The Adoption Journey
The process of adoption is a complex journey for parents, from the contemplation stage to being assessed and matched to a child whom they have dreamed about for a long time.
The reality of adopting and the subsequent challenges of looking after an adoptive child or siblings is likely to differ from expectations, even to be disappointing and far more challenging and complex than ever imagined. Contact with the birth family always presents intense emotional turmoil in establishing whether it is in the best interest of the child and how it can promote or negatively affect current attachments.
Furthermore, adoptive families may face other common, yet traumatic, family events such as parental separation, divorce, illness, death of a family member or another significant person, or common transition points such as house moves, progression through education and on-going changes in relationships with peers or teachers. Even these seemingly simple events can trigger major reactions and overwhelming feelings associated with previous losses and traumatic past experiences. These are to be grounded in the present and addressed, by valuing and building on current safe relationships and secure attachments in order to be integrated into a more positive sense of self. A key aim of the work is to help parents develop a more positive “narrative” about their past and ongoing relationship with previous partner, the social care system and the educational system.
It might be identified that parents may need therapy themselves to explore some adoption related issues that might impact on their ability to be the parents they want to be to their children. This may lead to a specific focus on specialist parenting support, attachment-based therapy or couple therapy.