Warren, NJ, October 19, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- “Something extraordinary happens when adoptees connect with one another, an unspoken bond, a sense of belonging” said adoptee and author Sherrie Eldridge. And that connection and belonging can be missing in the life of an adopted teen. The teen years often leave adolescents feeling overwhelmed by the physical and emotional changes they are going through. At the same time, there is the pressure to fit in, to do well in school and to excel in outside activities. Add to this mix the adoptee layer of wondering who you are and the teen years can be a challenge for any young adult to navigate.
“There seems to be a great void in the area of adoption resources for teens. Honestly, I can recall no resources at all when I was young. At the time, it seemed like I was the only kid in the world who was adopted.” Marni Denenberg, an adoptee and adoption professional has been looking for resources to help empower teenagers during this challenging stage in their development. “There are some resources available today, but certainly not enough,” she added.
The teenage years are a time of transition from childhood into adulthood. Teens are balancing a strong desire to be independent with the comfort of depending on their parents. They are experimenting with different values, new ideas, unique hairstyles and clothing as they try to define who they are. But how do you try on a different ethnicity, unknown or little known heritage, feelings of loss, being different and totally not understood? Teens need mentors who have experienced similar thoughts and feelings. Mentors who understand what it is like to put on one face for everyone and a different one for yourself. Mentors who can help you with a toolbox for navigating the tough stuff…not giving you pat answers that really aren’t one size fits all.
With the proliferation of ways to connect through Facebook and My Space, chat rooms and forums, cell phones and texting, adopted teens are becoming more isolated, not less. It’s harder to stand out as being different in a culture that is not celebrating much uniqueness. The difference that is adoption can sadly turn a teen into a target. "Being a teenager is tough. It’s even harder if you're adopted. It can be lonely and hard to figure out,” says Bert Ballard, PhD, transracial adoptee from Vietnam and editor of an upcoming book for adopted teens from EMK Press.
While many teenagers have made public virtually everything about themselves, many adoptees turn inward when navigating the hard truths and challenging emotions that lie at the core of the adoption experience. Most of an adolescent’s networks are devoid of other adoptees, and of people who have a shared experience in forming an identity. “That's why we need a book. Hardcover. I know I needed something to throw at my wall!” continued Dr. Ballard. “Seriously, we need to help teens find a connection with others on a similar path with similar challenges. This submission based book will be filled with stories of support and understanding: the good, the bad and the ugly. I need to know I'm not alone. I need to know that I can do this in my own way. And I need to know that these thoughts are normal and common."
To be a part of this groundbreaking work for teens, visit the special page at the EMK Press website set up to receive submissions. http://www.emkpress.com/teenbook. This project has a publication date of August 2009 and it will become a much needed resource for adopted teens as they make their way in the world.