Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family. Although speaking about adoption tends to be a sensitive topic. Parents of adopted children have all the stressors of parenting children and another layer of stressors related to adoption. Adoption is close to my heart and a passion of mine. My professional experience is extensive; from conducting adoption Home Studies, Post Placements to SWAN case management. I have served as a Light of Hope for many families whose lives have been impacted by unforeseen struggles that typically affect an adoptive family. These struggles are often not spoken of or outwardly addressed. As an expert in this field, I assist families, including adoptive children, biological children and parents in addressing all real, unspoken issues of adoption. These issues include but are not limited to the situations mentioned below.
Parents who have adopted their children have all of the stressors of parenting children and a layer called adoption to attend. How you will attend to the adoption topic in your family is to get educated and become aware of the effects of adoption on everyone in your family. I will assist you in this process. Sometimes parents aren’t aware that adoption issues are creating behavioral issues in their children. Sometimes children feel split between the two worlds, birth families and adoptive families. Give them the gift of a safe place to explore adoption issues. Some children have no problems with being adopted while others struggle with the dynamic of the process.
Are your kids internalizing their feelings about adoptions?
Depending on your child, some kids will tell you what is going on with them regarding adoption and some will not. Some kids don’t want to share their feelings because they do not want to hurt their parents. As a therapist with extensive training in adoption, I will help them depending on their age explore these issues through play therapy, talk therapy, family therapy or art therapy techniques.
Example of how adoption issues can be at play and parents may not know:
Children from adoption have experiences such as the following:
Imagine being 5 or 6 years old and you tell your friends at school you are adopted. Then one day a child comes up to you and says, “Where are your real parents.” As adults we know the adoptive parents are the “real parents”. But a child’s world would be rocked! What do you mean? I’m not with my real parents? Who are these people I live with? Sometimes children act out behaviorally when they don’t understand adult situations. All of a sudden your child is being defiant or crying all the time. If you didn’t know this experience happened at school you wouldn’t know to address it with your child. So, your child acts out and now you are dealing with it from a behavioral stand point. But really there is an emotional component that is huge. The child is scared and doesn’t know what to do. These are situations we can deal with in therapy. Through various techniques like sandplay, art or play therapy the child’s inner world will start to unfold.
Are you avoiding conversations with your child about their adoption history and feelings about it?
Your afraid if you talk about it you’ll open up a can of worms that you won’t know how to answer. Or you are open to talking but your not sure about the age appropriate way to talk to your child. Maybe your not sure if they are processing what adoption is and how they feel about it.
Addressing the adoption topic in a developmentally appropriate way for the child from day one is the best approach for everyone involved in families that were brought together through adoption.