Ambivalence

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ambivalence

The existence of two conflicting desires. When children over age 10 are offered an opportunity to be adopted, they often experience ambivalent feelings, for example, the desire to be loved in an adoptive home versus the fear of leaving the familiar foster home or group home.

The wishes of older children are almost always taken into account when an adoptive placement is considered, and many daylong or weekend visits may occur before the child feels ready to make a change and ultimately be adopted.

When sibling groups are involved, some siblings may wish to be adopted while others do not, causing feelings of ambivalence among all the children. A sibling who wants to be adopted may feel guilty about leaving behind the child who is unready or unwilling to be adopted, and conversely, a sibling who does not wish to be adopted may believe she or he is holding back the other children.

In addition, being adopted may signify to an older child a painful renouncement of the birthparents. Even though a child may have been abused severely enough for the state to have terminated parental rights, he or she may fear the final severing of psychological ties to the birthparents.

Trained social workers understand the ambivalence felt by older children who are to be adopted and can assist both foster parents and adopting parents with suggestions to ease the transition.

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