Grief and Loss

When a child enters the adoptive home, they come with a tremendous amount of grief and loss. Losses that include birth parents, extended family, home, pets, neighborhoods, schools, friends, treasured belongings, and in some cases culture. Adults often have the words to describe losses in their lives and can communicate to others. Children don’t have those words so they express loss using behaviors. Examples of possible reactions of grieving children include anger, sadness, hyperactivity, changes in appetite, hoarding food, inappropriate emotional response, headaches, and difficulty making decisions, regressive behaviors, and clinginess. Because children (and adults) understand things differently at every developmental stage, grief and loss continues to be felt by the child as they grow into adulthood. Part of being an adoptive family is to understand and help the child work through loss issues throughout their lives. 

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