the other side of the couch


Mark and I went to see a therapist today. We made an appointment with a great gal who helps adoptive parents with the attachment process. We aren't really having significant attachment issues with Kembe - we just wanted to make sure that we were on the right track, and to see if she had any advice on a few behavioral things we are dealing with. Kembe is transitioning so well- he is an amazing kid and I attribute so much of that to the loving care he had at Heartline. But any child adopted past the newborn stage will require a little extra care in the bonding process. I know adoption can often look like a warm, fuzzy lovefest. And for the most part, it is. But it is also really, really hard work.

We are aware of this, and also aware that therapy is best sought before major issues arise. It's why we always advocate premarital counseling, and why we are so grateful that our foster parenting process forced us into intensive parenting classes before we had children. It's funny how many things in life people are willing to learn about, and yet how much stigma there is involved in therapy or family counseling. Mark and I have been in and out of marital counseling over the last fifteen years. And not because our marriage is "that bad" (although, yikes, there were a few rough seasons in those early days), but primarily because we believe that marital counseling is an important checkup for something that we really value. And since we're in the field, it also makes sense that it is something we prescribe for ourselves as well.

So, today we set out to seek some wise counsel for some of our concerns with helping Kembe's adjustment. We thought we would lay out some of the behaviors we have observed, and walk away with some interventions to try out at home.

Flash forward five minutes, and find me layed out on the sofa with my head in Mark's lap, tearfully recounting my feelings about the earthquake and how it is affecting my ability to be present with the kids.

Damn, she was good.

She cut through our matter-of-fact veneer pretty quickly, and I was reminded that I have a lot of processing to do. But she also gave us some great help with some of our parenting challenges, and we walked away feeling encouraged and refreshed for the work ahead.

9 comments:

  1. Glad you are getting someone to talk to. You are so right. Adoption is VERY hard.

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  2. If I had a dollar for every time Michael and I took the whole two hours of attachment therapy, while the kids were in the lobby watching a movie ...

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  3. It's very hard work. Your family and friends see all the work you put into simply getting your child home and they see that as the hard part when it's really just the beginning. The actual work starts when your child comes home and you begin to be a family. As you well know, hang in there it's so worth the effort!

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  4. would love to hear more about attachment....the "how to" ideas. We are on the waitlist to adopt from Ethiopia and I am reading about it, but would love to hear a personal account of what works....thanks!

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  5. i sooooo need therapy i just don't know how to return home a functioning human being after a session.

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  6. There are a lot of attachment posts on our site...http://growninmyheart.com

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  7. Thank you for sharing this aspect of adoption. This part is not often discussed outside adoption circles. Good luck! We're cheering for you.

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  8. this just reminded me that I need to call our counselor for a pre-placement session! Thanks for practicing what you preach!

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  9. Good for you! We all need support and eyes on the outside to help us look in. Venerability is a gift! You live it and share it honestly.

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talk to me.

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