How can I choose an adoption counselor?

How can I choose an adoption counselor? 

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  • Answer ✓

    Choosing an adoption counselor is probably one of the hardest parts of the adoption process. It is also one of the most important parts. This is because adopting a child is a very personal experience and has a lot of emotions that go into it. Most likely, there is a personal reason why you are choosing to adopt a child. In some cases, it is because you are unable to have a child of your own, and that is a very emotional experience to go through.

     When you are deciding an adoption counselor, I would suggest meeting with more than one agency, if at all possible. That is because you share your entire life with the counselor. You will share your childhood, your marriage, your relationships, your feelings about parenting, your feelings about adoption, and many other topics. You will want to make sure you feel comfortable sharing all of those details with the counselor.

    You will also want to make sure your adoption agency will be able to fit your needs. Some agencies only work with open adoptions. If you do not feel comfortable with an open adoption, you should probably find a different adoption agency. The same goes for international adoptions. Some agencies do not focus or do international adoptions. If you want to pursue an international adoption, make sure your adoption agency specializes in that country/or international adoptions.

     Some questions that you may want to ask your adoption counselor from the beginning are: what is the cost of the process; what is the expected “wait time”; what will our communication look like; how often will we meet; do you do open or closed adoptions; do you have counseling services offered to potential adoptive parents; how many families are on the wait list; what expenses will we be required to pay; what is our eligibility for being able to adopt; is there any additional resources you offer to adoptive parents; how many adoptions does your agency process in a year; how long as the adoption agency been around; how long has the social worker been employed there; do you have any financial assistance? Some of these questions will be able to be answered just by going on to the agencies’ website. But you should go to your first meeting with your counselor with questions prepared.

     Here are some additional website that will help you in the process:

    I also suggest talking to other adoptive parents, if you know any. Sometimes the best referrals come from someone who has used the agency in the past.

  • DeeDee
    Answer ✓
    Hi Jordan,
    Since this is a thread on Adoption Parenting, I assume you've already adopted and are looking for a counselor for your child. As you know, adoption brings with it a host of challenges and it's a great idea to seek professional help when necessary. I commend you making this decision for your child and family.

    First, many counselors/therapists can help your child and family cope with grief and loss, identity issues, attachment, ADHD, ODD, anger, etc. However, for the best results, it's important to find someone who specializes in and/or is knowledgable of the potential issues that could arise in an adopted child. To start, I would recommend contacting your adoption agency and ask if they know of a good adoption therapist. Because they work with adoption everyday, they often have a list of valuable resources for adoptive parents. also has some great information for you, as well as an Adoption Directory, where you can search for a variety of professionals in your home state. You can access it HERE.

    Here's also a guide on Finding and Using Postadoption Services:

    Depending on your child's age, you might also find these articles helpful:

    Does My Child Need to Meet with a Therapist
    It Helps to Have a Brilliant Therapist
    All About Therapy for Older Adopted Children
    The Need for Support After Adoption

    To help reassure you, most children and families who seek counseling do improve over time. So whatever issues you're facing, please know things will likely get better. I don't know your family situation, but every adoption has some trauma/loss associated with it. Even kids who are adopted domestically at birth, at some point, grieve the loss of their birth families and may become sad and/or angry — especially as they reach their adolescent/teen years when they're trying to form their sense of identity and belonging. This is normal. Of course, if your child was adopted from foster care, he or she may need to heal from past trauma and abuse or even the effects of being exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero. These issues are common and can be addressed successfully in therapy. You are not alone! 

    Best of luck to you and your family!

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