Adolescence, the period of physical and psychological development that transitions humans from puberty into maturity, roughly the ages of eleven through nineteen, a word and time laden with emotional memories for many of us.
Often adolescence was the hallmark of being uncomfortable “in our skin” as hormones started to riot and our bodies and emotions began to respond. During the metamorphosis some body parts ached and others tingled. Thought processes began to respond to the hormones as well. Many of us struggled with internal questions of belonging to and being accepted by our peers—being popular, sex, opportunities to experiment with what was considered “cool”—and were unsure of how to deal with the decisions we faced.
During adolescence we began to look different and feel different. The process of figuring out who we were, who we wanted to be, and what values we would embrace had begun. And on top of it, many of us didn’t want to speak to our parents because, gosh, what did they know? They couldn’t possibly understand, right? (Hasn’t your tween or teen said something like this to you?)
Do you remember this period in your life? We’ve all experienced it in some shape or form. For many of us it was fraught with being uncomfortable and feeling isolated.
Now revisit your adolescence again and add the layer of adoption. If you parent transracially, add that layer. Adoption and having been adopted transracially can add to or magnify the already significant aspects of adolescence.
Parents: How do you support your child in this important transitional stage? Have you set the tone by being open and honest about adoption? Have you encouraged and given your child permission to ask questions and to express their emotions about having been adopted and the adoption issues that they may possibly be dealing with?