“Adoptee” is an understandably convenient label, but it is time for the correct term to become “adopted person.”
The vast majority of adopted people, who are in the hundreds of thousands- if not millions– are adolescents and adults, not children.
Being adopted often has its fullest impact in adolescence and young adulthood, not in childhood. This has particular relevance for practitioners in college mental health.
Psychotherapists cannot dismiss adoptive status as something that happened in the patient’s past. Rather, regardless of the treatment venue (private practice or other out-patient, residential treatment, in-patient care, including brief or acute care) adequatecare of the adopted patient requires therapists to be cognizant of, and work with, adoption-specific factors and dynamics in the patient’s current life; these special needs distinguish them from the non-adopted patients, and this distinction needs to be recognized and reflected in the treatment process.