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At Pono Roots we know adoption. In fact, we would venture to say we know adoption so well that we are, well, kinda experts.


Pono Roots was founded by Kristine Altwies, who, for 30 years, built and ran Hawaii International Child adoption agency. She grew up knowing adoption as a way to build a loving family, and is the mother of five children, some of who joined her through adoption.  Pono Roots therapists have personal as well as professional connections to adoption. 

Here are a few things you can expect from your Pono Roots therapist who specializes in adoption. We know that:

  • Adoption is a lifelong journey

  • Adoption is different for everyone involved in it, there is not just one adoption story

  • The adoptive process can be emotionally and financially draining (we understand the actual process of adoption!)

  • Parenting a child who is adopted involves much of the same love and understanding as any kind of parenting, but can also require additional awareness of issues of abandonment, attachment, shame, culture, trauma, (un)diagnosed medical, emotional, social issues, just to name a few.

  • Parents of adopted children may feel overwhelmed by paperwork, how to navigate the educational/medical systems

  • Parents of adopted children may spend a lot of time explaining things to other people, not finding answers (we have answers!)

  • Marriage can be tough in general. Marriages which experience the stress of infertility, the trauma of loss, varying degrees of partner life priorities; or challenges with parenting can be even tougher. 

  • Individuals or couples who are considering creating or expanding their family through adoption (or other non-traditional methods, do better when supported by mental health professionals. 

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Supporting children and families in adoption

Families that are built or added to through the adoption process, are in many ways just like any other family, and in crucial ways very different. While no two adopted people experience life, loss, or love exactly the same way, many tell us that certain challenges and issues arise that bear noting and comparing.

If you were adopted as an infant or an older child, if you have adopted and are or did raise an adopted child, or if you lovingly placed a child for adoption, you are a member of a unique triad. Issues of abandonment, trauma, loss and grief, regret and guilt, attachment, control and relationship, identity, culture, fertility, and ancestral stories may be some of the topics warranting discuss or questioning in treatment. 

In some cases members of the triad might not be sure what exactly is causing internal agitation. 

We are here to listen and support. We won't pigeon-hole you, or pathologize, we'll listen and learn from you. Once we've figured out where the source of the pain may lie, we will get to work.

If you are interested in adopting a child or are seeking support services to help you with an adoption process, please contact our colleagues at A Family Tree.  

For comprehensive adoption services, including home studies, and child placement, please contact A Family Tree. 

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808 589 2367

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