Adoption is a mix of both gains and losses. Some adoptees feel the loss acutely while other do not. Some adoptees also carry the scars and hurt from pre-adoption abuse and neglect. Some struggle to attach to their new parents, and some parents struggle to attach to their new children.
Help is available. Therapists trained in adoption issues can work with children and with families to help smooth out the bumps that sometimes accompany adoption.
- Contact your adoption agency or home study provider and ask for recommendations.
- Contact the local child welfare agency in your county and ask who they recommend. These governmental agencies go by different names in different states (Department of Social Services, Department for Children and Families, etc.)
- The Center for Adoption Support and Education has a training program for mental health professionals who work with adoptive families and adoptees. They list graduates of their program on their website.
- The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU provides training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. They maintain a list of therapist that have received their training.
- Trauma-informed therapy is also often effective with adopted children. Do a google search for a therapist near you that specializes in trauma and works with children.
- The Child Welfare Information Gateways has an excellent guide to finding and working with an adoption therapist. It covers different types of therapy and also has tips for selecting a therapist.
- A Guide to Selecting An Adoption or Foster Therapist. A thorough list of questions to ask prospective therapists.
- One of the questions you should ask when interviewing a therapist is how they incorporate the parent into the therapy. Carol Lozier, LCSW shared this great list of 10 reasons why a therapist should incorporate parents into a child’s session.
Creating a Family has many resources on finding an adoption therapist. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:
- Tips for Finding an Adoption-Competent Therapist (blog post)
- Talking About Adoption at Different Ages and Developmental Stages (1 hr. radio show w/ expert)
- Parenting Abused and Neglected Kids (1 hr. radio show w/ expert)
- Transitioning Home: The First Months Post Adoption (1 hr. radio show w/ experts)
More Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on adoption therapy can be found at the icons below
Image credit: Matas Petrikas