Sunday, December 21, 2014

Adoptive parent is overwhelmed

Q: I am a single adoptive parent of 8. My children range in age from 3-29. They were all born addicted to cocaine or alcohol; because of this there are educational and behavioral difficulties. Have had 2 in house adoption therapists, but end up questioning myself and nothing changes at home. My children are wonderful, but I don't know how to deal with all the issues. We attend church and have a fairly decent support system, however, some days I feel insane, I also work full time during the school year. Pitman, NJ

Adoptive parent is overwhelmed

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Q: I am a single adoptive parent of 8. My children range in age from 3-29. They were all born addicted to cocaine or alcohol; because of this there are educational and behavioral difficulties. Have had 2 in house adoption therapists, but end up questioning myself and nothing changes at home. My children are wonderful, but I don't know how to deal with all the issues. We attend church and have a fairly decent support system, however, some days I feel insane, I also work full time during the school year.
Pitman, NJ

You probably feel the same kind of insanity anyone would in your situation. Many years ago there was a type of therapy called "network therapy." This was community-based therapy for families in crisis where as many as 50 to a hundred people who cared about this family gathered together. The goal was to assist this family on a very concrete level. The support group would find out exactly what each member of the family needed and smaller networks would mobilize to help each family member.

I don't know anyone who still does network therapy, but perhaps someone at the "Council for relationships" 215-382-6680 could help. And whether you find this kind of therapist, your church seems like it would be a natural venue to offer you the kind of support you need.

If the Minister could organize a large group who would be willing to do the work and help you take care of your concrete needs on an ongoing basis, that might free up some of your time so that you could feel less insane. I also recommend counseling so you can get at least a weekly dose of compassion and guidance.

Dan Gottlieb
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About this blog
Dan Gottlieb is a psychologist and marital therapist and has been in practice nearly 40 years. His career started in community mental health and substance abuse until his accident in 1979 made him a quadriplegic.

Since that time, he has been in private practice. Since 1985, he has been hosting a radio show called "Voices in the Family" on WHYY FM, Philadelphia's NPR affiliate. He was a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1994 until 2008. He is also the author of four books.

www.drdangottlieb.com

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