Lenna Allen, a therapist with Harmony’s Adoption Support and Preservation program (ASAP), shares this family success story.
I stood before my client’s door, gathering my therapy supplies in my arms, when the door suddenly burst open. "It came true! It came true!" little Johnny exclaimed with bright lights in his dark eyes as he danced up and down. I turned to Johnny’s adoptive Mom, and she smiled along with him, nodding her head up and down.
Johnny’s adoptive parents had started working with ASAP through the pre-adopt program. Once Johnny was adopted, they contacted us for in-home services. Johnny had been adopted for a few months, but he had been in DCS custody for 7 years. He was excited about his new family, new home, and new name. Johnny yearned to believe in a "forever family," but he had lived in many placements, including two potential adoptive homes. He looked forward to a bright future, but he also had a past filled with abuse, trauma, and uncertainty.
Johnny’s adoptive Mom had asked me for some ideas on connecting with her son and giving him nurture for the past years when he had none. The subject of family attachment narrative therapy came up: claiming your child by using a story/script of how you would have loved that child when he was born, began walking, started talking, etc. We knew how much Johnny loved his Certificate of Adoption (framed with pictures in the living room). We decided to begin by creating a Birth Certificate with Johnny’s adoptive parents’ names on it, his new name, and his birth date. We let him have creative license with the rest! He chose where he would have been born, what his adoptive Mom and Dad would have said about him, and what gifts they would have given him at the time of his birth.
Johnny stated that Dad would have given him a soft, stuffed dog to play with in his crib. Mom would have made him a soft baby blanket and wrapped him in it. It was a fun activity.
Now, here I stood on the steps of the front door, with little Johnny dancing before me. "Look! Dad gave me a pillow pet doggy! Mom gave me a blanket her grandma made for her! I sleep with them every night!!" Mom’s eyes beamed as she acknowledged Johnny had been sleeping during these summer nights with a blanket wrapped around him and the doggy under his head for a pillow. The love between the two of them was tangible. I saw a child with a family that not only cared for him today, but also strove with initiative to give him a strong foundation. I know their future will be a loving, exciting journeyâ€¦because "it came true!"