Ask the Expert Adoption Counselors

Our expert adoption counselors and therapists offer advice and guidance on common issues adoptive families face. If you have more adoption questions to ask, or you'd like to talk more about your own family's challenges, please feel free to schedule a session with one of our counselors.

Top Ten Ways to Beat Cabin Fever: Winter bordeom can be rough! Post-adoption therapist Mandy Jones, LCSW, JD discusses fun and engaging activities you and your children can use to break out of that wintertime rut. 

10 Tips for the Holiday Season: We sat down with Cradle therapist Mandy Jones to talk about tips for handling some of the challenging situations the holiday season presents.

The Unique Aspects of Play-Based Therapy and Whom It Can Benefit Most: Theraplay® certified post-adoption therapist Mandy Jones, LCSW, JD, weighs in on an alternative approach to therapy. Play-based therapy is a playful approach to reframe negative behaviors and aims to build and enhance attachment, self-esteem, and trust in others through joyful engagement.

Heading to School: Cradle therapist Mandy Jones discusses what it can be like for adopted children to head to school and addresses concerns about what to share, how much to share and with whom.

The Importance of Play: The sound of a child’s laugh is one of the best things in the world to a parent. Being the cause of that laughter is even better. Therapist Mandy Jones talks about how you can establish attachment and trust through fun activities.

The Importance of Touch and 4 Ways to Implement It: From day one and forever onward, touch is a very important factor in our lives and a way to connect with one another. Read about the different ways to use it, suggested by therapist Mandy Jones.

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Preparing Your Child for School: Sending your child to school for the first time can be nerve-wracking. To help ease your nerves, Cradle therapist Mandy Jones lists 10 do's and don’ts to help you and your child get ready for the first day.

When Extracurricular Becomes Extra Stressful: In recent years, we have seen a trend in overscheduling children. Cradle therapist Mandy Jones explains why taking a much needed break can be extremely beneficial for our children--and for us.

4 Tips to Have More Summer Fun and Less Bad Behavior: For school-aged kids, summer is a time of freedom and exploration. It can also be a time of dysregulation due to the loss of a schedule and routine. Mandy Jones discusses how to manage bad behavior in the summer.

Disciplining a Young Adopted Child: Adoption Therapist Dori Fujii, MSW, LCSW, gives parents advice on disciplining a young adopted child.

What Your Young Child Wants You to Know: Read about the identity struggles that young children may encounter and advice on how to help them from therapist Dori Fujii.

Should I Discipline My Child Differently Because He is Adopted? Read the response from Adoption Learning Partners online course, Ain’t Misbehavin’: Discipline and the Adopted Child.

Top 5 Struggles for Adopted Kids: Read the list of struggles adopted kids often face when piecing together their identity by Judy Stigger, LCSW, an adoption counselor at The Cradle with over 30 years of experience. Judy is also an adoptive mom.

An Extra Thread: How does adoption weave an "Extra Thread"? Read the response given by Judy Stigger, LCSW.

Talking About Adoption: Do we really need to talk about adoption all the time? Read the response given by Judy Stigger, LCSW and post adoption therapist at The Cradle.

Adoption and School: What do you share about adoption with your child's teachers? What do you wish teachers better understood about adoption? Adoptive parents and adoption experts weigh in.

5 Reasons It's OK to Ask Us for Help: You built your family through The Cradle. Now, a few years later, you could use some parenting support – some guidance. But you’re afraid to come back to us. You’re worried we’ll think we made a mistake and chose the wrong people to be parents. There are many reasons why that just isn’t the case. Adoption Therapists Judy Stigger and Dori Fujii give us the top 5.

Identity Struggles Teens Have When Leaving Home and 5 Ways You Can Help Them: The teenage years can be challenging for any child, but for some adopted teens, the prospect of growing older and potentially leaving home can sometimes add layer of complexity. Read advice on how to help them from Cradle therapist Dori Fujii, MSW, LCSW.

Teens Exploring Adoption: Adoption therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW discusses why teens may need support resources as they piece together their identity, as well as introduces parents and teens to The BEAT. Read Judy's advice and check out The BEAT.

What Your Tween Wants You to Know: Read about the identity struggles that tweens and teens may encounter and advice to help them from Cradle therapist Dori Fujii.

Adoption-related Identity Formation Challenges for Older Teens: For adopted teenagers, the late teen years can be a time of insecurity as they assert their independence, navigate relationships and explore their identity. Cradle adoption therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW helps parents understand some of the tough questions teens may be asking themselves.

Top 5 Struggles for Adopted Kids: Read the list of struggles adopted kids often face when piecing together their identity by Judy Stigger, LCSW, an adoption counselor at The Cradle with over 30 years of experience. Judy is also an adoptive mom.

