Monthly archives for October, 2019

Finding an Adoption Competent Therapist

Finding an Adoption Competent Therapist

Therapy.  In our society, there is often still a stigma attached to the word.  As if it is a bad thing.  Or, that it must mean ‘things must be really bad for him/her/them if they are in therapy.’  This could not be farther from the truth.  Much like you go to the Doctor for regular check-ups for your physical well-being, going to a counselor for your mental health is just as important!  So kudos to you for taking this step for the sake of your child’s mental health!

We recommend therapy for all adoptive families, regardless of whether or not they are or their child is in crisis.  During the pre-adoptive training at Madison Adoption Associates, our families are required to identify an adoption competent therapist in their area.  How do you identify such a therapist you ask?  We recommend that you start by asking your agency!  We have an abundance of resources and contacts, that we are happy to share with you!  But what happens if we do not know of a current therapist in your area?  Don’t worry!  First, develop a list of therapists that you want to reach out to.  To develop that list, ask others in the adoption community, your family doctor/pediatrician, check your insurance list of providers, and sometimes an internet search can point you in the right direction.

Once you have your list, here are some general points to consider when interviewing a therapist to see if it is a good fit for your child and family:

  1. Start with simple – Ask them if they have experience with adoptees and adoptive families!  Specifically, as it pertains to your situation (international, older child, infant, special needs, etc.)
  2. Ask how long they have been in practice.  If it has not been long, ask about his or her mentor/supervisor, and include him or her in these interview questions.
  3. Ask if they are trauma informed.  You should be generally familiar with what that phrase means at this point, thanks to your pre-adoptive training 😊.  So, a few sentences from the therapist in response to the question ‘are you trauma informed’ should provide you with enough insight to know if they truly are.
  4. Ask them if they are familiar with TBRI/Karyn Purvis, as a therapist’s knowledge of the existence of TBRI will shed some light as to whether he or she is adoption competent.  They do not necessarily have to practice TBRI, but their knowledge of its prevalence in adoption work is telling.
  5. Along those same lines, ask them what modalities they utilize.  And if you are unfamiliar with those that they use, ask them for more information about them! Better yet, do your own research prior to contacting therapists regarding different modalities.
  6. Ask about his or her approach to child therapy – are the parents included in sessions?  The whole family?  Or is it just the child?  You know your child best, so you know what will most benefit them, be it solo therapy, or with you included.
  7. And then of course the logistics – How often?  Where?  How much (insurance will factor in here as well)?

Therapy is only as good as the therapist-child-family relationship – it is crucial that it be a good fit!  If at any time during your search it just does not ‘feel right,’ it probably isn’t the best fit!  Keep searching.  And do not ever hesitate to reach out to your agency if you are having struggles finding the right therapist!

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting.  One simple word can have so many not-so-simple meanings.  Yes, of course you can be ‘waiting’ in line at the check-out, or, you can be ‘waiting’ for the commercial to end during your favorite show.  Such trivial times of waiting.  But waiting nonetheless. 

Then there are the bigger meanings of waiting.  Waiting for a child to arrive, by birth or adoption.  Waiting for a special holiday or vacation.  Waiting for a cure.  Waiting to see a loved one on earth, or in heaven.  Waiting can be an inconsequential word, or a monumental one.

But what does the word mean to the children who wait?  We often call them ‘Waiting Children,’ as they are waiting for a family.  WE know what that means, just like we know what all the other examples above mean.  WE know what the importance of family is for a child.  WE know that their waiting is of the monumental definition.  But so many of them have no idea what they are waiting for.  Sure, they might have some fundamental understanding of what a Mom and Dad is, but they don’t truly know what family means until it happens for them.  And even then, it’ll take time as part of a loving family before they fully understand what family means. 

Vaughn, 1 1/2, waiting

But just because they might not fully grasp what they are waiting for, does not negate the magnitude of their wait.  It might even make it more monumental than some of our waits.  Our waits can be challenging for us because we understand the magnitude of what we are waiting for.  They do not know that for which they wait.  But they wait just the same.  Some wait forever, and never get to the other side of that wait.  And for those children, my hearts aches.  But for the ones waiting now.  For the ones waiting today, and tomorrow, and the next day, I have hope.  Hope for them, and hope with them, that their days/months/years of waiting will come to a joyous end.  An end that will only be the beginning for them, and their forever family. 

Shannon, 5, waiting

So trust in the wait sweet ones.  Trust that what you are waiting for will be worth it.

At this moment, Madison Adoption Associates is advocating for hundreds of Waiting Children, with access to thousands more.  These children wait, day in and day out, for their forever family.  Every day you wait to make the call, is one more day they are forced to wait without a family.  Make the call and start the process, so that their waiting can end.  Call us at 302-475-8977, or email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org.

JJ, 8, waiting

Finnick, 4, waiting
Easton, 8, waiting

Adopting a child with Down syndrome – a family’s perspective

Adopting a child with Down syndrome – a family’s perspective

Thank you to Jenna S. for sharing their family’s story!

Down Syndrome adoption.  It sounded terrifying. There was NO WAY we were equipped to parent a child with Down Syndrome. We both work full time and were just a typical family.  Other than being teachers, we did not have a lot of experience with special needs. We also already had 3 very active boys (ages 12, 7, and 3) who were hard enough to keep up with some days. Adding a child with possible lifelong needs, multiple therapies, and learning disabilities was what everyone seems to hope their children DON’T have to endure.  We couldn’t possibly consider this. 

But the need was there. The need IS there. And it is HUGE.  These children are so very worthy of love and a family. They have so much love to give in return. To know someone with Down Syndrome is to know unconditional love.  After seeing all of the sweet faces being advocated for, I could no longer say no.  Without families stepping forward, their futures are bleak.  The possible lifelong needs, the therapies, and the academic struggles no longer seemed like such a burden. Saying “no” suddenly became way more scary than saying “yes”. 

We adopted our 2 year old daughter with Down Syndrome, Meilyn Joy, from China this past August. She is an incredible blessing to our family. Our hearts melted the moment we met her, and we knew without a doubt that she was meant to be ours.  She is sweet, hilarious, easy going, and smart.  Seeing her meet milestones and experience new things fills us with more pride and happiness than we ever knew was possible. She loves her 3 older brothers, and they absolutely adore her too. I actually worried about how adding a child with Down Syndrome would affect our other children. But I truly believe that she has already and will continue to make them better human beings. They are more patient, empathetic, and selfless because of her. They see others with different abilities and now realize, that like their sister, they are really more alike than different too. 

Our world has suddenly become so much brighter because of Meilyn, and we are excited to see how many more lives she touches. Her future is so bright and we can’t wait to see all of the things she is going to accomplish in life. We are so thankful that we said yes. WE are the lucky ones to get to be her family and we can’t imagine life without her. 

In celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to be able to offer an ADDITIONAL grant (many of our Waiting Children already have grants) of $1,000 to any family who applies, contracts, and commits to adopting a child with Down syndrome during the month of October.  Please email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org for more information.

MAA Adoption Programs

Madison Adoption Associates currently offers international adoption programs in the countries of China, the Philippines, and Bulgaria. Our programs mostly focus on placing children who have special medical needs.
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