The days after you decide to adopt a child can be some of the most exciting. You anticipate the baby you will soon be able to hold, a new son or daughter to love. You have a lot to look forward to!
But for some hopeful adoptive parents, the days begin to drag. Days and days without news can lead to anxiety, fear, and grief. So if you’re feeling this way, you aren’t alone. Adoption comes with unique challenges, and it is for this reason that so many choose therapy.
There are a lot of qualified therapists available to walk you through your adoption journey. How can you find the right one for you and your spouse?
Do We Need Therapy?
One of your first questions might surround the necessity of therapy. Is it for you? Do you need therapy?
Therapy can benefit adoptive couples in so many ways. You may need a shoulder to lean on or an ear to vent to as you work through the next steps.
Waiting for a birth mother to choose you can be difficult. Many people feel that there is so much to do and yet not enough to do. A therapist can help you build coping skills to get through the wait. Group therapy also helps you find others in a similar situation so that you can find support.
You may also find that building a relationship with a therapist now will prove helpful for the future. After you bring a child into your home, you may still benefit from the support and services of a professional who understands your adoption journey.
What Kind of Therapist Do You Need?
Certain therapists are more suitable for adoption-related concerns than others. According to the Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Information Gateway, therapists who work with adoption should be well-versed in attachment, loss, and trauma. The adoption journey itself can feel both extremely rewarding and tumultuous. You want your therapist to have some experience and knowledge about the things you may experience during this time.
How Can Pre-Adoption Therapy Help Your Family?
Pre-adoption services or adoption support can address many concerns you have. No matter the size of your family or its current circumstances, adoption is a major shift. Waiting to adopt is also a significant experience, and you should not just ignore your feelings while you wait.
These are just a few of the ways a therapist can help your family before adoption:
- Therapists can help you cope with the wait for a child and the emotions that come with it.
- Therapists help your children cope with the wait for a new brother or sister.
- Therapists help parents adjust to the future changes that adoption will bring.
- Therapists help prospective parents ensure they are making the right choice for the family.
- Therapists connect potential adoptive parents with support groups and other resources.
As you can see, therapists perform a lot of services for each member of the family. Adoption is a complex matter that may require distinct types of support for different members of the family.
What Types of Therapy Are Available?
Now that you understand why therapy is beneficial, you probably want to know how therapists provide this guidance and support. Your path may involve more than a form of therapy.
These are just a few of the kinds of counseling available:
- Family Therapy – Family therapy considers the needs of the group and the needs of each individual.
- Group Therapy – Group therapy brings small groups of people with similar issues together. The goal is to build support among a group and allow each member to see how others cope with related adoption issues.
- Solo Therapy – Individual therapy often uses techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma-informed therapy to help people heal and develop positive patterns in thought, behavior, and communication.
Of course, the therapist’s technique and approach to a situation are not all you need to know. Some common questions you might ask include:
- What kind of experience do you have with adoption issues?
- What kind of training have you taken that are relevant to my family’s situation?
- What kinds of clients do you typically work with?
- Can you meet my family’s unique needs?
- I’m questioning my choice. How can you help?
- What can I expect to gain from therapy?
How Can You Find a Good Therapist?
Finally, you might still be stuck on finding the right counselor for you. If a Google search isn’t helping you find suitable candidates, try one of these options:
- Ask for referrals from people you trust. They could be adoption professionals you have worked with or your family doctor, for example.
- If you already work with a therapist, you might ask if they can provide you with information about a counselor who has adoption experience.
- Talk to other parents who chose adoption.
- Call your insurance company for affordable or in-network recommendations.
Help Is Out There
Your healing journey can start today. While finding the right therapist may feel like a minor struggle, the process can bring your family amazing rewards. Emotional fulfillment is available for everybody, and therapy can be part of your story.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”