An Extra Thread: How does adoption weave an "Extra Thread"? Read the response given by post-adoption therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW.

Let's Talk Identity: Who am I? Where Did I Come From? Where am I Going?: How can parents help their kids answer some of these fundamental questions? Read the response given by therapist Judy Stigger.

What to Do When Your Child Wants to Search for His Birth Parents: "I Want to Look for My Birthmom." How can parents support their children while they search? Read the response given by therapist Judy Stigger.

5 Reasons It's OK to Ask Us for Help: You built your family through The Cradle. Now, a few years later, you could use some parenting support – some guidance. But you’re afraid to come back to us. You’re worried we’ll think we made a mistake and chose the wrong people to be parents. There are many reasons why that just isn’t the case. Adoption therapists Judy Stigger and Dori Fujii give us the top 5.

Six Things We Love About "This Is Us": The Cradle reviews NBC's breakout series "This Is Us" which features an adoption storyline.

Why We Choose to Explore the Color of Education: Vice President of Inclusion and Community Development Nijole Yutkowitz explains why discussing diversity in education is important, and why we choose to include a roundtable on the subject as part of our Our Children series. 

Raising Black Boys: An Ongoing Conversation: A recent Cradle and Adoption Learning Partners sponsored Our Children webcast addressed the question: How do we raise young African American boys to become strong and confident men in a culture that can be dangerous, demeaning or damaging to them? Nijole Yutkowitz, Vice President of Inclusion and Community Development, discusses her and other's reactions to what the panel guests Jonathan Peck, Kenard Gibbs, and Kevin Hofmann said. 

"Hope," Blackish and Our Children: Nijole Yutkowitz weighs in on the The "Hope" episode of the TV show Blackish. She considers the impact she felt towards the topic of injustice and racism and her job as a mom to Black children. 

Raising Black Boys Roundtable: We have begun an important discussion: Nijole Yutkowitz reacts to the first Our Children event, a roundtable of distinguished professionals talking talk personally about their childhoods and their fears, as well as their hopes and dreams for their sons and for all children.

The Our Children Initiative: How It Began: Joan Jaeger, Vice President of Outreach and Communications, discusses why we have begun the multi-year long initiative, Our Children, a series aimed at educating families about the realities and injustices their Black children may experience in societal interactions, and providing support to those families. 

Do You Want to Have a Baby? Or Do You Want to be a Mom?: Deciding to grow your family through adoption is not an easy decision. Nijole Yutkowitz made the decision nearly 10 years ago, and talks about the difficulty of this choice.

Caring for Afro-textured Hair: When you can’t help your child with her hair, or when you try to change it, these are the messages you may be sending: “You are different, and we don’t understand you.” Adoption therapist Judy Stigger, MSW, LCSW, gives parents advice on caring for afro-textured hair.

Common Questions About Being a "Conspicuous" Family: "Our family has always been color blind. Why would we teach our children to notice differences?" Read the response given by post-adoption therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW.

Change of One-Child Policy Not Likely to Impact International Adoptions: China has decided to lift their one-child policy, and of the first questions asked by many today was "What will happen to international adoptions?" Read about post-adoption therapist Judy Stigger's, LCSW, response.

Common Questions About Being a "Conspicuous" Family: "Our family has always been color blind. Why would we teach our children to notice differences?" Read the response given by post-adoption therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW.

Answering Tough Questions About Your Child's Birth Country: Countries open and close programs, change rules about who can adopt, and seem to be cavalier about the well-being of their orphaned children. It is typical for children already home to have questions and concerns surrounding these changes. Read some advice on how to answer those questions from Judy Stigger, LCSW, Post Adoption Counselor at The Cradle.

6 Things Birth Parents Wish Adoptive Parents Knew: The Cradle compiled feedback from birth parents to create a list of things birth parents often think and feel, but don't usually express. 

Adoption and Birth Siblings: Advice for Parents: For many parents (adoptive and birth parents alike), talking to their children about siblings who don't live with them can seem tricky. Joan Jaeger, Vice President of Outreach and Communications, discusses some ways to approach this topic with your child.

Challenges to Developing Your Open Adoption Relationship: Understanding the challenges for birth families can help adoptive parents steward this relationship. Cradle therapist Judy Stigger, LCSW, gives us 5 reasons why birth parents might keep their distance.

Why Talking About Adoption Matters: Adoption professionals have told you why it's important to talk about adoption from the beginning. Now hear from a birth mom, an adopted person and an adoptive parent.

Five Ways Openness Doesn't Go as Planned: Openness with birth relatives, like in-law relationships, can be complicated. Cradle adoption therapist Judy Stigger gives the top 5 complications families often run into.

An Extra Thread: How does adoption weave an "Extra Thread"? Read the response given by Judy Stigger, LCSW.

