Parenting an adopted child

Watch Video: Parenting an adopted child by Maureen Donley, MA, MFT, ...
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Parenting an adopted child

Parenting an adopted child is different than parenting a biological child because you have to engage the dynamics of attachment in a very dynamic way. In my case, that meant when we adopted our third child from China, my instincts as a parent, told me that I needed to educate myself and also identify support so that I could learn from other people. That meant going on the internet and finding a fabulous support group, which in turn, led me to other resources. One of the first and most important things I learned in that process, is that attachment itself is a process. Both the parent and the child have been through a lot by the time you find yourself together as parent and child. If you can allow yourself the space to get to know each other, and not feel that it has to be the most perfect bond right from the beginning, then you can have a courtship. Give yourself the space to fall in love, for two people to get to know each other. Its those moments of connection, on a day-to-day basis, form the most attachment.

Watch Video: Parenting an adopted child by Maureen Donley, MA, MFT, ...


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Maureen Donley, MA, MFT

Adoptive Mom & Therapist

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Maureen's practice spans all ages and holds a focus in creative professionals, adoption and trauma work.  She earned her MA in Clinical Psychology with a Child Studies specialization from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Counselor in both K-8 and high school settings and is finishing her third year as a Counselor at the Southern California Counseling Center working with individuals, families and couples. She completed the Family Training Program Certification there, and will hold both TRM and EMDR trauma certifications in July 2013. In addition, she is working with Jeanette Yoffe in a monthly adoption support group on the Westside, as part of her new non-profit, The Celia Foundation, dedicated to all members of the adoption constellation. Maureen also facilitates both parenting and adolescent groups at Dr. Bonnie Goldstein’s Center for Psychological Services on the Westside. 

Before joining the psychology field, Maureen's first love was the arts.  As a producer and studio exec, she was part of the Feature Animation team at Disney during the Renaissance years of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Toy Story. Maureen subsequently had a production deal at Fox under which the animated feature Anastasia was released. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to join the Mermaid team, she was based in New York City.  While there, she was on the faculty at The Juilliard School (Drama Division), and was a visiting professional for the Yale School of Drama. Maureen worked on many theatrical productions as a stage manager including the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Tandy, the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes and the 1st and 2nd National Tours of Cats in Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. She says, "being part of telling timeless tales was great preparation for helping people discover the true stories of their own lives."


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