Monday, July 15, 2013

Right Place, Right Time: Continuing My Adoption Education

I do love a good adoption discussion...but while writing the book, along with facilitating an adoptive mom group (which now has 68 local members), and being an adoptive mom, oh yes, while starting up an Etsy shop featuring adoption t-shirts, I was feeling a bit jaded, overloaded, unmotivated, even disgusted, with adoption.

Not a good place to be when my job (writing about adoption) is centered on the very topic I was tired of talking about, engaging with, and educating others on.

Last week we had our monthly adoptive mom meeting.   This time our meeting was at a member's house with a special speaker:  an attachment therapist.  We all sat in a circle, plates of snacks on our laps, chatting with those sitting next to us:  old friends mingling with new.     Mamas with many kids (7), mamas with no children, mamas with bio kids, mamas with adopted kids, mamas of kids with special needs, mamas of foster was a diverse group. 

The attachment therapist is incredible.   It was like she knew exactly what to say.   Everyone was nodding, feeling ourselves grow more and more comfortable with every word she spoke.

She understood us.

She was cheering for us.

It's hard for adoptive mothers to fit in sometimes.   Problems are children experience are sometimes so much more intricate than seemingly similar issues faced by biological children who live with their biological parents.     We can feel (and be) very isolated in our concerns, questions, and experiences.

Here's the #1 thing I came away with:  inspiration.

I felt re-energized.  Excited.  Motivated.

I cannot possibly re-create the experience for you...but here's a few things I was reminded of/learned:

---Children, even those adopted at birth, have faced trauma.   (Check out The Primal Wound).  And this trauma can affect these children in profound ways.    (The therapist shared that there was an experiment once done on 20 young adults, 10 of whom had been NICU babies.   NICU babies often have blood drawn from the heels of their feet.   The scientists would grab the ankles of the 20 young adults.   All 10 of them who had been NICU babies reacted to the heel-grabbing, while the other 10 didn't.  The therapist compared this to children who were adopted at birth.  They may not consciously remember the experience, but this doesn't mean their bodies cannot remember).

---It's so important to have empathy for adopted children when they face tough times.  

---Don't forget to bring up adoption.   To say, "I was thinking about your birth mom.  Do you ever think about her?"   It's ok to bring it up, even when the kid doesn't.

---It's ok to try out therapies that everyone else (aka---non-adoption realm people) doesn't understand.   Unique situations need unique resolutions.

---Attachment parenting is an excellent way to bond with adopted kids.  

---Many criminals are stuck at a very young emotional age, but they are in an adult-size body.   Don't neglect to get help finding out your child's emotional age (to being to heal and attach properly).   Find a great attachment therapist.   It can change your world.

And something I learned (again) just by sitting amidst so many wise women was that support is SO important.   It's easy to isolate ourselves and feel alone in our adoption struggles, but we are NOT alone.   We need support, and it's our responsibility to find it.

Proverbs 18:1

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.

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