When is it Time to Consider Adoption Counseling?
Every parent knows children go through hard times as they grow up. Knowing when your child’s difficulties are due to the challenges of growing older and when they are related to adoption can be tricky. Adoption counseling can be a great asset for children who are adopted and their families. Here are a few ways to know when it is a good time to pursue counseling.
Do All Adopted Children Need Counseling?
Adoption can weigh heavily on children’s minds. As parents, it is natural to want to help our children through difficult times. That can often cause parents to seek counseling when their kids encounter personal and emotional challenges.
While not all adopted children need therapy. adopted children do face unique challenges, and counseling can help them deal with their questions and work through complex feelings.
For parents, the question then becomes: how do you know when to pursue professional counseling for your child?
When to Seek Counseling
In general, there are a few major signs you should look for when it comes to whether you should seek counseling for your child.
First, you should absolutely seek counseling when your child’s behavior is in any way harmful. Even if the issues aren’t directly related to adoption, you should always seek counseling if someone is threatening harm to themselves or others.
Beyond this, if your child is struggling with issues around identity, grief for their birth family, or difficulty with attachment, it may be a good opportunity to seek additional support. Children are changing and growing rapidly and different developmental stages can bring up different questions or challenges. Oftentimes issues and questions related to adoption manifest in behaviors that parents may not recognize as connected to grief over their adoption story and it can be helpful to process that with a therapist.
You should also think about accessing counseling if your child seems to be struggling in certain contexts, like home or school, and has negative reactions to or associations with adoption, birth, or family issues. It is always a good idea to seek out support and have a non-judgmental and compassionate professional to listen and give guidance.
Other Ways to Support Your Child
Childhood and adolescence are difficult times for every child. Growth and development require change. To that end, not every stage or phase your child goes through requires professional support. Often having the support of friends, family, and community can help you navigate more difficult seasons.
As parents, stay involved in your child’s life as much as possible! Attend their events, make time to sit and talk with them, and engage in their interests. This will make it easier for you to judge when your child might be experiencing a serious issue and when they’re simply having a hard time with an aspect of their home or school life.
When possible, engaging in an open adoption is a great way to provide support for your child as it allows them to maintain connections with their biological heritage, culture, and family. You can also incorporate birth family traditions or cultural practices in your own family to help your child integrate that part of who they are.
Finally, it is important that you make yourself available for your child. They should never be afraid to ask questions and share with you their thoughts and feelings regarding their life. Allow adoption to be an open topic of discussion in your household. You can also be open with your child about your own feelings and emotions. Sharing is a vital part of every family, and adoption doesn’t change that fact.
Where to Go for Counseling
If your child is experiencing difficulties specifically related to his or her adoption, it’s important to find a counselor who has experience working with adoption that you feel comfortable with. You may also want to consider family counseling so you can work through questions and challenges together as a family unit.
Therapists who specialize in adoption can provide treatment specific to adoptive children and families, allowing for issues to be identified more quickly, and can help equip parents with special tools and strategies to keep your family healthy and happy. Our therapists have been trained in adoption competency and have many years of experience serving this special population.
To learn more about adoption-competent therapy in Oklahoma, contact us today at Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption. As Oklahoma’s oldest adoption agency, we have more than a century of experience with connecting and strengthening families. Call 405-949-4200 today or visit our Facebook page for more insight and tips!