Adopted Children and Therapy
Questions adoptive moms and dads can ask themselves to help determine the need for a therapist visit for their adopted child:
- Are your child's habits interfering with a regular enjoyment of his or her life, education and family?
- Is your child's external compliance or quiet resistance truly a control, anger or fear problem?
- Is he or she passively irritated at you for leaving him / her at school or at day care. You may want to consider that there are undetectable or underlying abandonment challenges.
- Is your child acting out (furious, disruptive) or acting in (stressed out, withdrawn)?
- Is your child’s anger often unacceptable?
- Does your child’s lack of "self-control” reflect an underlying need to control you and everything else in his/her environment?
- Do you find yourself being a parent "around" your child's problems and hot-buttons? Do his or her outbursts (and also the timing of when he/she chooses to have one) dominate family life and fun-based activities?
- Does your child complain continuously?
- Does your child have concerns and suspicions that she or he can't manage? Do his or her anxieties change as time passes, but never really disappear completely? Do they control where he or she will go, what he or she plays or whom she or he will see?
- Does your son or daughter have a problem with his or her personality? Are there cross-cultural or transracial problems to think about?
- Do your son or daughter's habits affect his or her connection with you, your spouse or his or her brothers and sisters?
Small children might display a few of these concerns while maturing, but parents typically notice a red-flag behavior by its severity and persistence. Emotional behavior and habits that might be of concern to an adoptive family can fall at either end of the healthy spectrum; everything is a question of degree, but if your parent intuition has concerns, you should pay attention to it and get professional support.
Locating a Therapist
Getting a therapist experienced in the particular problems of adoption and attachment can be a difficult task. You should contact your social worker or pediatrician for a referral.
From the Baby
"I wanted to send you a very special note to thank you for helping me join my new family. My mom and dad are so happy, and I'm having lots of fun. I really love my new home and thank you so very much for the part you and everyone in your office had in making my family so happy!!"
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