting in a way that is must beneficial to children.

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Image Credit: Billie Grace Ward