Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adoption and Divorce

When we adopt a child, one of the issues that we want them to understand so clearly is that they are now in a PERMANENT family. We know that every child who has been separated from their birth parents has already experienced a significant loss, and so I think most of us try to assure our children that their new family is forever. We want our children to feel the security of our love and to believe that we will always be there for them. I know with my own children, I’ve used the word for family from the movie Lilo and Stitch as a private “promise”. We’ve said over and over to each other that “Ohana means family”, and as I would tuck them in at night I would assure them that family is forever.

But what happens when family isn’t forever? What happens when divorce occurs post-adoption? How does that impact a child who has been told again and again that their family is permanent and secure? Very little professional advice can actually be found on the internet about this topic, but it is definitely an issue that occurs, with the divorce rate in America remaining at 50%. Has this been an issue that’s touched your family? How have you helped your child understand that even though your marriage might have ended, your love for your child is indeed permanent?


  1. I am always careful to not use the words "family is forever" because the reality is their first family WASN'T forever. Their first family made the decision to give them up for adoption. I instead say "my love is forever", which I think can be true of both adoptive parents and birthparents.

  2. Sadly, I have lived through divorce after adoption. I carried guilt for many years. Something about divorce after adoption, seemed to cut deeper than divorce with biological children. I think that as long as the child knows they are loved and valued without end, most times it will be okay. I tend to believe a disfunctional marriage can sometimes be more harmful to a child than divorce. Love trumps trauma.