On this blog, we often talk about the importance of adoption counseling for birth mothers, to help them through their adoption journey. However, counseling can also be a very important tool for adoptive parents as they navigate life with their new baby and attempt to find their new normal – both before and after adoption.
Adoption Counseling Can Help You Adjust!
“It is so easy in the thralls of new parenthood to be completely obsessed with your new baby or child,” says Dawn Davenport, Creating a Family. “It is also pretty common to be completely overwhelmed by the demands of new motherhood/fatherhood.” So, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong support system.
Everyone’s support system looks different. The important thing is to surround yourself with positive people who will actively help you throughout your journey – whatever that may look like.
“If you do not have a positive support system, you can see that through an adoption agency worker/counselor,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C.
Finding Ways to Connect
Parents can sometimes struggle to bond with older adopted children. But don’t worry. As The Supremes once said, “You can’t hurry love. No, you just have to wait.”
“Many adoptive parents are shocked and a little concerned when their child is finally placed in their home, yet they don’t feel an instant connection,” says Nora Sharp, MLJ Adoptions. These things just take time. And counseling can help facilitate some of these conversations.
Dealing with the Grief of Older Adoptees
“Many children who are adopted experience a kind of open-ended grief because they are separated from family members who have not died,” says Sheryl Freeman, LAMFT. These young girls and boys often have difficulty wrapping their heads around the situation and can internalize much of this early life trauma. It can be extremely helpful for these children to talk through their grief so that the healing process can begin.
“I believe deeply in the importance of therapy for children who have experienced trauma,” says Kristin Berry, adoptive mother and adoption blogger. “My children have had some of the most amazing counselors over the years who have gone out of their way to support not only my children but my entire family.”
Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS)
Some adoptive parents may even suffer from what researchers have dubbed “post-adoption depression syndrome,” or PADS. After months or years of anticipating parenthood, the excitement of the actual adoption can give way to a feeling of being “let down” or sadness in some parents. As with postpartum depression, it is important to speak with a trained professional.
Maintain a Strong Relationship with Your Partner
“The greatest gift you can give your child is a healthy and happy relationship with your spouse [or partner],” says Davenport.
Navigating adoption does not just mean acclimating your child to your family. It also means acclimating your family to your new normal.
“No doubt adoption is stressful for the child, but it is also stressful for the parents,” says Davenport. “It’s not only the child’s life that has been turned upside down.”
- Take Time Together: It’s important to take time to be a couple. Plan a monthly date night and remember that yes, you are both now parents, but you are also still partners. “We’re so accustomed to making our children the center of our world, but experts say that your marriage needs just as much nurturing,” says Holly Robinson, Parents.
- Explore Counseling: With so much emphasis on your child (and rightly so), it’s not uncommon to inadvertently neglect your spouse or partner. “No matter how great your marriage was before you had kids, you can’t just leave it on autopilot now,” says Robinson. Counseling isn’t just for couples struggling in their marriage. It can be a great way to help strengthen an already strong marriage, especially when going through a major change – like adopting a child.
Adoption Makes Family Can Help!
Adoption Makes Family is here for you. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. Our adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.
Call Us Now at (410) 683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.