Are You Struggling To Break Down Your Adopted Child’s Emotional Walls?

Are your struggling to understand your child? Is it clear that your child is suffering, but you don’t know about what or how to help? Does your heart ache to connect with your child and have him or her accept you as their parent? Has your child acted-out aggressively or, alternatively, completely withdrawn? Do you wish that everyone could relax a little and spend connected, quality time together as a family?

Children who have been adopted tend to have significant abandonment issues, struggle with relationships and have a challenging time connecting with others. As a parent of an adopted child, it can be heartbreaking to have your child refuse to open him or herself up to you. It can be a frustrating experience, too. Adopted children can make themselves difficult to love by perpetually pushing boundaries and testing your commitment to them.

Experiencing Struggles and Connecting Issues With an Adopted Child is Extremely Common

Almost all adopted children and their families experience some level of difficulty. Transitions of any kind can be especially challenging. Change triggers feelings of abandonment and loss. Whether it’s real or imagined, these children desperately need to know that they are loveable and that their lives are not going to be significantly uprooted again – which is what they both fear and expect.

Therapy Can Be Extremely Effective

The first goal of therapy is to decrease the level of fear and intense emotions that your child carries. Once some fear is alleviated, your therapist will help you learn ways to handle life situations and connect as a family.

Your  BPS therapist is highly trained and experienced in counseling for children’s adoption issues, and will help your child identify and address the issues that are causing him or her pain and causing them to withdraw or act out. As your therapist and child develop a trusting relationship, your child will have a safe space in which to explore who they are, how they fit into their family, school and larger community and what their strengths and supports are. Your therapist can help your child see choices and opportunities to connect, which they may not have seen before. For adopted children, therapy can be an opening and empowering experience.

As a family, your therapist can help you access the strategies you’ve been using to connect and dissolve conflict and offer new approaches that may be yield better results. Your therapist can also help you develop a new view of your situation – one that is less frustrating and more optimistic. With help, the right tools, strategies, and an effective therapist, connecting with your child and building a solid foundation for your family is very possible.

But you still may have questions or concerns…

I’m beginning to feel hopeless. Nothing helps. I’m starting to believe that my relationship with my child is always going to be hard.

What you’re experiencing with your child is not uncommon, nor are your feelings of frustration and hopelessness. The good news, however, is that there are always ways to improve these relationships. Therapy can be a very effective way for families to develop bonds. Together and individually, you and your child can learn how to create and maintain healthy boundaries, which are very important for adopted children. You’ll learn better communication skills, ways to calm stress and get clear on what everyone in your family needs and expects. With the right therapist, developing your relationship with your child can become a joyful journey.

And, finding that right therapist – one who both you and your child relate well with in terms of style, personality and expertise – is of critical importance. BPS is committed to helping you find that good match.

I think that my child and I could really benefit from therapy, but I’m concerned about costs.

This is your child’s and your life and wellbeing. Addressing your child’s adoption issues now may prevent a host of problems from occurring as he or she enters new developmental stages, such as adolescence. Investing in their mental and emotional health and ability to connect now can lead to both immediate and long-term results. It can also prevent their difficulties to form meaningful relationships from getting worse and interfering with all aspects of their development as they get older.

Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with children’s adoption issues or who they or their child couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a increase the likelihood of a good fit, BPS offers an online therapist directory and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced to treat adoption issues and whose personality is a good match for you and your child. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to your child, yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine everyone in your home feeling and functioning better now and in the long-term on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.

My child has completely withdrawn. I don’t think that he or she will open up to anyone – even a therapist.

Your BPS therapist is highly trained and experienced and has the skills to help your child open up. Your therapist will work diligently to find a way in to relate with your child. As your therapist and child develop a relationship, your child will see – firsthand – that he or she can create a close bond. They’ll learn that relationships can be vulnerable and open, without necessarily being scary. Once this relationship is developed and your therapist has a better understanding of your child, ideas about how you can connect better with your child can be developed. Be prepared for a journey, however, as breaking down walls and building relationships take time. But, in the end, it can be well worth your time, energy and patience.

To increase the likelihood of a good fit, BPS offers an online therapist directory which will help you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and ensure a good match between you, your child and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.

Check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you and your child with a therapist who has expertise working with children and adoption issues.

karen-wildingBPS therapist Karen Wilding, LCSW helped create the content for this page. Karen, an adopted child herself, has been working with children and families on adoption issues since 1986. Karen also has extensive experience working with adolescents, adults, and families.