Process-Oriented + Supportive
Are you a potential adoptive parent wondering if you should adopt a child? Are you curious about the effects of adoption on child development? Are you frightened by the possibility of adopted child psychological problems?
Has your child been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and you need help making sense of it? Is your child struggling to accept your care and you need support in navigating your own feelings?
For all my adoptive parents out there (or potential ones), my warmest respect to your adoption journey, no matter what stage you're in. If you're still considering, I am glad to meet with you and help you prepare. If you are currently struggling with an adoptive child, I salute your humility in seeking help and your dedication to their well-being and your own.
Adoption Issues Happen
Adopting a child can come with all sorts of surprises: many wonderful, and some extremely challenging. Whether or not you knew your child might struggle with issues related to connection, emotional regulation, or focus in school when you adopted, you most likely know that something is amiss now.
This may leave you with specific questions about why your child is behaving a certain way. Maybe you have tried many things and have not gotten the results you were hoping for. Perhaps your child’s challenges are wrenching your heart, or activating your own unhealthy relationship responses. None of these possibilities would come as a surprise to those who specialize in adoption.
Adoption as Developmental Trauma
In my adoptive parent counseling, I like to first highlight the fact that your child has been through a challenging journey before they ever reached your arms. It is possible that many of your child’s behavioral and/or emotional issues may be related to being given up at birth. Nonetheless, there is so much you can do to help them live with and heal their trauma. Make no mistake, being given up by our mother at birth can result in developmental trauma. As adoptive parents, you have taken on the tender and difficult job of helping this child develop a healthy sense of self in spite of this.
Now, I may be telling you nothing that you do not already know. There are countless resources on adoption, child development, and parenting. I am glad to provide additional information on any related topic that may aid you in your adoption journey, but what makes this form of adoptive parent counseling special is that it is process-oriented.
Working with Your Feelings Make Such a Difference
In this case, the process we will address is your feelings, thoughts, and reactions to your child. It makes sense that having a child going through any number of adoption issues would bring up challenging feelings inside you. In fact, it would be unnatural if it did not. In my adoptive parent counseling, we will work to process these and help you move toward a place of deeper openness and connection with your child and partner, if you have one.
To do this, we may address your emotional reactions, beliefs, and worries. But, we may also address your attachment style and relationship history. Very briefly, our attachment system is the psychophysiological system that deals with how we think, feel, and behave in relationships. Largely, we learn how to be in relationship from our earliest experiences with our parents. For those of us whose earliest experiences were less than ideal, we may have specific challenges in relationships. These challenges arise in our intimate relationships and with our children.
We know that parenting that considers developmental trauma and attachment dynamics leads to a decrease in behavioral and emotional issues for adopted children. Truthfully, it works for all children. There is comfort in knowing that adoptive parents who do this work on themselves and keep these things in mind can help their children repair the very early trauma their children have endured. And it is an honor to help you help them.
If this sounds like a fit, feel free to follow the links below to schedule an appointment or learn about my adoptive parents group.