Adopting the Older Child, part 3: helping them thrive

Adopting Older kids who have been institutionalized in an orphanage, or foster home, have lost parents to death, poverty or whatever, WILL NEED counseling when they come to live with you. I know, that seems like a blanket statement, but I'm sorry, it's been proven true, over and over and over again. Sure, you can send them to a preacher who knows nothing about the abuse, neglect or trauma they have suffered, or you can choose to just let them deal with it or not think about it, or as some Christian families like to do, pray about it and then neglect the care of the child's mental health waiting on God to "fix" the child BUT all these ways are wrong and neglectful to the child.

See, the view of mental health in the Christian community is so messed up. We take our kids to the Pediatrician for a bad cough but when our abused, neglected, abandoned, former Orphan child is raging or acting out in extreme ways, we call it demonic or rebellious instead of dealing with the wound, the sickness of their childhood or the Post Traumatic Stress these children are suffering through. We neglect their mental health even though we wouldn't dare neglect their physical health.

It's so different raising a child of loss, grief, pain, neglect and suffering. It takes reevaluating how we parent and in 99% of these cases, we will have to do a LOT of things differently IF our end goal is a loving, God knowing, God loving, whole person. Sure, we may get our adopted children to stop acting out, stop rebelling, get them to act right like the other kids by simple punishment, a few sessions with a pastor, some prayer but that does not mean the heart of that child is filled with the love of Christ and can in turn have healthy, loving connected relationships with others.

God gave an OBGYN the education and desire to deliver babies, He gave the Brain Surgeon the skills to remove cancerous tumors, and the pediatrician the skills to detect an ear infection, and he has also gifted many great counselors in the art of helping these children work through their hurts, their loss, their grieve and the fears that keep them from being able to accept love and give love.

Parents, read, study, take the time to learn yourself how to help your grieving, hurt, maybe abused, certainly traumatized, child. You owe that to him as his parent. He is your child now, get him all the help he needs.

Here are some GREAT links to post adoption counselors, books to read before and after bringing your child home and web sites with great Webinars (online seminars) that can help you be the best parent you can be to your newly adopted older child.

Empowered To Connect has some great webinars and links. Also she wrote The Connected Child which is really great too.

Parenting the Hurt Child a great book that deals with loss, grief, behaviors, etc all related to helping the hurt child.

Adoption Under One Roof
this site covers all aspects of adoption, birth mothers, older child, secular and Christian.

Bienvenue Counseling Service, Lafayette LA. Counselor Jere Miles
Jere is who we took Abel too. If you live in Baton Rouge, it's about an hour and a half drive but she was great. She adopted an older child through the foster system so she has some great insight and wisdom in helping older adopted children.

Baton Rouge Christian Counseling this is where I have worked in Clerical Support for over 9 years. They are a great bunch of counselors. Many work with adopted children.

Murphy Tourner and Associates This is where my friend Dr Roger Butner works. They are here in Baton Rouge and they also have several great counselor that work with children.

Hope for your Family this is Dr. Roger Butner's site. He is a personal friend of mine. He has never adopted but has some great wisdom on parenting in general.


And our newest counselor at MTA, Patti Peters Dowling, really has a heart for adoptive families. She would be a wonderful resource to anyone needing guidance through these waters.

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