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Overseas Adoptees May Have Health Problems

Higher Rate of Depression, Suicide, Substance Abuse


"When I was adopted, the prevailing belief was that children needed to become acclimated and Americanized as quickly as possible so that they would fit in," she says. "We now know, after a couple of generations, that children become acclimated almost by osmosis. A more difficult challenge is to keep them connected to the country and cultural heritage of their birth to give them a clear sense of identify. We are much better at doing that now."

Holt and many other international adoption agencies now hold regular reunions and camps designed to educate children about the culture and heritage of their birth country. And many parents now embrace their children's birth culture instead of ignoring it.

Martha Osborne runs the international adoption Internet site and is the mother of five children, aged 3-12, adopted from China and Korea. She says there is a certain amount of angst among many of the adult adoptees who take part in web discussion groups. But many also say they wrongly blamed being adopted for normal problems of adolescence.

"As an adoptee and an adoptive mom I can tell you that kids are going to have some issues. There is always a certain amount of unhappiness that goes along with the joy and happiness. The best that parents can do is be the steady force."

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