Adoption counseling can help with the unique adjustments, adoption requires of adoptive parents and their kids. Adoption is a wonderful option for many families – but it can also be difficult, involving the full range of emotions.
For some adoptive parents, the decision to adopt follows a lengthy and emotionally devastating battle with infertility. For birth mothers, the grieving process can be a lifelong battle of letting go. And for adoptees, the perceived abandonment of being “given up” for adoption can sting well into adulthood—despite the depth of genuine affection that adoptees feel for their adoptive parents.
While the adoption process is tinged with grief, the sense of loss shouldn’t overshadow the hope that adoption brings to many families.
Approximately 130,000 children are adopted in the United States each year, delivering unconditional love to many children who previously resided in unstable home environments, the foster care system, or foreign nations.
Unfortunately, conquering the red tape of the adoption paperwork is merely one of many preliminary challenges that adoptive parents and their adoptees will face. From tackling problematic behaviors at home or school, to instilling a lifelong sense of belonging in your child, our Lifeologie team understands that family connectedness isn’t an automatic—but rather—a gradual journey, upon which your family embarks the moment that you say “I do” to the adoption process.
Here are 7 issues that are commonly explored by adoptive parents, adopted children, and their birth-mothers during the pre- and post- adoption process.
Discussing the possibility of adoption with your partner, or exploring the legal parameters of a single parent adoption; selecting an adoption agency (whether public, private, domestic, or international) or an adoption attorney; prepping for home studies and acing the high-pressure paperwork; finding your way to your child; bracing to become a first-time parent or preparing your biological children for a new brother or sister.
Making the decision to place your biological child for adoption; having your child removed from your custody by Child Protective Services; confronting grief or regret; deciding the degree of “openness” for your child’s adoption; meeting with your biological child for the first time and forging a healthy, on-going relationship.
Resulting from increased exposure to abuse/neglect, adopted children also experience elevated incidences of certain behavioral difficulties. Common attachment and behavioral issues addressed in therapy include:
Lack of interest or failure to form a healthy attachment to adoptive caretakers; usually results from neglect in early infancy.
(children/adolescents): Age-inappropriate anger, rule-breaking, swearing, or flouting of authority.
(children/adolescents/teens): Juvenile delinquency; Patterns of violent or cruel behavior (e.g. torturing animals, bullying, inciting fights, rape), truancy, substance use, shoplifting, vandalism, running away, etc.
Assisting your child to explore his or her biological roots; Ensuring your child that his or her interest in birth parents and birth circumstances isn’t a betrayal of your love; Overcoming related sensations of rejection, abandonment, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem in adoptive children; Enabling your child to succeed socially and bracing your child to confront bullying or uncomfortable questions about being adopted.
Children who “age” out of the foster system at 18 are more likely to experience adverse outcomes in adulthood, including incarceration, homelessness, unemployment, substance use, or assault. Similarly, children who linger in the system until adolescence or more likely to encounter unfavorable outcomes than children who are adopted at a younger age. Beat the odds for your child or yourself (for former foster kids older than 18) and cope with the added layer of rejection that comes along with aging out or being an older adoptee.
By now, you’ve probably guessed it: Adoption is one of the most complex therapy topics that any family or individual can tackle. Luckily, you don’t have to solve all of the intricate problems that birth-mothers, adoptive parents, or adoptees encounter on your own. Our counselors are here to smooth out your journey.
Your therapist may recommend: