Harmony’s ASAP (Adoption Support and Preservation Program) provides therapeutic and support services to parents of children adopted from foster care. ASAP therapist Sarah Collins recently shared this story, the client’s name has been changed.
Debbie, the mother of two birth children and two adopted children, struggled with the concept of claiming. Claiming she would say, like the way you claim your bags when you get off an airplane? To her, the idea of claiming an adopted child was that of routine, logistics necessity.
In the beginning phases of our work together, her belief was that the adoption process itself should be claiming enough. After all, she had taken these children into her home when they had nowhere to go. “Isn’t it obvious to them that I claim them?” But through gentle, purposeful, and thoughtful leading and encouraging, she was able to understand claiming in all its glory. Debbie’s aha moment came to her four months into treatment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon when, during session, her youngest adopted daughter came hopping through the yard where we were chatting wearing her mother’s sunbonnet and garden shoes, both of which were entirely too large for her 7 year old body. “Look at me Mommy,” her daughter exclaimed, “when I grow up I wanna be a super tree fixer . . . just like you!” and she disappeared just as quickly as she came.
Debbie appeared perplexed by the comment at first, but a look of happiness, then guilt, washed over her face. She said, “Huh, never thought of myself as a super tree fixer . . . Isn’t it amazing how the little things make us who we are? I have been ‘claimed’ and have been ‘claiming’ right back all along through the little things. Our favorite thing to do together is prune the bushes and trees. How surprising that we have shared a claiming ritual together that I had no idea was that important to her and totally escaped me until this second.”
To commemorate the occasion, Debbie and her daughter planted a special Azalea bush right in the front of the yard and named it Claimed and Loved . . . so that they may cultivate it together for many more years to come.