What is an adopted cousin? (Adoptive families)

In this article, we answer the following question: What is an adopted cousin? We speak about the differences between adopted and biological children and whether you should tell a child he/she is adopted.

What is an adopted cousin?

An adopted cousin is a child that your aunt or uncle adopted to their family. Your relationship with your adopted cousin should not be any different than with your other biological cousins, as long as you consider him/her part of your family.

Some also wonder whether I can marry my adopted cousin or not?

Biological family and adoptive family

According to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of the basic rights of every boy or girl is to have a family. When the biological family cannot provide them with the care necessary to live and develop in their womb, they can be given up for adoption, so that this care is then provided by an adoptive family.

Adoption is about seeking the best interests of the minor, providing him/her with a family. It is not a matter of solving the desire or need of adults to be fathers or mothers, although they will also benefit, fulfilling their yearning for fatherhood or motherhood.

Therefore, we are faced with a triad: minors, biological parents and adoptive parents. Or to put it another way, we have children and two families, the biological and the adoptive. The proper development of the internal dynamics of the adoptive family will depend to a large extent on the understanding of this reality and the feelings it provokes.

And the reality is that for that family to be able to form, the biological mother has had to give up that child, which, most of the time, occurs due to multiple factors, which can range from economic reasons to inability to assume their role as a mother, emotional immaturity, lack of support from the father of the child or family, the situation in which conception occurred (by force or through an intimate relationship with a family member), or for cultural reasons, in societies where the birth of males prevails.

Under these circumstances, pregnancy can provoke ambivalent feelings of love and rejection in the mother, which the baby in the womb will perceive and that will affect her emotionally in her future life. On the other hand, the feeling of loss generally produces mourning that will accompany mothers who have to give their children, throughout their lives.

Many times they are women who have preferred to preserve the lives of their children and give them up for adoption, seeking a better life for themselves, instead of taking the option of abortion.

On the other hand, a significant percentage of adoptive families make the decision to adopt after vain efforts to have biological children, which has given them emotional exhaustion as an individual and as a couple. Feelings of anger, helplessness, etc. that causes the renunciation of the biological child, they must have an adequate elaboration, through mourning for the child that they will not be able to have, and thus allow the advent of a new dream child, the adopted one.

On the other hand, the child placed for adoption may present some characteristics that derive from the psychosocial problems of their pregnancy: ingestion by the mother of alcohol, drugs, effects of tobacco consumption, malnutrition, the emotional state of the mother (depression, anxiety, stress), which can influence the development of the fetus, both physically and emotionally. 

Furthermore, separation from the mother is always a traumatic experience, which will require its corresponding elaboration, through mourning.

What biological and adoptive families do have in common is that they all aim at the physical and emotional well-being of each of their members. They also share the quality of the bond, the feeling of belonging, and the fulfilment of roles, which can be as valid and profound in adoptive families as in biological ones.

Should you tell a child he/she is adopted?

Although, the social perception of adoption has changed, from being an invisible phenomenon, which was not discussed, to being a socially visible and fully accepted phenomenon, however, it is not uncommon to find today families that still keep it a secret.

Many of these families say that they do not inform their children about their origin “so as not to make them suffer”, since being an adoptive family is the same as a biological one, and they consider adoption to be a traumatic event. What is true is that adoption is a restorative fact of another traumatic event, which is abandonment.

In many of these cases, in general, they are fathers and mothers who have not assumed the pain caused by the impossibility of conceiving and try to avoid the suffering that acceptance means.

In these cases, the argument would be: If adoptive parenting is equivalent to biological parenting, why not talk about it? In reality, this approach, which tries to match, basically what it does is precisely the opposite, to reinforce that blood ties are stronger than adoptive ones.

What usually happens is that when the children find out, and sooner or later they do, they tend to react with anger and fury, accompanied by the humiliation of feeling betrayed. 

They may also feel that they have an outstanding debt with the biological parents for the abandonment suffered and with the adoptive parents for what they have hidden from their history. For these reasons, lying about the origin is one of the causes of failure in adoptive families.

We also find families that, even acknowledging that the children are adopted and have no problem informing them about it, maintain the position that there is no difference between biological and adoptive parenting as if the differences were negative. They may confuse difference with discrimination, but while discrimination is limiting, the difference is enriching.

To treat everyone equally, it may be wrong to deny adults two different experiences of fatherhood/motherhood, and children two very different realities, which if they do not take into account what they cause is precisely what it is intended to avoid, discrimination.

Because, although the adoptive family is as valid and as good as the biological one, it is constituted differently, because it does so on two losses, that of the original and real abandonment in the child, with the consequent institutionalization, and that of the renounces biological parenting in adults, in case of infertility or single parenthood, and this means that the family system, as a whole, must face a series of stressors.

The adoptive family shares many experiences with the other forms of family life that we find in the 21st century, but it is built from a different corporal, mental and affective space and that are their own. 

Therefore, it has tasks, processes and difficulties that the others are completely unaware of, such as the formalities and procedures to achieve suitability, the damages and consequences caused by the history of abandonment, the revelation of the status of the adoptee, etc. The same is true of other ways of accessing parenthood, such as artificial insemination. Each one has its peculiarities and its own experiences, without any of them being considered to the detriment of the others.

Being an adoptive family was not the same as being a biological family and that what made a successful adoption was not that it seemed like a biological family, but that the adoption most successful was the one in which the family was aware that they would have to face differences for which they may not have all the answers, or with which they never thought they would have to face, but who were willing to work to be able to respond to these needs.

Because being a father or a mother, adoptive or biological, in short, is that, to provide the sons or daughters with the most complete and happy development possible.

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Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: What is an adopted cousin? We spoke about the differences between adopted and biological children and whether you should tell a child he/she is adopted.

An adopted cousin is a child that your aunt or uncle adopted to their family. Adoption is about seeking the best interests of the minor, providing him/her with a family. It is not a matter of solving the desire or need of adults to be fathers or mothers, although they will also benefit, fulfilling their yearning for fatherhood or motherhood.

If you have any questions or comments on this subject, please let us know.

FAQ on What is an adopted cousin?

What do you call someone who is adopted?

There is no special word to call someone who is adopted. You can call them your son/daughter, cousin, granddaughter – depending on the relationships that you have. Those who have adopted a child are called adoptive parents, foster parents or guardians. 

What is an adopted family definition?

An adoptive family is usually a couple who legally adopted a child as their own. What biological and adoptive families do have in common is that they all aim at the physical and emotional well-being of each of their members. They also share the quality of the bond, the feeling of belonging, and the fulfilment of roles, which can be as valid and profound in adoptive families as in biological ones.

Are adoptive parents real parents?

Adoptive parents are real parents. They can offer the child unconditional love and support just like a biological parent can do.

Can you love an adopted child?

Yes, it is possible to love an adopted child just as much as you can love your biological child. You can build a strong bond and overcome any difficulties with great patience and love. 

Is it better to tell a child they are adopted?

Yes, it is better to tell a child they are adopted. Sooner or later your child will find out and when they do, children tend to react with anger and fury, accompanied by the humiliation of feeling betrayed. 

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

Creatingafamily.org 

Adoptuskids.org

Parents.com

Tusla adoption process

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