Encouraging individuals through their emotional journey, equipping them with effective resources and strategies, and empowering them to self-acceptance are among our most meaningful strategies for adoptees.
As children get older and reach different developmental milestones, their understanding of adoption will change. These processes are completely normal, but can often cause difficulty. It’s important for children to work on their specific issues through counseling, particularly if they experienced trauma in the past.
Here are some common concerns surrounding adoption:
• Loss and Grief: Even with a positive adoption experience, children may feel some level of separation, loss, and even abandonment. They will need support while working through their feelings. In therapy, children and teens will create rituals to mourn their losses and share their story through narrative therapy.
• Identity formation: Who am I? How am I alike or different from my adoptive parents and birth parents? In therapy, we will explore these questions to help children discover their identity as they undergo their adoption journey.
• Connection to the Birth Family: Children need help working their feelings surrounding their birth parents and the reasons why they were placed for adoption, or navigating a search for their family. Therapy allows a safe and nonjudgmental environment to address these issues.
• Trauma, Abuse or Neglect: If children have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect, they may lack trust in others or be especially sensitive to situations reminding them of their trauma. Children and teens will have the opportunity to process their trauma through EMDR and/or by sharing their trauma narrative.
• Sibling Issues and Attachment: Sibling relationships fundamentally affect the child’s sense of self, their self-assurance or insecurity and other crucial aspects of their life’s journey. We must carefully consider and address the sibling issues that both enhance and complicate the lives of adoptive families. Counseling gives families important strategies to work through issues regarding sibling acceptance and attachment with adopted children.
• Eating and Sleep Issues: It is common for adopted children to have nutritional needs or issues with food. Because their relationship with food directly affects their physical health and their attachment with you, many families benefit from counseling to help understand and overcome food-related issues. Parents can also become overwhelmed when their child has difficulty sleeping. Counseling can help provide practical strategies for improving sleep quality and determine if more complicated issues are at hand.