Twenty-four years ago, when my newly-adopted daughter, Joanna, was about four months old, I was reading an article about adoption in the Sunday paper. The author made the sweeping statement that all adopted children feel a life-long "sorrow"about having been given up by their birth parents. When I read this, it made me angry. Here I was, preparing to be a loving, caring, generous adoptive father to a beautiful baby girl. The idea that she would carry a sorrow with her for her entire life felt like an affront to my loving heart. As her excited psychologist father, wasn't it my mission to protect my daughter from pain?Wasn't it my job to make sure that she had a happy childhood and felt wonderful about being adopted by us?
I read the offending sentence out loud to our in-house expert on adoption: my wife, Theresa. As a malnourished baby weighing only eleven pounds at seven months, Theresa had been adopted from an orphanage outside Dublin, Ireland by an American family. She also has three adopted younger siblings. She was the expert, and I fully expected her to refute the author's sorrow argument. "This is a little much, isn't it?" I prompted. She looked me in the eye and said, "That sounds about right to me."
In the short piece he addresses the following questionsadoptive parents frequently have: How can I be sure that the loving bond I have with my adoptive child is as strong and close as the attachment (I imagine) between a biological child and birth parents? How do I raise a child whose temperament and learning style are so different from mine? When my child has behavioral or emotional difficulties in childhood, how can I tell whether they are "normal" problems or adoption-related problems? How do I talk to my child about his or her being adopted when it's hard to bring the subject up, or I'm not ready for it myself?
He's also addressing questions in the comments, so post a comment there if you want expert feedback on a burning issue.