Jo Gore – JoGoTherapy
I am speaking as an adoptive parent and as a psychotherapist.
In my view, intercountry adoptees (any adoptees actually) need their adoptive parents to understand about attachment. Before my first daughter came along I was ignorant of the need for building attachment but I researched it and came to see how attachment needs to be intentionally built between an adoptive parent and their child/ren, and that this takes years, not days, weeks or months. Adoptive parents, in my view, also need to understand that separation from the birth mother/family is a traumatic event and has ongoing impacts which can be mediated if attended to.
My observation of many adoptive parents is, despite their best intentions and their deep love for their child/ren, they are not aware of the significance of intentionally building attachment with their kids. Perhaps they believe or at least hope that their children will automatically attach after a few days or weeks. As a result the attachment does not develop strongly enough. This is not necessarily evident while children are small however without a secure attachment any child will struggle. This struggle becomes most evident during adolescence as they extend out into the world and endeavour to become independent. What I am observing is that many adoptive adolescent kids are losing their way, some in quite heart breaking ways. Homelessness, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and significant relationship issues are some of the fallout I’m observing.
If adopted kids came into a family that had their heads around these key needs of their adopted children, this could make a huge and positive impact on future generations of adopted kids.
I’m not sure about funding. There needs to be support for adoptive parents, families and adoptees.
However, my colleague and I have developed workshops for adoptive parents.
We have designed a 3 hour workshop for adoptive parents whose kids are preschool, infants and primary age, covering the topics of attachment, trauma, brain development and the impact of trauma on the brain, emotional developmental milestones, rupture and repair. Plus we have a time of brainstorming with parents to work out together practical was to manage current struggles.
We have designed a one day workshop for adoptive parents whose kids are tweens and adolescents, covering the same topics and with a longer brainstorming section, working with parents to find positive ways to connect with their kids and manage behaviour.
We are also launching a support group for adoptive parents.
Our business is called NurtureWell and our website shows how to contact us.
As I have written in 3.2. Adoptive parents need both practical and emotional support.
Support groups can be run remotely via Zoom or even Google Hangouts though I think Zoom is better.
Webinars of workshops can also be made available.
Outsource to NurtureWell the adoptive parents side of things.
There are many needs and adoptees current needs are essential to focus on.
Short term outcomes are parents feeling connected and supported and that they have somewhere to go to talk about their families, their kids and their struggles and/or be educated about the effects of adoption and the needs of adopted kids.
Long term outcomes are securely attached kids, more harmonious families, more capacity for relationship building.
Focusing on adoptive parents but with the adoptive children’s needs foremost in our minds, the knowledge required is: why attachment is important and how to build this, the traumatic effects of adoption on the brain development as well as emotional, social, intellectual and physical development; how to calm the adopted child’s brain and connect with them, the importance of rupture and repair.
Performance indicators are hard to see.
Interviews with families, surveys, feedback from workshops.