Sunday, June 20, 2010


Well we've had several sessions with the counselor now... and the jury is still out as far as I am concerned. To be clear we are not going for attachment therapy - we really do see many positive attachment behaviors from her and while there is a long way to go neither the counselor or I think there is too much he can do to make it happen - time and prayer are what is needed. So then why are we at counseling you might wonder - Alem has some very serious fears... she is beginning to conquer them (and no the counseling has nothing to do with that, we have been working hard) but we felt that we needed some guidance in making the best choices to help her get over her fears and begin to trust that her new family was safe. This seems to be hard for her, in part because as some point in her past she was not safe. Older child adoption comes with many unknows - and trauma history is a big unknown. We have no idea what happened in her past or how it affected her, and there is no way to ask her... not because she doesn't have the language for it - she does (well at least for some of it), but because if she isn't ready to talk about it then she isn't ready. Either we aren't "safe" yet or she is choosing not to remember. It doesn't really matter.... except that we need to help her to manage her fear and conquer it so that she isn't held back in any way. So she does play therapy - she plays and interacts with the counselor and he makes observations and suggestions to me. We are going to give it a few more weeks and see if something good shakes loose.

The thing is that if she were the way she is now when she was home a month I wouldn't even think about counseling... but at a month home we were so falling apart... we have done alot of hard work to get her here and if there is any help or suggestions someone who sees traumatized kids on a regular basis can offer then we are going to take them up on it. Mostly he says that we are doing a good job - doing all the right things to help her - and that it takes time, we are expecting too much too soon. (LOL to that as seriously if he were living with her he'd be pushing her hard to get better and move foward too.)

We are believing that God will heal her heart and in the fullness of time she will learn to trust, to love with out fear, and to rest peacefully in Him.


Andrea H. said...

You said it so elegantly in your last paragraph. God will heal her heart. She just needs much more time than some children do.

Tammy said...


As I was reading your post, I was going to suggest play thereapy but looks like you are doing that. I know of others who have had great success with this. You maybe already know about this book but just in case: Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. I saw her speak at a conference recently - her techniques have proven to work for the most difficult behaviors.

The good thing is that you are seeing progress. I strongly believe that you are getting her the right help with play therapy. Our therapist suggested that attachment will come better too once a child can express their past trauma through play and/or grieving.

You are doing a great job!! Look forward to each progress report!


Shannon- said...

I hope this all works out. As you know I have no experience in Older child stuff.. but I do with therapists. Do not be afraid to wonder if perhaps it isn't the 'right one' for your family. Finding the right one REALLY makes a HUGE difference as far as I'm concerned. I'm not judgeing saying this one isn't (how would I know)- just wanted to make sure and put it out there.. that sometimes it isn't that 'therapy' wasn't helpful.. but that the right therapist wasn't in the room.

Bonnie said...

many thanks guys! Yes we actually do like the therapist and think he knows his stuff. It is just hard to wait for play to reveal and heal...

Thanks Tammy - I do know the connected child and some of her advice is really good. Some of it little miss would walk all over us... it is a balance to know what the right approach is on a given day.

Our journey following Christ said...

Sounds so stressful. I know you are wonderful parents and we serve a mighty God. He will give you wisdom to parent and love her.

I know, it cannot come soon enough!

Hugs and blessings,