I’m not really sure how I feel today went. The session lasted about 2 hours. The therapist talked a lot, in fact I was quite surprised at how much he did talk, I thought therapists listened!
(I’m going to write this in 2 parts because that’s how I felt the session was structured, plus, it would be too long otherwise. So part 1 will be about me, part 2 about my girls.)
We talked about the girls but we also talked about me and some of the challenges I face as an adoptive parent. It was nice to have someone who understood these challenges but I couldn’t help feeling I was being ‘therapized’, was I?!
We talked about how one of the biggest challenges an adoptive parent faces is dealing with non adoptive parents and their advice and opinions. The therapist brought this topic up, did he sense it was something I’ve struggled with or is it just that common?! He used a particular phrase quite a lot, it was one I liked and one that made me feel he was on my side. (Incidentally why do I feel like there are sides?!) He said ‘parenting an adoptive child is nothing like parenting a birth child’ he described the differences as ‘enormous’, ‘vast’ and ‘incredible’ and whilst he acknowledged that parenting on the whole was challenging, he felt the challenges faced by adoptive parents were something very different altogether. He talked about how well meaning friends and family and fellow parents can inadvertently leave an adoptive parent feeling ‘to blame’ ‘at fault’ ‘incompetent’ ‘a bad parent’ ‘useless’ and many other number of negative feelings because they’re unable to understand the differences in parenting an adopted child compared with how they parent their own child. So whilst he agreed that they are right to say and think that love, nurturing and stability are something that adopted children need, he also thinks they are naive to believe that those things are enough for our children because they’re not.
A baby in the womb can feel/sense negative vibes and these can impact on the type of child/adult they become. A baby given away at birth and never told about their adoption, will know they are different, they just won’t know why. They’re likely to grow up with feelings of abandonment, poor self worth, low self esteem etc it won’t matter how much their adoptive parents loved them, it can’t take away those innate feelings.
Love is not a fix for everything. They won’t forget, it is who they are, its their identity and that shouldn’t be taken away from them.
My girls have all these feelings, they feel alone in the world because they are unattached, its frightening, they don’t trust adults, they’re hyper vigilant, anxious and scared. Even though their memory’s of their past are fading fast, these feelings inside will stay with them, some of them perhaps for the rest of their lives, some of them will lay dormant and only stir as they pass a certain anniversary or milestone throughout their lives eg motherhood could stir up a lot of feelings for them.
Parenting a child like this is not easy, I’m parenting 3 children, 3 very different children with very specialised needs and love and stability just isn’t enough.
I like that he acknowledged all of this, it made me feel less ‘rubbish’. I liked that he seems to be on my side, again though, I worry why are there ‘sides’ to be on and I wonder who else is on mine.