Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

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

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Adoption allows me to experience success as a trauma therapist.

IMG_0037Last week I was in Hong Kong training and consulting for a group of dedicated and talented psychologists, and I discovered that the abused children in their care had an additional obstacle to their healing.  Adoption is not a part of the culture in Hong Kong. Although I don’t have statistics regarding the prevalence of adoption around the world, I know that it is not a part of most cultures the way it is in our country at this time. I have new gratitude for the way families in the U.S. have embraced adoption as a meaningful way of building a family, whether through infant adoption or through U.S. foster care or overseas adoptions.

Children who remain without a family after losing their biological parents due to illness, death, or abuse continue to suffer. Children need the presence of safe attachment figures in order to open up emotionally and heal.  They need to be in the protective care of parents who love them in order to get back on the trajectory for typical emotional, social, and cognitive development.  They need to see themselves reflected through their parents’ loving eyes in order to develop a positive sense of self.

Since my husband and I adopted our middle child from overseas almost thirty years ago, adoption has become an increasingly important part of American culture–so much so that we don’t blink an eye when we see a family that is made up of various skin colors or eye colors.  In this context, even the most traumatized children have a chance for healing and living a productive life.  It is because of the many families who celebrate adoption as a way of life that I can experience real success as a trauma therapist.

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