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Helping Adopted Children Cope with Grief and Loss [downloadable]

Loss is a central theme to adoption, and it is experienced by all constellation members. Losses must be acknowledged, validated, and grieved in order to heal and move forward. If losses are not grieved, the ongoing hurt and pain will negatively impact one’s ability to function and form healthy attachments. Children grieve differently than adults, so it is important for adoptive parents to understand and identify how loss and grief manifest developmentally, behaviorally, and emotionally and learn strategies for helping children heal. The following are among the resources published on Child Welfare Information Gateway website to help children and families identify their losses and focus on building a secure attachment that will help both heal.

Grief and Loss Resources

API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
Attachment Parenting International (2019)
Assists parents with how to better understand child development, how to identify their children’s needs, and how to better to respond to their children with respect and empathy to ultimately become more conscious of and attuned to their needs.

The Teen Years: Brain Development and Trauma Recovery
Libertin (2019)
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Guides parents and caregivers in developing parenting strategies that prioritize family connection and establish trust.

Children and Adoption: The School Age Years (6–11)
Singer (2016)
Center for Adoption Support and Education
Describes grief as a normal adaptive response in school-age children processing adoption.

Helping Adopted Children Cope With Grief and Loss
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (2019)
Adoption Triad, February
Provides information and resources on the emotions experienced as a result of grief and loss and how to recognize and navigate through those feelings.

Creating a Secure Attachment in an Adopted Child
The Attached Family
Outlines the attachment process and examples of how families cope with a child struggling from an attachment disorder. The article also provides principals of adoptive parenting as well as parenting solutions for helping children who misbehave as a result of an attachment disorder.

Understanding Ambiguous Loss
Fosterparentcollege.com (2016)
Defines ambiguous loss and examines the reasons why children may experience unresolved grief following adoption and suggests ways that parents can help children throughout their processing.

View the full list of resources on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

Source: Children’s Bureau | Helping Adopted Children Cope With Grief and Loss, https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/adopt-parenting/helping | public domain

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