Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

How Divorce Affects Adopted Children

Impact of Divorce on Adopted Children

Many adopted children find themselves dealing with attachment issues, sometimes borne of lingering feelings of abandonment towards their birth parents. When they are placed with their adoptive family and that adoption is finalized, a new foundation of trust and attachment can begin. Unfortunately, when parents decide divorce is their only option, that choice can threaten to shatter their child’s belief in their familial bond. However, parenting does not end in divorce, even when if a marriage does.

Who Can Marry and Divorce

Everyone in the United States has the right to marry. Because of this right, LGBT adoptions have risen exponentially in the recent years, allowing all couples to start a family and providing more children with a loving home. The divorce rate has fallen in the last eighteen years, meaning more couples are succeeding at their marriages. But if a spouse does choose to file for divorce, things can quickly get complicated.

Angry spouses can often cite nasty reasons for a marriage’s demise and point fingers at their partner. Some may even ask a child to choose one person over the other, leading to a parenting nightmare. But what legal rights does an adoptive parent have during a divorce?


When the adoption process is finalized, adoptive parents and have equal legal rights to their children. These legalities include choices in education, health, and religion to name a few. The court will decide custody, living arrangements, and visiting time, but it is important for children to understand that their parent is severing legal rights with the other adult, not with the child. Two parents working together, despite their differences, can continue to love, support, and nurture their children, no matter where the kids will reside.

The Emotional Effect of Divorce on Children

All children can experience feelings of grief, anger, fear, and confusion when their parents file for divorce. But do adopted children feel divorce differently than other children?

Experts say that for many adopted children, repressed feelings of abandonment can resurface. As a parent of an adopted child, reassurance can go a long way to ease this turmoil. Parents can strive to be open and honest about their plans to continue their full love and support for their child. Both parents chose to legally commit to caring for their chosen child for life. Explain and reassure that divorce will not change that.

Unbreakable Love

Both adoptive parents will retain legal rights to their children, regardless of a broken marriage. Together, two parents can continue to be active and loving participants in their adopted child’s life. Professional counseling with an adoption-competent therapist can be a great tool throughout the entire process. Open communication, reassurance, and love can help ease your adopted child through the divorce process and provide them with the stability they need to stand solidly during a tumultuous time.

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