There Is Always Hope

Brandi Johnson

Brandi Johnson, ASAP Family Therapist

One of the hardest things for me to hear as a therapist is when a parent tells me that they don’t love their child. I think it’s one of the hardest things for them to admit as well. It’s counterintuitive. It goes against everything we know and every expectation that we have as human beings.

I still remember the first time an adoptive parent told me that she didn’t love her child. I remember almost feeling shocked that anyone could feel that way. That’s when I was new to working in adoption and before I really understood how families are impacted by trauma histories and attachment issues. I did realize, however, how much frustration it took for a parent to feel that way much less say those words out loud. This parent had definitely had her share of frustration parenting this child and I remember her telling me she wanted to end the adoption. That was during my first visit. I thought for sure there was no hope and that this child would be placed back in care. However, I learned a valuable lesson in working with that family. There is always hope.

As I continued working with the family I continued seeing progress. Not only did the child learn different ways to behave, but her parents learned more effective ways of parenting their child based on her individual needs. I was able to educate her parents about the origin of their daughter’s negative behaviors and teach them ways to facilitate attachment with her. I am happy to report that these parents were able to develop a strong bond and relationship with their daughter. I was able to speak with the child’s mother about a year after treatment ended. She reported that her daughter was doing well and that she loved her daughter very much. I’ll never forget her mother saying, “I even LIKE her now!” We both laughed and agreed that this said a lot considering her daughter is now a teenager.

Published on July 24, 2012 by .
Posted in Adoption, Attachment