Britta West is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Clinical Traumatologist located in Burnaby, BC. She completed her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University in 2009. In 2012, Britta completed the Clinical Traumatologist specialization from the Traumatology Institute. Her areas of expertize include attachment, trauma, mental health and behavioural health diagnoses and parenting. Britta provides therapeutic interventions to address these issues in the context of the family system.
Feeding and attachment
The attachment cycle is fulfilled by meeting a child’s physical and emotional needs—feeling hunger, needing attention, being wet or cold—over and over again. Feeding is one of the most reliable and obvious opportunities to help a child feel safe and cared for, and to build trust, whether you have brought home an infant or an older child.
Claire's 10-year-old son was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her other son, Ethan, joined their family just over a year ago, when he was seven. Ethan was born in Canada and entered government care at age two. All names are pseudonyms. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the "fast and furious learning" that she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child.
Meet Claire, an adoptive mom of two boys, who shares the “fast and furious learning” that she and her family experiences when they adopt an older child. Claire's 10-year-old son was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her other son, Ethan, joined their family just over a year ago, when he was 7. Ethan was born in Canada and entered government care at age two. Read on for Claire’s lessons in extreme parenting.
Claire's 10-year-old son was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her other son, Ethan, joined their family just over a year ago, when he was 7. Ethan was born in Canada and at the age of 2 was taken into government care, where he remembers at least three sets of foster parents over five years and acquired two behavioural designations – reactive attachment disorder and severe adjustment disorder. Read on for Claire’s lessons in extreme parenting.
I have always been anxious.
I didn’t recognize it until my mid 30s, when I went through full-blown, severe anxiety and depression. After months of hell, I saw the pain as the message it was: “you need to change.”
Like many of you, the first two years home with our daughter involved sleepless nights and restless days with a tired, hyper-aroused toddler. It was during those early years that I began my informal education in trauma and the brain, attachment disorders, positive parenting, and floor time.
Is it lying? No, it’s confabulation and there’s a big difference!
Time and time again we hear from adoptive parents that one of the hardest behaviours to take is children lying to them. They experience the lie as a personal affront, a show of disrespect, and a harbinger of anti-social behaviour to come. There are many reasons why adopted children may lie, ranging from the fight or flight reflex, fear of rejection or punishment, to delayed development. It is not uncommon, nor is it usually something to be alarmed about.
Can we predict which of our kids (or kids waiting to be adopted) will be able to live on their own, in whatever manner we think people should as adults?
When I talk to adoptive parents who are considering adopting from the foster care system, they often say they will only consider a child who will be able to live independently as an adult.
I think that was one of our criteria the first time we applied to adopt, too.
In part one (see: Boundaries: Keeping families safe), we talked about the need to make our expectations for behaviours explicit to children who are new to our families. We also discussed how some children, especially those from foster or institutional care, may have had multiple caregivers, all or some of whom may have been relative strangers. It is not surprising that such children may seek affection indiscriminately from adults or children they have just met.