Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Author, Mental Health Therapist, Researcher, Expert in Attachment Trauma

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I Never Would Have Guessed….

Boy holding onto his motherA child I was working with was having multiple tantrums every day, shortly after her adoption day.  Her mother brought her in, fatigued, defeated, and confused.  The mother said, “I think she is testing us to see if we really love her!”  Certainly, this was a possibility.  But I wondered about grief.  After working with hundreds of adopted children over the years, I have been astounded by the immensity of their grief, and how often grief manifests as anger.   The little girl’s mother was willing to follow my suggestions, and she cradled her daughter and rocked her side-to-side, telling her that all her feelings were normal and OK, and that it was perfectly normal if she was feeling sad.  The little girl’s face crumpled, and she sobbed and sobbed, as her mother stroked her and attuned.  The most important words that little girl heard that day was, “I’m so sorry.”  Finally, her sobs subsided and she relaxed in her adoptive mother’s lap.  By the end of the session we were all making silly faces—she had been able to release the torrent of emotion that had been bottled up inside.  On the way out, her mother turned to me and said, “I never would have guessed she was grieving!”

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