Every parent has times in childrearing when they ask, “What is wrong with my child?!” Whether your child is adopted or came to you biologically, there will be surprises and challenges through the years. Unless a child is diagnosed with an inherited disorder (whether it’s inherited through DNA or through fetal trauma such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) it’s difficult to know if the problems came about because of the adoption situation.

That being said, when there are challenges with a child, finding the source is helpful in determining the best strategy for helping your child. A pediatrician or psychologist is a good place to start. Remember, that if there is not a clear diagnosis, there are some ambiguous causes that you might consider.

In Addie Mietus’ article, 3 Facts You Need to Know About Fetal Trauma in Adoption, she says, “The environment surrounding a woman’s pregnancy can impact her unborn baby.” Addie cites sources that suggest that detachment from the birth mother, contention and stress outside of the womb, and inherited trauma may not be easy to diagnose, but are very real, indeed. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that separation from a birth parents can create attachment disorders in varying degrees.

But talk with a parent of all biological children and chances are that he/she will tell you of the confusion surrounding what is going on with their children. Where did he get his ADHD? Why can’t she sleep at night? Why does her anger get out of control even without provocation? And more. So many issues are just a result of being mortal. Sometimes environment plays a role; sometimes it’s “just the way he is.” So why concern ourselves over the question of whether or not our children’s challenges are adoption related?

In an article on GriefSpeaks.com, Dr. Marshall D. Schechter and Dr. David M. Brodzinsky are quoted: “The loss for the adoptee is unlike other losses we have come to expect in a lifetime, such as death and divorce. Adoption is more pervasive, less socially recognized, and more profound.” The article suggests that recognizing issues may have their root in adoption will allow parents to be more sensitive to the type of help that is needed.

The bottom line is that parents want to help their children to feel secure, feel loved, and be successful. Exploring all options when considering how best to deal with challenging behavior will not only help us find the best strategy, but will also help us, as parents, to be at peace—knowing we’ve done all we can.