Should your family get therapy after adopting a child?

You and your family adopted a child. You have seen some behaviors that worry you. At times, your adoptive child seems happy and they express love for you. At other times, they are angry or distant.

You are now wondering if your child’s reactions are normal — or if their emotions mean they need a counselor.

What is adoption and how does it affect adoptive children?

Adoption means that you legally became your adopted child’s legal parents. Most adoptions also require that the legal relationship between the child and their biological parents be severed. Even though adoption is a happy occasion, it can also be difficult on everyone to adjust. Unless your adopted child is an infant, they may have had significant life experiences before you came along. If your child was in foster care, they could also be grappling with the traumas they experienced in their biological parents’ home.

Children who have been adopted do experience emotional reactions to their adoptions. What your child is expressing is normal. Depending on the age of your child, they may be struggling with “who am I?” This, added to the adjustment to their new family, is difficult.

As long as you are working to develop a close, loving and honest relationship with your child, they should begin feeling more secure. Setting up a short course of counseling for yourself and your family might help your new child adjust.

It’s always important to remember that adoption can be a complicated process, both legally and emotionally. Patience is key to the process for all involved.