Combating the Effects of Adoption in Adult Life
Whether your child spent nearly all of his life in your home or a relatively short time, he will continue to deal with the adoption all of his adult life. If he has been unable to find his birth parents, that lack of knowledge may always bother him. If he was removed from an abusive home, he may have emotional issues he is still dealing with. Your role is to support him, love him, and take his feelings seriously, yet refuse to let him randomly play the adoption card for sympathy.
Everybody's life includes lots of unfortunate experiences, but dwelling on negativity merely reinforces negative feelings and raises destructive chemicals in the brain. Conversely, focusing on positive feelings reinforces those feelings and produces endorphins that reduce blood pressure and promote tranquility. Recall the good times and silly things that have happened.
Frame painful or hurtful episodes as positively as possible for your child. You've probably been doing this for many years when it comes to the adoption. You can also do this about events that have happened in your own family. Instead of allowing your child to go off into the world feeling guilt or sorrow about them, reframe them so that you both understand and forgive what happened. If your child ran away from home, reframe this so that in retrospect it becomes an event that helped you understand each other more, rather than some awful mistake he made that hurt everyone.
Many children who have been adopted carry a fear of loss throughout their whole life. Even if your child was not old enough to remember the adoption, it is still a fact he has learned about and lived with. Some adult adoptees find it hard to develop close relationships because they harbor a fear that the person they love will eventually leave them, just as the birth parents did.
If you gave your child a loving, safe home, you have done your part. When he is an adult, it is up to him to find a way to work through these feelings if they are a problem. You can suggest a therapist, be available to talk, and reassure him of your love and support, but as an adult, he must take the reins and find his way through it.