Google does not feel like your friend when it comes to finding an adoption therapist. Just a quick search for “adoption therapist” brings up thousands of potential sources, from parenting blogs to therapists’ websites. While some of them are legitimate, many others are scammers and shysters looking to prey on vulnerable families in a stressful situation — or maybe they legitimately want to help, but just don’t have the experience with adoption you need. Therefore, it’s important to know how to find a competent adoption therapist before you jump straight in.
For the purpose of this article, an adoption competent therapist is defined as a therapist specifically trained to handle adoption issues. These professionals practice their craft helping children and families work through the complex emotions and situations involved with adoption.
Start with the Experts
Rather than looking first to parenting advice websites, start with the people closest to your situation: your social worker or adoption agency. Local agencies especially will have a list of recommended mental health professionals or services in your area. If you go through an out-of-state or international adoption agency, ask for adoption agency referrals in your area and utilize the established network to jumpstart your search.
Ask the Professionals
After you’ve exhausted the adoption agency route, consider other contacts you have already established or rooted up in your search to fulfill your child’s other needs. Start with your child’s pediatrician, your family doctor, and your child’s school counselor. Also consider branching out into related contacts, such as local children’s hospitals and outside adoption clinics.
It’s important to note that some of these sources may require that you schedule an in-person appointment. You may be billed an office visit or clinic hours for the consult. Ask about any potential fees upfront when you call so as to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Ask Other Parents
If you’re going through the adoption process, chances are, you follow several parenting websites, are in a support group or three, or know a few other adoptive parents in your day to day. It’s also likely that many of these families have gone through the difficult process of finding the right adoption therapist for their child as well.
Ask for recommendations, both positive and negative. It’s important to get an idea of who might suit your needs – and it’s equally as important to know which adoption therapists in your area would not serve your child or situation well.
Your Insurance Company
While it may seem like a strange request, many insurance companies do offer mental health services, including adoption therapy and related issues. Contact your insurance company and ask for a list of covered providers and any recommendations they may have off of that list.
While Google is a mixed bag in terms of legitimate results, a quick Google search of your finalized list of potential therapy providers will allow you to look up reviews, licensure, and other qualifying factors. While you shouldn’t place your decisions in the hands of Google, it can be a powerful tool.