Entering into the adoption process can be frightening, and some people feel they need a sense of balance and certainty. Counseling can help. In addition, sometimes families have issues that must be resolved before the integration of a child, who may have emotional and behavioral needs that could be challenging for even the most stable family. This counseling can help you focus on your specific needs, such as family-of-origin issues or having experienced abuse.
These needs can be met through: Educational Workshops, Support Groups, and Family Counseling Services
Loss and Grief: Even when children have a positive adoption experience, they often feel some level of separation and loss or possibly even abandonment. They may need support in working through their feelings, mourning their losses, and accepting who they are.
Trust and Attachment Related Issues : Children who have experiences abuse, neglect, out-of-home care or institutionalization often have difficulty trusting and attaching to their adoptive family. They may need assistance in building these relationships.
Identity Formation: “Who am I? How am I different from my parents? How am I like my birth parents?” Helping children understand who they are for themselves in their own person.
Family Dynamics and Adoption Adjustment: Adoptive parents sometimes experience loss and grief, maybe about infertility, maybe because the adoption is not going as they expected, all of which can cause a strain to a marriage and/or the family. Counseling may help the individual and the family.
Connection to the Birth Family: Some need help working through their feelings surrounding their birth parents and why they were placed for adoption and some may need help navigating how to search for their birth family. A counselor could assist in these situations.
Difficulties that children who were in out-of-home care before adoption experience: Maybe a child has effects of early trauma in their lives, maybe they have health issues, school issues, trans-cultural issues, etc. A counselor may be able to assist the child and the parents in navigating through these issues.
Depression and Anxiety: Many adoptive parents suffer from post-placement blues and anxiety from the money, time, effort, emotional strain, and patience needed throughout the adoption journey. Counselors can help with adjustment and provide assistance with coping strategies.
Stress Management: Stress can be caused by the addition of a new family member, lack of sleep, increased family responsibilities, and increased financial responsibilities among many other things. A counselor can assist with managing stressful situations.
Behavioral/Emotional Difficulties: Some adopted children may develop emotional and behavioral issues. The problems may or may not result from insecurities or issues related to being adopted.
Developmental/Learning Concerns: Delays can be caused by genetic or environmental factors (including exposure to alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy, trauma, neglect, or insecure attachment). Children learn and develop at different rates, so some children may be slightly behind their peers. With international adoptions, learning a second language or adjusting to a new culture may also create temporary delays. A counselor can help with understanding your concerns and can refer families to additional resources if necessary.
Trauma, Abuse, or Neglect: Adopted children who have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect in their lifetime can lack trust in others and have a heightened sensitivity to certain situations. It is important for adoptive families to make the home a structures, safe, and nurturing environment. A counselor can assist with issues or concerns surrounding abuse, trauma, and neglect.
Sibling Issues and Attachment: Counselors can help families work through issues regarding sibling acceptance and attachment with adopted children.
Nutritional, Eating, and Sleep Issues
Often children who have come from foster homes or orphanages have special nutritional needs as well as issues with food. Meals are at least a three-times a day event, so the relationship your child has with food can often affect your child’s attachment with you as well as their overall physical growth and health. Many families need help with food-related issues.
Sleep is also an everyday event, and parents can often become exacerbated when their child has difficulty sleeping. We can help provide you with some practical tips as well as determine if there may be more serious issues at hand.
Other Post-Adoption Counseling: Older Child Issues, Adjustment to New Parenting Roles, Marital Difficulties and more.
Some families do not need counseling or therapy, but rather need coaching on how to handle the day-to-day behavioral issues of a child who may have had a harder start in life. Phone/Skype counseling and in home consultations in which suggestions and resources are provided can assist with that. Coaching can help parents with the following:
Feeding issues, sleep problems, managing behavioral problems at school and at home, and working as a team with your spouse.
Post Adoption Counseling
Nightlight offers in-person counseling at all of our 7 offices. We also offer skype counseling to people living anywhere.
Fees on sliding scale from $50 to $125/hour based on income.
Contact Laura Beauvais, LPC, MPH
(864) 268-0570 or firstname.lastname@example.org