Is this about adoption?
This is such a sticky wicket, isn’t it? Adoptive parents will come in to see me, and that is the question they ask themselves, and me. And, of course, I can’t really know for sure, no one can. I can’t find the answer in a book, like a math problem. It’s subjective, so in a way, there is no right or wrong. You could easily justify it both ways, right?
Let’s take “abandonment” issues, for example. A parent brings in their child or teen and asks me if this is about abandonment issues, or if this is about something else. And, as their story unfolds, I listen and sift. And, as I’m doing this, that is not the only question that I hold – is this about adoption. The other question that isn’t always part of the discussion, but that is always a part of me, is this:
Where is the most potential for change? There is some truth to framing an issue, but much of it is narrative. And, which vantage point of their narrative has the most potential for change in the family? Change through understanding, or learning, or accountability, or expectations?
Example: child is having rages and parents wonder if this is about her fear of abandonment. In their story, their narrative, I can see, yes, it probably exacerbated by her fear of abandonment. But, if I were to focus on that with these parents, the problem wouldn’t change, and may even get worse! What they needed was to expect more of her, to set clear limits and boundaries and to toughen their resolve. Interestingly, as we worked on accountability, etc., her fears of abandonment lessened.
Where does change begin?