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What To Do If Your Adopted Child Creates a Fantasy Family

What To Do If Your Adopted Child Creates a Fantasy Family

Many 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 Law Attorneys.

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