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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fear & Adoption II

This real life adoption story comes from a foster mother. I’ll call her Tina and her 3 year old foster child I’ll call Sam. Tina is new at utilizing the Post Stress Model in her foster home. Sam has been with them for approximately six months. He’s made fairly good progress and at one time Tina and her husband were considering adoption. That did not materialize because the biological mother has stepped up to the plate and there are plans for re-infatuation in the next month or so. Sam had been presenting some challenges lately. These challenges occurred because a three month old was brought into the foster home. The addition of a three month old triggered everyone’s unconscious fears. Everyone’s window of tolerance was decreased. Due to this additional stress, Tina began to question what she was doing. In her emotional exhaustion, she wondered if she should continue trying to connect with Sam because he would be leaving in a few weeks anyway. Her rational was that why increase more closeness for him to grieve? I understand how and why she got to this place. Daniel Segal states (paraphrase) that from studies of resilience, if a child has one care giver that he feels securely attached to, then that one secure attachment will increase that’s child resilience through out his or her life (from the DVD Trauma, Brain &Relationship - Helping Children Heal). I shared this with Tina. I also told her that continuing to connect with Sam and increasing their closeness would actually help him grieve. It would help him grieve not only now, but also in the future. Her closeness with him would continue to facilitate healing in his life. If she allowed her fear to interfere in their relationship between now and adoption time, Sam would experience more rejection. Our fears can easily take us out of relationship with our children. Tina became aware of her fear of not being adequate enough for Sam and the new baby. Her fear took her to a place to cause her to withdraw. She then needed a rationalization to justify what she was doing, which she intuitively knew was wrong. I’m not judging her, but pointing this out as a learning situation for all of us. All we have is what is in the moment. I challenge you ask yourself in each situation with your child - “What can I do to improve my relationship with my child at this very moment?”

To find out more about fear and adoption, review Bryan Post’s book “From Fear to Love” - Parenting Difficult Adopted Children at

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