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“You’re so lucky.” These three simple words have been heard repeatedly by almost every adoptee. While adoption is often the best solution available to a challenging problem, these words fail to address the emotional difficulties adoptees may experience, including conscious and unconscious feelings of loss, shame, and abandonment. Without help from a mental health professional, these difficulties may impede healthy psychological development (Verrier, 1993).
In 2008, 17,438 children were adopted internationally by American parents, according to data from the U.S. Department of State. Parents who choose to bring a child into their family through international adoption experience far-reaching impacts, because they must both negotiate the usual tasks of parenting while also meeting the specific cultural and social challenges presented by adoption.