Befriending Other Adoptees

Only another adoptee knows what it's like to be adopted.

Other adoptees can be a great source of friendship

One of the most important gifts we can give our kids is the opportunity to form different kinds of friendships. A child’s friends say so much about where they are in their lives, what pieces of themselves they value or are trying to develop.

While variety is important, it’s also true that children who are adopted fare better if they know others who were adopted. Other adoptees’ stories can be invaluable for teens as they work through the conflicting emotions of curiosity regarding their birth family, and love and loyalty for their adoptive parents.

Sometimes kids don’t recognize a friend until they have been circling in each other’s orbit for a while. Adoption-group friendships often grow slowly. When our family went camping with our adoption-community friends, my son was among those kids who sauntered off and played flashlight tag until quite late.

Nothing warmed my heart more than knowing that this gathering of families made it possible for him to run with a pack, to attain that brass ring of adolescent acceptance. But even if your teen stays on the fringe of the group, or appears withdrawn or quiet, she is still observing and learning from the group’s dynamics.

Only another eighth-grader knows what it’s like to be in the eighth grade. And only another adoptee knows how it feels to be adopted. With their friends, our children peel back the layers of their personalities.

We learn to deal with human relationships as we grow. Our childhood friends are the first to influence us outside of our immediate family. And the lessons our children learn during these first encounters are powerful enough to last a lifetime.


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