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When to reach out for help: When your child’s needs are beyond your abilities . . .

Updated: Aug 21


Adopted children represent a higher percentage of individuals needing professional counseling than non-adopted children. There are reasons for this. Primarily, it is thought that adoptive parents are more proactive than non-adoptive parents in getting their children professional help for their challenges. I personally believe this is true. Another reason is that adopted children, by the very nature of what many of them have suffered prior to being adopted, have more needs in areas such as attachment, anxiety and depression, PTSD and identity confusion.


As adoptive parents, we have great hopes and expectations of a child who joins our family through adoption. For untold numbers of children, being adopted into a stable, loving family can open many doors to a bright future full of hope and fulfillment. As parents, we also know that we cannot do this journey alone. We need the support of our immediate and extended family, our church and our close friends. Most of us will also need to reach out to professionals to assist us with helping our child deal with residual issues such as abandonment, loss, abuse and institutionalization, to name a few.


Parents, please hear me out on this—reaching out for professional help is NOT a sign of failure! I know of parents who have struggled with remorse and guilt because they could not “handle” their child, and who were at a loss at how to help him/her. Some parents buy into the adoption myth that “Now that our daughter is with us in a stable home, everything is going to be okay.” This is not true even for many biological children! On the contrary, we should expect our adopted child to face challenges. After all—and especially if they were adopted at an older age—they are coming into a radically new environment that will likely induce culture shock. They will also have to work through feelings of anger, loss and grief. The good news is that with help, these struggles can be successfully dealt with.


In the next post I will share some specifics on what and who to look for when searching for help for our child. Stay tuned!


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