Deena McMahon on Adoption
The process of adoption affects every phase of a child’s developmental life. Successful outcomes in adoption work require a professional with specialized training and experience. I am recognized as a national expert on adoption for both parents and children. I work with domestic and international adoptees and their adoptive families to resolve their unique and often challenging problems. My presentations include a training with Dr. Greg Keck from the Ohio Treatment Center at the North American Council on Adoptable Children's all day pre-conference workshop entitled, "Adoption Competency for Mental Health Professionals."
Every kid deserves a family. And there is no such thing as too late. Emotional and mental health problems are typically best resolved in the context of relationships with other human beings — specifically families. A person’s relationship with self, family and community at large comes into play in the treatment process.
I intervene throughout the continuum of adoption services. I take the deep-end child welfare cases — the really hard cases. I work with the kids while they are still in their birth families, and when and if they end up in foster care. I’m often asked to meet and interview prospective adoptive families. And I work with kids in their placements in post-adoption services.
I am hired by social services agencies, birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, guardians ad litem, attorneys, and adoption agencies. I've been doing this since 1981.
Success in this area is where people are able to achieve a level of functioning consistent with their capacity. Lots of people have the capacity to do well but don’t. For some kids, success is stabilization. My goal is to help them achieve their developmental milestones to the extent possible by working with both the kids and the parents. It’s the relationship between the parent and the child that is the treatment diad.
That involves working with parents to gain a better understanding of adoption and lifelong grief/loss challenges for entire family.