by Penn Flinn
All across the world, teens are facing adoption.
|The day my friend told me that he was adopted, I was shocked. He seemed like a normal kid, just one boy in a crowd. But now he was adopted? It changed my perspective drastically, threw me into a strange sort of reflective stage. It made me stop to think about adoption—are adopted kids really any different from those who aren’t adopted? My friend fit in with the school crowd just fine—but his life, just like the lives of other adopted teens, is much different from the life of an average teenager.
My shock at learning about my friend was unusual, in a way. In fact, it was strangely uncalled for. My older brother was adopted, and I’ve lived with that fact for my whole life. His adoption has never seemed strange to me. It was always just a part of my life, and it was who he was. Never mind the fact that he looked nothing like me. He was part of my family. Perhaps it is the people around the adopted person that are unaffected by adoption. Perhaps it is only the adopted individual that has to face the challenges that come along as a result of being adopted.
Teens that are adopted are, needless to say, faced with more challenges than the everyday teen. Junior High and High School are places where people grow and change. Teens find out just what they want to do in life and, more importantly, who they are in life. Well, perhaps not all of who they are, but at least a basic revelation. Adopted teens have to struggle with this a little more than other teens. High School is a time of change, and for adopted teens it is a time to confront their identities. This can be a challenge for many adopted teens—it’s a struggle for teens to find out where they belong. Although in the US adopted teens make up two percent of the population, it’s been reported that they make up one-third of all teen therapy sessions.
Of course, adopted teens get asked the same questions time and time again. Why don’t you look like your brother? How come your birthday is so close to your sister’s? These questions are asked daily. Maybe this adds to the adopted teen’s insecurity. My brother told me that the one thing he had problems with in High School was fitting in—I’m sure it’s the same with many adopted teens going through these years of change. Teens are settling into their new environments, their new lifestyles, but adopted teens still have to face the fact that they were raised by someone other than their biological mother or father.
My brother finished off by saying: “I can’t say I’d be the same person today if I was raised by a different family.” For adopted teens, this is always the case. Perhaps, in the time of change that comes around High School, the family they are raised by shapes them in a better way than their biological parents would. There is really no way to know for certain. But adopted teens don’t have the choice to make the decision of who they are raised by, and this brings countless challenges for them along the way. Sure, regular teens face problems all throughout Junior High and High School. But adoption changes the lives of teens everywhere, in ways that normal teens couldn’t imagine.