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.


Highlights of the show (click to expand)
  • 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