Adoption is complex and is not adequately understood by everyone in the mental health field. If you are looking for a mental health professional for your adoptive child, then you will want to make sure you choose someone that has training and experience handling adoption cases to ensure your child receives the most considerate and effective care.
One of the best ways to find an adoption therapist is by asking for recommendations from trusted sources, such as an adoption agency or clinic, family doctor, children’s hospital, or other adoptive parents.
Whether you have been given recommendations or not, it is still important to ask potential adoption therapists some initial questions so you can make an informed choice. Here are some questions to consider asking:
Have you had extra training that is specific to adoption?
This question is straightforward and the therapist should be able to provide you with any details in their training that might be specific towards adoption therapy.
How much of your caseload is working with adoptive families?
You can ask for specific percentages, or you can ask them for a general estimate as to how many adoptive families they work with. A therapist who has a higher caseload of adoptive families, may be more experienced in working with issues similar to what your child is facing.
What experience have you had with adoption and adoption issues?
This question allows for a more qualitative answer. While therapists cannot divulge personal information from previous clients, they can provide you with information on types of cases they have worked with. You might find that a therapist describes a previous case similar to your own child’s, which could be a sign that they are a good fit.
What types of adoption have you worked with?
There are a wide variety of different types of adoption. Was your child adopted as a baby or as a child? Were they adopted domestically or internationally? Was the adoption open or closed? Was the adoption transracial or transcultural? These factors and others can play a major role in the adoption-related mental health issues your child may be struggling with. If there is a therapist that is not only trained and experienced in handling adoption issues, but has specific experience in working with your child’s type of adoption, then you will want to know.
How do you keep parents updated on the child’s progress?
While this may be a more general question for all therapists working with children, it may be especially important to you if your child is having trouble building a relationship with you. If you feel it is important that you stay well informed about your child’s progress and ways you can help them, then you will want to be sure the therapist has a plan to keep you informed.