Delaware’s Adoption-Competent Therapy Specialists

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Adoption is a lifelong process.

Adoption, foster care placement, and similar experiences stay with us for a lifetime. Most people are connected to adoption and foster care in some way. However, most people do not directly experience being adopted or fostered, having a child adopted or fostered by another family, or parenting an adopted or fostered child, themselves. Because of this, individuals and families affected by adoption or foster care can feel misunderstood or unseen for their needs. Adult adoptees and parents of youth adoptees commonly ask us the question, “Is what I (or my child) experience because of adoption or life in-general?” The answer is usually “both.” However, it takes a highly-trained adoption-competent therapist to understand how the answer is “both” and to provide evidence-based treatment accordingly.

We want you to know it is normal to have questions and frustrations related to adoption. Adoption may feel like a blessing for some and a source of trauma and grief for others. Decades of research show us that there is no one “right” way to think or feel about adoption’s role in your life. Whether you are an adopted person experiencing identity stress, a biological parent processing post-placement grief, or an adoptive/foster/guardian parent worried about your child’s emotions or behavior, you are not alone. No matter what problems brought you to seek therapy, our credentialed therapist will work through them with you.

Adoption-competent therapy can help in many ways:

  • Processing traumatic experiences.
  • Addressing emotional injury from infertility.
  • Support through adoptee search and reunion.
  • Addressing childhood trauma in adoptees.
  • Preventing adoption disruption/dissolution.
  • Addressing emotional and behavior problems.
  • Supporting adoption openness and contact.
  • Supporting siblings and extended family of adopted children.
  • Processing original parent acute grief and trauma responses.
  • Building a self-regarding identity.
  • Building adoptive parenting competency.
  • Navigating racial differences in transracial adoption.
  • Making difficult information disclosures.
Couple sits on dock with arms around each other.

We can help you work through adoption issues.

Adoption-competent therapy is a treatment approach that integrates a deep knowledge of adoption research, theories, and cultural norms into any credible therapy modality or psychological assessment. It is a great option for individuals and families connected to adoption who want to understand how adoption influences psychosocial development or any specific problem for which they’ve sought therapy. Clients connected to adoption may appreciate adoption-competent therapy even if their primary reason for seeking therapy isn’t adoption related. It’s comforting to know your therapist “gets it” without worrying about explaining that part of your life in order to feel more understood.

Adoption-competent therapy integrates other relevant areas of therapeutic competency into treatment. You can expect your adoption-competent therapist to be knowledgeable about racial/transracial identity, trauma, grief and loss, family therapy, attachment, identity formation, neurological development, childhood development, mental illness, suicide, trauma-informed parenting approaches, and related laws and social policies. This treatment approach addresses the psychological, social, emotional, and cultural needs of anyone impacted by adoption while holding the welfare of adopted children at its core.

Although adoption-competent therapy seeks to normalize individuals and families connected to adoption, it is highly suited to address needs and stressors that are unique to adoption. For example, it provides tailored support through adult adoptee search and reunion. It provides developmentally appropriate guidance through explaining difficult adoption details to children. An adoption-competent therapist can help families maintain openness in their child’s adoption while all parties involved navigate adoption-related grief. They provide a non-judgemental holding space for the biological parents of adoptees to process their emotional responses post-adoption. 

Can an adoption-competent therapist still work with you on the problems that have brought you to consider therapy?

Absolutely. You may find much of what an adoption-competent therapist does to be relatable to your own life even if you aren’t adopted or a parent (or other family) of an adoptee. Adoption-competent therapy encompasses a broad spectrum of “adoption-like” family structures and custody arrangements. Adoption-competent therapists work with foster families, kinship families, grandfamilies, step-families, tribal custodian families, guardianship families, fosterees, and other individuals impacted by family separation of all kinds. It never hurts to reach out and ask. Our adoption-competent therapist is happy to help determine the best therapy fit for you.

“I’m not sure I need therapy…”

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