Openness in Challenging Situations: How do you successfully maintain a relationship if a birthparent is exhibiting unhealthy habits or way of life? Read the response given by Nina Friedman, LCSW, Post Adoption Therapist at The Cradle.

Six Things We Love About "This Is Us": The Cradle reviews NBC's breakout series "This Is Us" which features an adoption storyline.

Adoption in Literature and Film: post-adoption therapist Mandy Jone, LCSW, JD provides a list of movies and books with adoption-related themes. It's always good to have some of these on hand.

Finding Dory: Our Mixed Reactions: The Cradle reviews the most popular movie of summer 2016 and how well it explores adoption-related themes. 

Mike and Molly and the Adoption Option: Cradle student intern Sam Spengler reviews the adoption story arc on CBS' Mike and Molly.

"Hope," Blackish and Our Children: Nijole Yutkowitz weighs in on the The "Hope" episode of the T.V. show Blackish. She considers the impact she felt towards the topic of injustice and racism and her job as a mom to Black children. 

Change of One-Child Policy Not Likely to Impact International AdoptionsChina has decided to lift their one-child policy, and of the first questions asked by many today was "What will happen to international adoptions?" Read about post-adoption therapist Judy Stigger's, LCSW, response.

Why We Loathe the Latest Adoption Plot in the MediaMost adoption storylines inevitably take a surreal, overly dramatic and mostly negative twist. The result: Anyone actually touched by adoption ends up thinking, "What the heck?!" The latest is a soon-to-be launched Lifetime movie titled “Deadly Adoption." Cradle therapist Judy Stigger weighs in.

T.V., Your Child and Search: Nina Friedman, LCSW, Director of Post Adoption Support, discusses how to support your tween/teen when he wants to search for birth relatives, and how T.V. plays into it. Read Nina's advice on what NOT to do.

Philomena: Yesterday and Today: Check this review of the movie Philomena by Nina Friedman, LCSW, Director of Post Adoption Support. 

As Seen on TV: What's Real?: Adoption storylines seem to be cropping up everywhere on network television - but many grossly distort the truth. Adoption therapist Dori Fujii offers advice to families on how to manage the "as seen on TV" problem.

Six Things We Love About "This Is Us": The Cradle reviews NBC's breakout series "This Is Us" which features an adoption storyline.

Finding All Your Roots....Why It May Not Be "easier than you think": Director of Post Adoption Support, Nina Friedman, LCSW responds to an Ask Amy column about searching for a birth parent. 

T.V., Your Child and Search: Nina Friedman, LCSW, Director of Post Adoption Support, discusses how to support your tween/teen when he wants to search for birth relatives, and how T.V. plays into it. Read Nina's advice on what NOT to do.

Top 3 Questions about Background, Search and Connection: In 2013, 107 people requested an Informational Consultation, Search or Connection services from The Cradle's Center for Lifelong Adoption Support. Nina Friedman, Director of Post Adoption Support, shares the top 3 questions clients have.

How to Gain Access to Original Birth Certificates: Nina Friedman, LCSW, Post Adoption Counselor answers questions about the new Illinois law regarding access to birth certificates. 

What to Do When Your Child Wants to Search for His Birth Parents: "I Want to Look for My Birthmom." How can parents support their children while they search? Read the response given by Judy Stigger, LCSW, post adoption therapist at The Cradle.

Getting Through the Waiting PeriodThe waiting period may be one of the most difficult parts of the adoption process. Adoption experts—not Cradle staff experts, but other families who have experienced the wait themselves—share some advice on how to make it through. 

Do You Want to Have a Baby? Or Do You Want to be a Mom?: Deciding to grow your family through adoption is not an easy decision. Nijole Yutkowitz made the decision nearly 10 years ago, and talks about the difficulty of this choice.

When Adoptive Families Are Lacking Communication: "I'm not getting the contact and updates from my child's adoptive family that I used to. What can I do? Can The Cradle help?" Read the response given by Nina Friedman, LCSW, Post Adoption Counselor at The Cradle.

Philomena: Yesterday and Today: Philomena is about a birth mother who was forced to give up her child and join a convent searching for her son 35 years later. Check out this review by Nina Friedman, LCSW, Director of Post Adoption Support. 

7 Tips about Adoption: From Birth Parents for Birth Parents: Sometimes the best experts on something are the ones who have personally experienced it. We asked birth parents, "what would you like someone just looking at this option today to know?"

5 Facts About a Birth Mom's Legal Rights: Learn about the rights you have as a birth mother.

Openness Over Time: 3 Things to Expect: Not all open adoptions are the same—and that’s OK.  Here’s five things you might expect in an open adoption relationship.

5 Tips for Birth Parents in an Open Adoption Relationship: Like any relationship in your life, open adoption is built on trust and respect. Here are five tips to keep your open adoption relationship healthy for everybody involved.