Counseling for Foster Care and Adoption
at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids
Counseling for Foster Care and Adoption
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan
At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI
If your family is looking to foster or adopt a child, or if you already have adopted a child or are fostering it can be highly beneficial for the family to have a connection with a trusted therapist that understands the process and potential issues that can occur during this life-changing process.
Every fostering experience and adoption is unique and is dissimilar from typical situations. As a result, it is important for a counselor to understand childhood development, family dynamics, and the intricacies of the fostering and adoption process.
Whether you need counseling for yourself or your child needs therapy to work through the issues that can come up from an adoption or foster situation, a trauma-informed counselor experienced with adoptions and foster care can provide the support you are seeking. In general, most children go through phases where they experience difficulties expressing themselves to their parents, whether it be difficult feelings, shame, and embarrassment, worries about abandonment, nightmares and flashbacks, anger, etc. Presenting children with the opportunity for one-on-one counseling sessions allows them to work their inner feelings without the worry of judgment. Furthermore, family therapy sessions can help facilitate bonding and emotional closeness between the parents and the child, as well as bring change to the home environment and dynamics.
A final benefit of working with a therapist who is experienced in childhood development, blended families as well as foster care, and adoption are that the therapy office can become a safe and reliable space for the family to come back to overtime. A great counselor can be trusted to provide a nurturing environment for you and your family to work together. Many counselors become trusted, lasting resources for the families they work with and help foster and adopt children and families several times over the course of years.
Recent neuroscience research has demonstrated the devastating long-term effects of early childhood trauma, and ongoing research is being conducted into how children deal with and express grief. Many children who are adopted or are in the foster care system experience a type of prolonged and ongoing grief because they are separated from family members who are not deceased, but are living quite separately from them. People and especially children do not “just get over” grief of this type. Healing requires working with grief, not denying that it exists. Without addressing the grief through a grief group or counseling, time may pass while a child is dealing with inner wounds that are worsening.
It is important for adoptive and foster parents to understand their own grief and vulnerable feelings. Many times, an issue with our child can trigger our own emotions that are under the surface. When this becomes a pattern, it can become a difficult family dynamic.
A therapist skilled in grief and loss and understanding childhood development and family dynamics will be able to help foster parents and their children, as well as adoptees and adoptive parents.
Some common issues facing children in foster and adoptive families:
- Identity Exploration for the child and their new family
- Talking about the foster and/or adoption situation and the family dynamics both in the current placement as well as the child’s family of origin.
- Healing from trauma, abuse, and possibly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Possible behavioral issues that are based on unmet needs, or difficult histories of the child
- Dealing with any mental health issues that may occur.
- Working on developing a healthy attachment to the new parents and/or caregivers
The therapists at Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids and Ada, MI (part of the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids) have extensive training in treating trauma and attachment issues. Adoptive and foster families will feel supported when they work with a therapist at Health for Life.
Counseling for Foster Care and Adoption Issues
Trauma Informed Counseling, Mindfulness-Based, and EMDR Therapy for Children, Teens, and Adults
Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.
Strengths-Based, Solution Focused, and Resilience Therapies for Families, Children, Teens, and Individuals