Adopting a Child That Has Been Sexually Abused

Children adopted from foster care or international adoption may be been sexually abused. What should parents consider and how can they best parent a child that has been sexually abused to help the child heal and learn to trust again? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Dr. Joshua Sparrow, child/adolescent psychiatrist, associate clinical professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of Strategy, Planning and Program Development at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital Boston, and syndicated columnist for the New York Times.

Hit the Highlights
  • How is sexual abuse defined?
  • What are the symptoms of a child was has been sexually abused?
  • Does it matter how old the child was when the abuse occurred?
  • Does it matter who sexually abused the child?
  • What determines the severity of the impact and symptoms of sexual abuse in adopted children?
  • How can adoptive parents help their child heal from sexual abuse?
  • Do parents need to know the details of the sexual abuse to help their children heal and attach and bond?
  • Should you adopt a child that has been sexually abused if you have other children living in your home?
  • How do you protect the siblings when one child is acting out sexually?
  • How do children react to abuse when they are later adopted?
  • How can adopted parents make their home a safe place for children who have been sexually bused.
  • What type of touch and hugging is appropriate with a child who has been abused?
  • Should a family continue to homeschool a child who is recovering from sexual abuse prior to adoption?
  • What type of therapy is most effective for sexual abuse victims and their families?
  • Sleep overs and overnight camps?
  • Who should you tell that your newly adopted child has been sexually abused?

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Image Credit: Mark Lee

Show originally aired in 2011.