Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Minute With Nikki - Therapy

Generally speaking, I work with two kinds of people. Tell me what camp you find yourselves in.

Camp A: Certain your adoption will chain you to a lifetime of weekly meetings with the therapist, so why waste time? Get off the plane, or out of court, and head immediately to the therapists office.

Camp B: Every day is a struggle. You feel alone. You turn to God and cry out for help and still the feelings of being overwhelmed are present every single day. You find that even though you said you knew that the phrase “love is enough” wasn’t true; perhaps you really hoped it would be for your family. But, it wasn’t.  

Readers who know me at all should know that I was Camp A. We had our first meeting with our therapist before our daughter was even home. We met with her a few weeks before we left for China to get some good bonding activities to plan and toys to bring with us. It was extremely helpful and we had a lot of very simple, terrific fun times while we were in country.

After we got home, we kept in touch with the therapist through emails and texts. We waited to meet with her again until the time came that our daughter’s language and development seemed appropriate for our first family meeting. We presented it to our daughter like it was something for our whole family to get to understand one another better. Rainbows and kittens. And that worked for like a second until she told us that she knew that it was primarily just for her and basically described what therapy is. Busted.

But we preserved. We went. Someone had a bad attitude. She told us the therapist had a lot of internal anger and rage and that she didn’t think we should go back to talk with someone like that. But, it was 50 minutes well spent. And I will say that the goals we were working on and the negative behaviors dramatically improved even after just one session. Whenever regression would find us (as it inevitably did) we would just say “Hey, little one, isn’t this one of the things we’re working on with Miss _____?” And the sigh would follow, and the answer would be yes, we would talk, and improvement began.

We had a second session a few weeks after. This one was better. Someone agreed that perhaps she misread the therapist and perhaps her anger and rage wasn’t actually anger and rage. And maybe she was a little nice, just a little. Perhaps her hair was pretty. And maybe she did really want to help our family. And maybe there were things we all should be working on.

As we prepare for session three, we are all planning our goals together. I think everyone has a good attitude going into #3. This therapeutic process truly is a blessing for our family. I can’t say enough good things about it. It is absolutely worth every penny that our very frugal family is paying. We really are growing together, with some help that many of us need.

Just think about it. Consider it. Make lots of calls until you find the right person to help your family. But the important thing is that you see the value in having someone else on your side to help. Sometimes that’s the most helpful thing you can have on a tough day.

Nikki has been working as an adoption social worker for the past 10 years.  The consummate single gal was married in 2012 and started an adoption process to adopt a 10-year-old with special needs from China soon after.  Nikki loves writing home studies in the Western Missouri area and preparing families for the realities of adoption.

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