Awkward. Lonely. Confused.
These are emotions every teenager feels at some point in their lives. For adopted teens, complex or painful feelings may be more prevalent as they attempt to form their identities.
Every teenager tries to find their “tribe,” or somewhere they belong. A new online community from Adoption Learning Partners entitled The BEAT (Beginning to Explore Adoption Together), can help bring adopted teens together to create a community in which they can share experiences particular to being adopted and truly be themselves.
“The BEAT provides adopted teens with a place to see what others are talking about or have articulated in some form,” said Adoption Therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW. “Belonging comes from conversations with other people like them - it makes them feel not so atypical.”
The BEAT is a safe space for adopted teens to sort through their emotions through the lens of adoption, and to choose how they want to interact with the topic. It allows kids to talk about the joys AND challenges of being adopted, and embraces the complexity of forming a healthy identity.
It also provides an avenue for adopted teens to bounce ideas off of each other on how to best articulate their feelings about adoption, and how to handle obstacles life may throw at them. Instead of struggling to find the words on their own, The BEAT gives adopted teens a chance to see how others have put their questions and concerns into words or images. If they aren’t ready to share their own feelings and thoughts, it can be a place to just listen and observe as others interact.
“The BEAT gives these feelings a voice,” Judy said. “When someone else says something that you have been feeling but are unable to articulate, it gives you a starting place.”
To that end, the BEAT is a great tool for parents to recommend to their kids. While most adoption resources are tailored either to adoptive parents or birth parents, The BEAT offers solely an adopted teen-focused view. The site is tailored to their experience, to make of it what they want and need.
“As teens, adopted people may want to have a conversation, but maybe not with their parents,” Judy explained. “The BEAT offers a climate where it’s okay to talk about adoption without worrying about hurting their adoptive family’s feelings, or begin a conversation before they know exactly what they want to say.”
Encourage your teen to check out The BEAT to discover, connect and share their voice!