Posted by Deb Shrier

What is it about adolescence that makes it such a challenging time? Most adults, when reflecting back on their teen years, agree they'd prefer to skip over that time in their lives. The stress of social issues, peer pressure, identity, and developing a healthy separation from parents are all thrown into the mix – and all at the same time. Add academics, hormonal and mood changes, emerging sexuality, depression, and greater use of drugs/alcohol, the teen years can prove to be one of the most difficult periods for a young adult.

For teens who joined their families through adoption, there are some added challenges. Thoughts regarding birth family. Concern about life after high school. Transitions. Saying good-bye. Relationships. Identity. Increased racial awareness. Some of the adopted teens I've worked with have shared that the greatest conflicts faced during adolescence centers on two questions: "Who am I?" and "Where do I belong?"

These two questions are not necessarily unique to adopted persons – most individuals struggle with the same thoughts during this time. The difference for those who were adopted into their family stems from the fact that there may be unknown answers to some of the questions. Adoptive parents may face the challenge of dealing with their child's frustration regarding this lack of information. This is also a period during which parents often need some outside counseling or support.

On Wednesday evening, June 1, JF&CS Adoption Resources will present a post-adoption workshop entitled Surviving Adolescence: Parenting Your Adopted Teen... Answering the Questions All Parents Have. The featured speaker, Jeff LaCure, LICSW, PsyD, will address questions from adoptive parents about supporting their children during the teen years. Jeff is a clinical social worker and psychologist who has worked in the world of adoption for more than 20 years. He is a nationally recognized adoption educator, author, and clinician who has authored Adopted Like Me, Remembering: Reflections of Growing Up Adopted, Raising Our Children's Children, and the soon to be published Answers to the Questions All Adoptive Parents Have. Jeff specializes in working with couples, families, and all members of the adoption triad. The workshop will be held at JF&CS Headquarters, 1430 Main Street, Waltham from 7-8:30 p.m. The fee is $10.

Questions? Please contact Deb Shrier at or 781-647-JFCS (5327) ext. 1386.

Deb Shrier, LICSW, is director of JF&CS Post-Adoption Services. Actively involved in the field of adoption both professionally and personally over the last 20 years, Deb's clinical interests include domestic/international adoption, transracial adoption, parenting issues, and search/reunion with birth parents and adopted persons. She has also provided clinical support to adoptive families on birth country tours that include the Philippines, Romania, Guatemala, and Russia. Deb enjoys writing and has contributed to various adoption related publications as well as the JF&CS blog.