Interview Questions to Find an Adoption Therapist

As parents we want to take care of our kids’ physical health and their emotional health. Heck, it’s our job to do this. Sometimes our kids need extra help in coping with the things life has thrown at them. If they are adopted, some of these “things” may be adoption related, so it is important when looking for a therapist to find one with knowledge of adoption issues and how they may affect an adopted child, teen, or adult.

But how in the world are we suppose to find an adoption competent therapist? We discussed specific ways to find a therapist that is knowledgeable about adoption in this past week’s Creating a Family show where I interviewed Debbie Riley, an adoption therapist, CEO of the Center for Adoption Support and Education, and co-author of the book Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens.




Debbie strongly encourages parents to interview the therapist before you consult with them. Check out this list of questions to ask.

Questions to Ask a Therapist for Your Adopted Child

  1. What experience have you had with adoption or adoption issues?
  2. How often do you work with adoptive families? What percentage of your practice is with adopted kids or families?
  3. What types of adoption have you worked with? Domestic infant? Foster care? International? Transracial? Older child? Open adoption?
  4. How does trauma impact a child’s development?
  5. Have you had much experience with children my child’s age?
  6. What age child do you prefer to work with?
  7. Have you had extra training that is specific to adoption?
  8. How do you work with adoptive families?
  9. How do you keep parents updated on the child’s progress?
  10. What specific approaches have you found that works to help children cope with adoption or trauma-related issues?
  11. Have you had experience with post institutionalized children? Children who have experienced sexual abuse?
  12. Will you collaborate with the school? Are you available to attend school meetings if your presence will help the child receive services?

General (non-adoption specific) Questions

  1. Are you in practice by yourself or in a group?
  2. Who covers for you when you are away?
  3. Do you have office hours after school?
  4. Is your location convenient?
  5. Do you have a working relationship with a child psychiatrist in case psychotropic medications are needed?