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    What is an adoption competent therapist and why is adoption competency important for you as an adoptive parent, adult adoptee, or birth parent?

    A therapist who is adoption competent has completed accredited training in trauma-based adoption issues.

    They should not be using the old Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosis. An adoption-competent therapist will be using a term similar to “Complex Developmental Trauma” or “Complex Developmental Disorder.” Trauma and neglect are both a huge piece of what adoptees have experienced. An adoption competent therapist will recognize that trauma is inherently a part of the adoption journey and will work to help both adoptees and adoptive parents understand the underlying motivations behind feelings and behaviors.

    Why is adoption competency important? It is important for adoptees, adoptive parents and birthparents to identify an adoption-competent therapist when seeking help for mental health issues. The appropriate therapist with the correct training can provide a safe place for members of the adoption triad to explore their current feelings at various stages of life and how it impacts all aspects of their lives and those around them.

    Therapy can help you build stronger attachment.

    Attachment does not always come easily or naturally when raising children. When you are parenting a child with a history of trauma, abuse, or neglect, those experiences can further challenge the attachment process between you.

    The good news is that attachment and attachments styles (insecure, disorganized) are not fixed. It is possible to strengthen attachment and felt connection as well as shift an attachment style from insecure to secure.

    I can help you identify and understand those obstacles that are impeding secure attachment. As an adult, this can help you form stronger bonds with friends, children, and partners. As a parent of a child that has experienced attachment trauma, it can help you understand your child’s behavior and provide hope in increasing attachment and connection.

    What we’ll work on:

    • Understanding your own attachment experiences and how they might be influencing your current relationships
    • Lessening the impact of past attachment traumas
    • Self compassion
    • Recognizing and validating underlying emotions and attachment needs
    • Moving into the openness, responsiveness and full engagement that characterizes secure attachment with others
    What kind of adoption training and certification do you have?

    I have completed the Center for Adoption Support and Education’s 30-hour adoption competency training for mental health professionals.

    What is your personal experience with adoption?

    On a personal level, I am an adoptive mother to a child that joined our family through a trans-racial international older child adoption. I have also been a mentor for adoptive parents and co-facilitated support groups for hosting families.

    How do you approach adoption-specific trauma?

    While each individual’s experience with trauma is unique, I often approach adoption-specific trauma through an attachment lens. I have training in both EMDR and Emotionally-focused Individual Therapy for Trauma.


    What others have wondered about adoption issues and therapy.