Updated: Aug 13, 2020
In my 30-plus years of working with families, I have found that it can be difficult for adoptive parents to seek help for themselves and their child. There are reasons for this hesitance, but many times it just boils down to the thought process by the parents that “We made the choice to adopt, therefore this is our problem and we should be able to figure it out ourselves.” Nothing could be further from the truth! This is faulty thinking that is often based in guilt, where adoptive parents feel that their family, close friends, or even a therapist may think less of them for reaching out for help. This faulty thinking may even lead to the parents second-guessing themselves about having adopted in the first place. Adoptive parents need to push through this mindset, for as I mentioned in my previous blog, the majority of adopted children will need a support system beyond their parents—and this goes for the parents as well!
Here are some helpful hints when looking for support or counseling for you and your child:
1. Check with other adoptive parents you know whose’ children may have been in counseling. Ask about their experience with their particular therapist(s).
2. When choosing a therapist, find out about his or her experience in counseling adopted children or adolescents. You may also want to look for a therapist with experience in time-tested therapeutic approaches such as Theraplay (for younger children), and Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI for short, which is intended for children and adolescents who have been through trauma). Other recommended therapies are the Circle of Security and the ABC Program, which are video-based programs for parents of younger children and focus primarily on attachment and bonding.
3. If you have adopted internationally or transracially, find out if the therapist you are considering has experience with multicultural issues and/or working with internationally adopted children. This is extremely important.
4. For individuals from a Christian faith background, the American Association of Christian Counselors has a solid reputation. They have been around for over 30 years. They have a national directory of licensed counselors on their website at www.aacc.net.
5. Finally, Adoptive Family Resources offers a Parent Coaching service. You can check it out on the “SERVICES” page of this website. It is confidential, and the initial consult with Dr. Andrews is free. Subsequent sessions are reasonably priced.