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Building a Family with Your Adopted Child

family counseling,parent counseling,adoption issues, Counseling for parents wanting to adopt, Carolina Counseling Services North Fayetteville Office Fayetteville NC

Building a Family with Your Adopted Child


Every year, thousands of families are created through adopting a child. The legal process permanently transfers the rights and obligations of biological parents to the adoptive parents. Many of the benefits of adoption bring positive outcomes to the biological and adoptive parents, and of course, to the child.  It provides the birth parents the opportunity to secure their child’s future, while the adoptive parents fulfill their dream of having and raising a child. Adopting a child, however, can become more complicated.

Despite the benefits, adopting or losing a child to adoption is never easy. The process can leave a scar for the birth parents and the adoptee, especially for older children. The decision to sacrifice a child to adoptive parents can be the most painful action any parent can commit. Living with powerful emotions – guilt, shame, grief, etc. – can darken their prospect of a happy future.

The excitement and issues that accompany adoption can be physically and emotionally exhausting. The desire to start or expand your family can be a roller coaster ride to the summit of hope and anticipation, plunging to the descent of delays and frustrations. You can be filled with anxiety as you live with the thought that one day you must tell the child that he/she is adopted.  This is difficult considering that losing one’s family and being integrated into a new one is a difficult challenge for any child to face and accept with ease.

If you are adopting a child, you must know that the process isn’t completed upon signing the adoption papers. Even when every party involved receives what they want, there will be powerful emotions to live with forever. This is why counseling might need to be sought.


Potential Adoption Issues

Adoption can lead to optimistic prospects for many children. While some experts assert that adopted children have a more promising outlook compared to non-adopted children, others believe that adopted children are at a higher risk for developing emotional instability. Many adopted children and young adults, especially those without knowledge about their birth family or the circumstances of their adoption, experience significant stress, trauma, identity issues, anger and other distressing feelings.

Even those adopted into happy homes and cared for by loving parents may experience conflicting feelings due to abandonment, attachment and trust issues. Others have to face the difficulties involved if they happen to experience problematic placements or if adopted by neglectful or abusive parents and siblings.

The family system may also stagger in the event of an adoption. Although it may be a collective decision, the children in the family may not easily and willingly accept the new member. Jealousy and sibling conflict can escalate and weaken family dynamics. Exhausted and overwhelmed by the ongoing tension, couples may experience misunderstandings, increased arguments and disconnection.

In addition to these concerns, some adopted children may have developmental delays and exhibit serious behavioral issues as a result of early trauma. They may also manifest emotional health conditions, especially if they do not adapt easily to their new home. Amidst the lack of structure and consistency in their lives, some children still fantasize about a life with their own birth families. Statistics show that adopted children experience post traumatic stress disorder double the rate of Iraqi war veterans.


The Unique Needs of an Adopted Child

An adopted child has unique needs that a lot of adoptive parents cannot adequately meet. No matter how seriously you wish you could, you cannot fathom the psyche of one who has been adopted. You need more than years of training to understand how early separation from the mother impacts the child. After all, it is not about your wish for the child to have a happy life with your family. Rather, it is about the unique need of the child to heal from the wounds of the past and the struggles of the present. This is a lifetime issue for the child to wrestle with.

Healing cannot come from you or even the entire family even if love and trust have developed between you and the child. The complicated feelings deeply entrenched in the child’s heart and mind, such as love and rage, attachment and abandonment, the need for, along with feelings of rejection for the birth parent, can be aimed at you who are now in their place. It means, even if you have taken over, you still may not be the one who can resolve these complex emotions.

Adoption is a major life transition that offers unique rewards, as well as it brings unique challenges to families. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to locate a professional who is emotionally nonpartisan and who understands the intricacies of the dynamics well enough to provide extra support.


Seeking Therapy for Emotional Support

Adoption is a continuing story that can provoke varied emotions for the child, for the parents, and for the other children as the family try to bind together. Notwithstanding the nature of the circumstances surrounding adoption, everyone involved – the biological parents, adoptive parents and the adoptee/child – will have their unique difficulties during the process and beyond. The rollercoaster of their emotions does not end when the adoption documents are signed by both parties.

The one that is most seriously affected in an adoption case is the child. Usually, the older the adoptee is, the more difficult it will be to integrate them in their new family. Issues can arise that must be resolved before and during the process of integrating the child. This can challenge even the happiest children and most stable families. There may be more than 9 good reasons to seek counseling now to help you and your family resolve a wide range of adoption-related issues.

Without counseling to address the issues, the issues can affect everyone years later. There can be long-term concerns that arise, affecting the adoptive parents, biological parents, and adoptees. The circumstances surrounding the adoption cannot be changed, but the corollary issues can be resolved, and the intense emotions can be relieved and understood better.


Here are some of the ways counseling can help:


  • Counseling can help you navigate the adoption process.
  • Adoption counselors have a strong background in working with people involved in the process and have plenty of experience in a variety of adoption situations.
  • A counselor can help facilitate a good relationship between the birth and adoptive families.
  • A specialized adoption counselor can offer private mentoring and guidance to help all involved to fully express their inner feelings without fear of being judged or feeling shame.
  • A good counselor offers a safe and nurturing environment and reliable resources to work out your issues.


Helping to Heal and Settle an Adopted Child into Your Family

Whether you have adopted a child or you’re just starting with the adoption process, it can be tough.  Who are you going to turn to when you are confronted with issues that are threatening to disrupt your family?  Who can help when the child the child is struggling with significant emotional, behavioral or developmental concerns?

Timely intervention by the right fit professional skilled in adoption issues who understands the unique needs of an adopted child can make a huge difference. Hurdling the 5 impediments that deter you from seeking help is the key to finding a therapist who can provide guidance, support and resources for your family to overcome and adjust to the challenges.

Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC is here for you. Our independently contracted adoption specialists have helped thousands of children and families thrive together and cultivate a mutually supportive lifelong relationship created through adoption. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Fayetteville, NC (North)

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC

Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Rex NC,and Wade, NC

Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: 910-636-0011 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: 910-308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC