Most members of the adoption triad find it helpful to use the services of an adoption-related counselor as they navigate their journey. Choosing a therapist can be tricky—here are some tips to help you find the best counselor for you.

Choose One That Works for You

Birth parents have different needs than adopted children or prospective adoptive parents—make sure the therapist you choose has your best interests at heart. If you are provided a counselor through your agency, don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you are getting the best advice for you.

Make Plans in Your Sessions

Your therapist should initially work up a treatment plan with you—a tool to help guide your sessions. If you are an expectant parent, this plan should include exploring all options available to you, including ways to possibly raise your child yourself, while an adoptive parent may have a treatment plan that includes help on how to navigate an open adoption. Whatever your treatment plan is, it should be helpful to you. Don’t be afraid to refer back and make changes should your needs evolve.

Listen to Your Gut

You may not click right away with your therapist, but if you feel warning bells going off in your head—find a new counselor. Listen to your intuition; change doctors if you feel like you are being railroaded or dismissed.

Ensure Your Counselor Has Adoption Experience

Adoption has its own set of issues—you shouldn’t have to educate your therapist or rationalize your choices to him or her. Most counselors will list their specialties on their websites; if you don’t see adoption listed, consider finding another doctor.

Don’t Forget the Kids.

No matter what the songs say, love is not enough—your child will most likely have some issues to work through as he or she gets older. Don’t be afraid to introduce counseling if things get rough. Being open and honest with your child about the adoption and about the tools available to help him or her will go a long way.

Written by Jennifer Galan