I hope you had super wonderful parenting when YOU were a child. If you did, then YOU are one of the best people to have chosen adoption. Why do I say this? Besides the obvious (well-grounded, deeply loved, secure at the core), YOU have a sturdy foundation covered in emotional down that can provide at once a stable and soft landing place for your child from difficult beginnings. While it takes every ounce of strength and emotional constraint for you to parent your child with attachment challenges, YOU likely have the inner resources and hardwired brain to whether the storms on your parenting path.
If you had less that secure parenting, YOU may be fiercely struggling to create a safety zone for your adopted child. When you decided to adopt, you may have thought your own difficult beginnings would make you just right for the task. After all, you have been through it. YOU know what it is like to have a tough childhood. This thinking is extremely honorable, however, misinformed. I say this because you may be finding that you are prone to being triggered by your child’s behavior, making YOU emotionally unstable, volatile and distressed beyond your wildest imagination.
When I write these things, of course, I am aware that there are exceptions. If YOU are an exception, I trust you to take what you need and leave the rest.
Personally, I am an example of the adoptive parent from difficult beginnings. YOU already know that because I write about my reactivity all the time. Because of this, I needed to work all the time on myself. I WAS the problem most of the time. My kids were wounded and I contributed to their insecurity by reacting out of my own. Once I truly understood that, I stopped blaming the kids for ruining my otherwise wonderful life. Then, my love and empathy began to grow and I was better able to give what they needed, rather than react when I didn’t get what I needed.
Frankly, I needed their love. They needed mine first to do that. There in lies the rub. To be a healing parent to your child from difficult beginnings, YOU have to love first and for long. If you can do that, your child’s love for YOU will show up…down the road.
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS:
Get more information and reserve your spot here for our upcoming Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop for Parents of Adopted, Attachment Challenged, and/or Special Needs Children in Sacramento, CA on April 25th, 26th and 27th.
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