A non-profit adoptive family support center
Serving families, professionals and educators since 1998

Best Of


Developmental Stages

Printable version of timeline here


capable of abstract thinking

can make more moral judgements

sense of omnipotence “nothing is impossible”

introspective and philosophical

seeking independence

separation, individuation, and autonomy

focus on body image and physical identity

integration of race and ethnicity

identity formation: “Who am I?” and “Who am I in relationship to other people?”

peer relationships intensify, social life dominates

relations become more intimate

need to “conform”

sexual experimentation may begin

rebellious against authority figures

yearn for connection to genetic past

idealizing birth parents

loss of birth parents extends to loss of a part of one’s self

may try on traits of birth parents in process of self-definition

seek to “rework” adoption story

awareness of not fitting in physically with family

identity formation: challenge “Who am I?” — must figure out who they are in relation to adoption

differentiation is complicated by one set of parents being unknown

new curiosity about origins

consider possibility of searching for birth parents

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4000 Blackburn Lane, Suite 260, Burtonsville, MD 20866
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