Copyright © Carolyn N. Berger, LCSW. All rights reserved.
Adoption can be a deeply satisfying way to create your family.
Many couples and individuals come to adoption after trying to have a baby through fertility treatment. At first, the adoption arena can seem confusing, with a new vocabulary to learn and many important choices to make.
Many individuals and couples need some counseling to get to the point where they feel ready to adopt. Once there, they can decide whether to adopt internationally, domestically (agency or independent), or through foster care. At this point, I often recommend they imagine the child they wish to adopt. Is this child a newborn, toddler, or older? From the United States or another country?
I can then help couples and individuals identify adoption professionals best- suited to help them adopt. These professionals help a couple prepare to meet state requirements and begin the adoption homestudy before they can begin looking for a child to adopt.
What happens next is probably the most challenging aspect of adoption. In domestic adoption, several routes can lead to a couple learning of a “situation,” where there is a potential birthmother wishing to place her child. In international adoption they will receive a “referral,” or travel information from an adoption agency approved to work in the country. It usually comes in the form of a picture of a child along with some medical information. If foster care with the possibility of adoption is the goal, there are specific parenting classes to take before a couple or individual is presented with a child they may wish to care for.
Pursuing adoption can be challenging and at times overwhelming, but with the right support I know pre-adoptive parents can absolutely adopt a child—the success rate is nearly 100%. Counseling can provide a safe haven while experiencing the emotional ups and downs that tend to be part of the process.
After your child has come home, consider returning to counseling so you can share thoughts as new parents, identify adoption lifecycle issues, and find ways to talk with your child about his adoption at a level he can understand. You may also want to get guidance about how you can talk to others in your child’s life about adoption. (Don’t be surprised if you find yourself becoming an “adoption educator” in your community!) In a good adoption, everyone grows.
See more information on the Resource Page.
Topics Explored in Adoption Counseling
Am I ready to adopt?
- Domestic Adoption (Independent)
- Domestic Adoption (Agency)
- Adoption Through Foster Care
- International Adoption
- Step-Parent Adoption
- Kinship Adoption
The Adoption Home Study
Talking to Prospective Birthmothers
Choosing an Adoption Pediatrician
Adopting as a Single Parent
Adopting as a Same-Sex Couple
Coping With the Stress of Adopting
Post- Adoption Blues
Creating Your Child’s Adoption Story
Stages of Adoption Awareness in Children
Talking With Others About Adoption