Adoption Counseling Services

Adoption issues, including an array of adjustment struggles, are a reality that most adoptive parents experience and frequently feel ill prepared to address.  Many adopted children (who are not adopted at birth) have painful histories, including insecure attachments to their care providers, trauma, abuse or neglect.  In these situations, attachment issues may occur. Statistics show that 50 to 80 percent of adopted children display some symptoms of attachment difficulties; however the prevalence of Reactive Attachment Disorder is very low.  As a whole adoption adjustment and developmental issues associated with adoption can be complex in both development and treatment.

Adoption issues and poor attachment can result in problematic behaviors that are manifested in a variety of ways by the child.  Counseling for both parents and children can be beneficial.

Adoption Issues and Reactive Attachment Disorder:  Types and Symptoms

There are two sub-types of Reactive Attachment Disorder:  Inhibited and Disinhibited.   Inhibited attachment disorder is characterized by a child persistently failing to initiate and respond to most social interactions in a developmentally appropriate way and shows a pattern of highly inhibited, hypervigilant or ambivalent responses. For example, resistance to comfort or a girl stares out rainy windowmixed approach and avoidant pattern of behaviors in social situations are typical for a child with an inhibited attachment.  A child with disinhibited Reactive Attachment Disorder displays diffuse attachments, such as indiscriminate sociability or not being selective in attachment figures. In both types, the child does not form any genuine bond.  Some co-occuring issues with attachment disorder include low self-esteem, depression, impulsive behaviors, behavioral problems at school and defiant behavior.

Adoption Issues and Attachment Disorders:  Treatment

It is always recommended that parents with children who have attachments struggles get counseling along with their children.  Since it is very challenging to parent a child with an attachment disorder, parents need extra support and guidance.  Parents are counseled on strategies to show affection, increase connections with their child and how to best meet the child’s needs.  It will take time for a child with an attachment disorder to benefit from counseling, and counseling is typically long-term.

Grace Weyrauch, at McDowell Mountain Counseling, in Scottsdale, AZ specializes in helping adoptive families better understand the adoption struggles they are experiencing and works to support the entire family in their process to healthier relationship development.