Adoption Competent Therapist Honest Review
The truth is, many of the children and teens C.A.S.E. serves have even harder stories than Red’s. Reading this book could help adoptive parents to face the often painful truths of their own child’s story. It is common for parents to need support from their therapist to understand and process the feelings that come up regarding the trauma their adopted child experienced.
For example, many of the difficult moments in her past that get triggered in the present happened when Red was in elementary school or even younger.
Early on in the story we learn that Red has a seemingly magical ability to create wind when she’s upset, as does her mother. Adults discussing this book with kids and teens can be curious about these moments – “Have you ever felt so angry it seemed like you could knock a tree down with your rage? Have you ever had a special moment in nature that felt really special or comforting to you?”
I will admit, Jackson and Celine set a standard of empathy and patience that might seem too high for most adoptive parents or foster caregivers to meet. While there is at least one scene where Jackson apologizes to Red for a mistake he perceived making, I would have appreciated seeing a few human moments were one of them just reacts in an interaction with Red. It’s helpful for all families, adoptive or otherwise, to see examples of parents making mistakes, taking ownership and repairing the relationship with their child.
Any adult working with or adopting children who have experienced trauma must find the courage to stretch their own heart. We have to stretch our hearts enough to put ourselves in the shoes of a four-year-old feeding their baby sibling or an eight-year-old finding a parent who’s overdosed. This book can help you stretch your heart, especially in terms of understanding how and why kids desperately hold on to the hope of reuniting with a birth parent.
I encourage parents who have adopted older children to read this book first and then read it with or to your child. There are countless moments in the book that may resonate with your child’s story and provide an opening to a deeper therapeutic dialogue either around the dinner table or in family therapy.
Written by Heather Sowers, LCSW-C, Former C.A.S.E. Adoption-Competent Therapist
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