adoptive parents will start to panic when they realize that their adopted child is creating
wild birth parent fantasies. They may discuss it openly with everyone
they meet. They may avoid the topic with the adoptive family, but assure
friends and neighbors of their “true” story. They may even
keep it to themselves, but make it clear in art and/or writing projects.
If your adopted child is creating a fantasy family or fantasy birthparent
story, don’t worry – it’s a normal thing for
adopted children to do.
The most typical age for an adopted child to indulge in a birthparent fantasy
is around six or seven. They are becoming capable of more complex thinking
and understanding more about what adoption actually means. This will often
leave them with new and potentially alarming fears or fantasies. In fact,
a large portion of ALL children have daydreams about a “different”
family or “different” parents who are rich, don’t enforce
bedtimes, allow their children to watch TV whenever they want, and never
resort to grounding. The difference in the case of an adopted child is
that there is actually a set of birthparents out there – so they
are attaching their fantasies to something potentially tangible.
When children become a bit older (8-10 years old), they generally have
enough biological facts to figure out that their birthparents are actual
people; that they are out there in the world somewhere. This leads to
an increased awareness on the part of the adopted child and can lead to
new questions about who their birth parents are and why they were placed
with an adoptive family. They may turn to their “fantasy”
with the new realization that with a few changes in their history, they
could be leading an entirely different life altogether.
The realization that comes with further understanding of their own history
and the adoption process can lead to a variety of emotions. Your adopted
child may be left feeling disappointment, confusion, anger, sadness, or
even guilt. They may not express these emotions to you, especially at
younger ages, so the fantasy birthparent or family can actually serve
as a helpful sign for adoptive parents. When your adopted child turns
to a fantasy birthparent scenario, it is probably time for you to take
some extra time and help them work through their story.
If you have questions about how to handle common adoption issues or if
you need assistance navigating the
Arizona adoption process, please get in touch with one of the adoption lawyers at Arizona Family