Next up in the Adoption: Let’s Be Honest series is therapy for adopted children. This is a very real and not much talked about part of an adoptive family’s life. And vital in factoring in on the decision to adopt or not. There is a long list of therapies that could/should/need to be helpful for adopted children. In fact, it would be impossible to cover them all. But I want to hit on, over the course of this series, a few of the most used.
For me, the most intimidating part of therapy was knowing how to get started. This would cause me to not move forward at all because I didn’t know what to do first. Not real helpful or wise when your child needs intervention and needs it like NOW! So you don’t get stuck in this sea of helplessness, here is my suggestion on getting going.
Therapy for Adopted Children
Ask your child’s doctor for names. They are probably the best qualified to know your child and know colleagues who have expertise in the areas specific to your child’s needs.
Ask parents of adopted children you know. Most of these families are currently using or know of therapy providers. These parents are are a great resource.
Look for adoption websites and facebook groups. This is an excellent source for therapy interventions for children. It will take a bit of work to find therapy for adopted children in your area. Here is a directory of counselors on this website. And a few website and facebook pages too!
Foster Parent Rescue : fosterparentrescue.blogspot.com
Make a list of a few of these suggestions. Figure out (if you can!) what areas you are in need of services. For example, does your child have Oppositional Defiant Disorder? Then be sure to find therapists who specialize in ODD. Write down phone numbers and addresses. If you are like me, the closer to me the better as sometimes we can go up to 3 times a week to therapy sessions and car time is not always fun time!
Do your homework and research your suggestions. Google them, check Better Business Bureau. Find anything you can in the way of reviews to be as sure as possible before you call that they may be a good fit.
Call. Pick up the phone when you have a few quiet moments and make the call. Let the person answering know you are looking for therapy for adopted children services and would like to schedule an intake. Give them all the pertinent information they need so they can be sure they are a right fit for you and your adopted kiddo. Here I also trust my gut. If something doesn’t feel right in the phone call, appointment times are months out, or anything that just doesn’t sit right, don’t make an appointment. Remember you and your child are going to be interacting with this person and office, hopefully soon and on a regular basis for a while.
Make an Appointment. Be sure to ask what you need to bring. Medical insurance information, referral from doctor, adoption records, the child! Also ask how long the initial appointment will be.
Go to the Appointment. This may sound crazy to say, but I have talked myself out of going a few times. “Oh he is better” or “it was just a phase” or “things aren’t so bad that we need therapy intervention”. When I do that, I almost always regret missing the appointment. Just go. Once the appointment is over, you have more information to make an informed decision, not an emotional one.
There are certain cases where therapy for adopted children services are just not available in your area. Then you could find online services or programs like Total Transformation (which I use also) to work through.
The experience of adopting a child is emotional. And sometimes these emotions get in the way. Here is an article that discusses the experience of adopting a child and the reality of needs for therapy for adopted children.
Children can still experience a number of emotional problems stemming from their adoption, even when adopted at an early age.
The number one emotional issue for children who have not attached appropriately with a caregiver at an early age is reactive attachment disorder, Cecil-Van Den Heuvel says . Read this informative article.
It is important for me to say that I am talking about therapy for adopted children as a whole here. In future blogs, I will discuss specific areas of therapy that may arise in your adopted children. Also, I am not saying every adopted child will need some kind of therapy. There are many who don’t. But for those who do, knowing where to start can be extremely helpful.