For those who have experienced adoption in some way in their lives it is a tremendously personal and at times difficult issue to reconcile with oneself. For birthparents, adoptees, and for adoptive parents the issues and feelings that arise are varied and difficult to encapsulate within a simple theory or manner of dealing with these challenges.
The Adoption group at Logan River Academy focuses on the most salient issues associated with adoption including feelings of abandonment, issues with self esteem, knowing oneself more fully, options for finding more information on birth parents, feelings of anger and resentment toward birth parents as well as adoptive parents, behavioral problems associated with these feelings, and dealing effectively with the unique experience of each adopted child. The adoption group is comprised of students with varied adoption experiences and typically has anywhere from 7 to 14 students. Some of our students genuinely struggle with many issues that can be linked to some degree to their adoption, while others in the group have quite effectively dealt with the challenges associated with their adoption and can offer support and advice for those who are struggling.
One student in the group explained their issues as follows: “My adoption means a few things to me. It means that somebody loves me and cares about my future. It means that I have more opportunities in life now and that I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself.” Another student noted, “My adoption plays a big role in my life. Logan River Academy’s adoption group has taught me that I can still be a great and wonderful person despite my adoption. I identified feelings of abandonment and if it weren’t for the group and support I got I wouldn’t have been able to handle it as maturely as I do today. I want to pursue finding my birthparents and learn more about my adoption.” While each student’s experience and manner of dealing with their adoption is unique the group is an effective way for students to discuss in a safe and open forum their personal thoughts and feelings about their own adoption story.
Many of our students were adopted at birth and have little information about their birth parents, others were adopted later in life and experienced different forms of trauma associated with frequent moves in their early lives. Some have open adoptions and a great deal of information regarding their birth parents and may also have extensive contact with their birth parents via letters and calls while at LRA. It is these varied experiences that enable the students within the group to see different aspects of adoption and deal with their own feelings while strengthening and empathizing with others who are also struggling with the loss associated with their adoption.
In addition to sharing and discussing the individual adoption stories of the students in the group, we also focus on attachment styles and how being adopted has contributed to the different ways of interacting with others that the group members engage in. During the spring and summer months the adoption group also takes care of a small flower garden. The students choose their own plants which they are responsible to take care of throughout the year and students gain a great deal of satisfaction and personal growth from raising their own flowers and watching them grow and develop throughout the year.
Through the open discussion of our group member’s issues we strive to help our adopted students recognize their own blind spots resulting from adoption and other issues and live their lives in a manner that will help them be more successful as they move forward, grow and develop.