If you are reading this, then you realize how crucial therapy is for a family with adopted children. WHY is that? Because all adopted children have experienced a unique set of circumstances with inter-connected harmful consequences: loss, grief, and trauma. The first is the loss of their original family. Next, comes grief. Grief, the feeling of losing a connection, which sits right next to loss and creates a special set of issues. Then, most adopted children have experienced trauma. Put these 3 factors together and you get the absolute requirement for a therapist who is highly specialized in the knowledge of adoption and it’s impact upon families.
Let’s dig a little deeper into these ideas. You adopted your wonderful child and now you are a family. It is both normal and wonderful to think love heals all and you can easily lose sight of what your little-one experienced before you. It is also easy to feel responsible when your child starts to show behaviors. You feel an assault on your parenting, that somehow you have failed.
STOP right there. No matter what your adopted child’s story is; they did lose their original parents. That loss alone can create behaviors later in life. Most likely they also experienced some form of neglect and/or abuse. Even if it was short lived and only happened once. It matters. It is real! Studies show now that even prenatal trauma can negatively effect our kids’ brains. You have to believe that your child is scarred by their past. That is why when and if it is time to bring in a therapist, you must find an adoption informed one.
Remember behind every child’s behavior is a feeling. For adopted kids, mad is the go-to emotion, but if you examine it further, sad and scared are behind mad. All the disruptions in attachment they experienced made their brain different. This adoption-related trauma made them unable to readily trust you, to be unable to easily attach to you, and moreover, they developed strategies that helped them survive in those unhealthy environments. Problem is they hold onto these patterns when they come to you. The only way to really heal is to build a secure attachment to you. Once they have that, often time facilitated through therapy, they can truly heal the psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems you are seeing.
Your adoption informed counselor will include you in treatment. You cannot treat your child separate from their loving caretaker. If you go to a non-adoption informed practitioner, labels can get slapped on your kids, most times mis-diagnoses. More importantly, the behaviors you are seeing will grow and things can get worse. Once you have experienced therapy in an adoption informed milieu, you will get it. Trust me!
To learn more about how adoption impacts children, visit JFS’ YouTube Channel.