A Creative Solution

September 12th, 2011

1060980_wedding_ringsA good friend of mine, Jessica, adopted a child from China about ten years ago.  When Jessica's daughter was around four, she exhibited a lot of anxiety whenever Jessica left the house.  Jessica would want to pop out for a trip to the grocery store, coffee with her friends, or even a date with her husband, and her daughter would go into a rage, screaming and clinging to her mother, begging her not to leave her.  Jessica had two other children, neither of whom exhibited this behavior, and she was perplexed as to why her daughter would feel so insecure.  And why she would do it now when she hadn't been that way as an infant or toddler. She told me about the… [more]

Big Brother, Little Sister

February 1st, 2010
Categories: Resiliency, Safety, Siblings

Big Brother, Little SisterMy children are daredevils. No, really. Okay, so they're not fearless, but they definitely like to try things out.  "Things" sometimes mean doing something that causes my heart to stop beating for just a second, though. But for the most part, they just tend to dive into any adventure. This pleases me greatly. Here's where my concern lies: Bear is almost four, and he has great balance, speed, and agility. Beauty, however, is almost three and has the speed down-pat, but lacks both balance and agility. This is chiefly due to the fact that she is a toe walker at all times. She is currently enrolled in an occupational therapy program that seems to help out a little bit, but she naturally… [more]

Therapist’s Report

April 18th, 2008
Categories: Resiliency

After a hiatus lasting several weeks (due to an insurance change), we started therapy for our daughter again last week. We met as a family group, and today was our first one-on-one with our daughter and her therapist. The therapist took our daughter in, and said she’d be back out for me a little later. Having done this with our previous therapist, I settled in with my knitting, figuring I’d have a good 45 minutes or so. So, I was surprised when, about 20 minutes later, they came to get me! We headed back to the therapist’s office, and she said, “Why are you here?” with a big smile on her face! She said our daughter is adjusting beautifully, and it’s clear that she is making… [more]

Moms Need Sleep or Depression, Hostility, and Anger May Result

March 20th, 2008

A new study on the effects of sleep indicates that women fair worse from bad sleep then men do. According to researchers men’s health was relatively unaffected by sleep quality. However, women who didn’t get a good night sleep suffered physically and mentally. Physically, poor sleep affected women’s blood insulin levels and resulted in higher levels of markers of inflammation and of fibrinogen. Mentally, the study showed that women who didn’t get a good nights rest had more symptoms of depression, hostility, and anger. What does a woman’s sleep quality have to do with adoption? Many women are the primary care givers of adopted children. If the children were not adopted as newborns then they may have behaviors or special needs associated with early trauma. The… [more]

Resilience of Adopted Child in Facing Adoption History

August 24th, 2007
Categories: Resiliency

Looking Out Over Ocean (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Throughout my series on resilience, I have been primarily focusing on the resilience of abused adopted children. Now let’s talk about the resilience of adopted children who were never abused. They, too, need resilience as they face their adoption histories.

I was quite disturbed when I first learned about the book The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier. In a nutshell, the author asserts that all adopted children suffer from a "primal wound" when they are placed for adoption because their connection with the first person they ever loved is severed. I agree that children experience a loss by losing their birthmothers and that this loss needs to be grieved. Where I part ways with the author… [more]

What Determines Resiliency in an Abused Adopted Child?

August 23rd, 2007
Categories: Resiliency

Little Girl (c) Lynda Bernhardt

In my last post, Is Resilience in Abused Adopted Child a Genetic Trait?, I stated that I do not believe that resilience is a genetic trait. I make this assertion based upon my experience in talking with hundreds of adult abuse survivors from all walks of life who reacted to the abuse very differently. Whether an abuse survivor has become very successful professionally or struggles each month to pay the rent, he faces the same underlying painful emotions. Also, in my experience, all abuse survivors whose sanity did not snap have the ability to heal, make better choices, and redirect their lives.

When I read some of the comments that assume that some abuse survivors do not have the… [more]

Is Resilience in Abused Adopted Child a Genetic Trait?

August 22nd, 2007
Categories: Resiliency

Mother & Child  (c) Lynda Bernhardt

In my last post, Resiliency and the Adopted Child, I kicked off this series about resilience. I shared that a reader named Fenyimom and I had a discussion going on Perceptions of Irresponsible Adult Adopted Child about whether all adopted children who had suffered abuse had the ability to lead productive lives in adulthood.

In the comments, Fenyimom asked me to read a New York Times Magazine article called A Question of Resilience. Here is her comment:

Here's a study that discusses resiliency in people who have been traumatized, and the genetic links that have been found. – Fenyimon from Perceptions of Irresponsible Adult Adopted Child

After reading the article, I have not changed my… [more]

Resiliency and the Adopted Child

August 21st, 2007
Categories: Resiliency

White Flower (c) Lynda Bernhardt

On my post, Perceptions of Irresponsible Adult Adopted Child, a reader named Fenyimom and I discussed our differing views on the ability of adult survivors of trauma to be able to succeed as adults. I take the position that all trauma survivors who have maintained their sanity have the ability to make good choices and heal. Fenyimom disagrees. (I recognize that those whose sanity snapped will have other challenges, but that is outside the scope of this discussion.)

Fenyimom posted the following comment:

My contention is that someone like Amy [an irresponsible adult adopted child with reactive attachment disorder] is not inherently resilient. And that this is a severe handicap. I recognize that you do not agree with my… [more]