The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s lives.
Richard Bach, 1936 – present
Making the decision to adopt a child is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions an individual or couple seeking to start a family will make. Research indicates there are several factors that influence parents’ long-term satisfaction in their role as an adoptive parent as well as children’s adjustment to adoption. My doctoral dissertation explored adult-related factors in adoptive families, including how adult personality and adult attachment style impact outcomes (view the abstract.) Exploring current research on adoption outcomes is helpful to prepare prospective adoptive parents with what they may encounter immediately after adoption and down the road.
Some of the questions I frequently address include:
- What are the different types of adoption available and which type would be the best for our family?
- What does an “open” adoption mean and how does this work?
- What is the best way to talk with an adopted child about his/her adoption status?
- What is the best way to speak with a transracial child about his/her cultural background, ethnicity, and race?
- How will adopting a child influence my biological children?
- Will I love an adopted child the same as my biological child?
- Will an adopted child have emotional problems just because he/she was adopted?
- Where are some reliable places to get more information about adoption (agencies and organizations) and adoption readiness?
Post-Adoption Assessment & Counseling
Since 2001, 50-75% of my client caseload has been dedicated to mental health work with adopted children and their families, as well as children in foster care.
I’ve had the good fortune to service children adopted from the the U.S. foster care system as well as children adopted internationally. Over the years I’ve treated children adopted from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, and the Marshall Islands.
Presenting problems I treat in adopted children range from mild adjustment and adoption identity issues to more serious issues in children, typically related to the impact of early deprivation, abuse, loss and attachment disruptions.
I welcome the opportunity to work with birth parents who choose adoption for their child. Adults often struggle with making this monumental, life-changing decision. Although many find peace and resolve in their decision, others may experience immediate or long-term feelings of grief, regret, or shame. Especially when family and social support is minimal, counseling can help provide a safe, supportive, and validating environment to assist birth parents with coping and working through their feelings.