Archive for July 13th, 2012
I Know a Good Therapist
Sometimes people hesitate to adopt because they think they won’t be good enough.
The children have already been compromised by abuse and neglect. The child welfare, mental health, education and court systems have let them down. Won’t it take really incredible people to be their parents?
We are tempted to think the children deserve super-moms and super-dads, given the trauma they’ve survived. But if we wait for that, they won’t ever have stability and love.
Helen Costello says that happy endings only happen in fairy tales. Then she goes on to say that happiness in some stories come after trials and turbulence.
And she should know. Helen has been an adoption professional, teacher, psychotherapist, and child welfare worker for as long as I have worked in the field. She has been an enabling presence in the lives of hundreds of Montana families.
When one family called and asked her to come and get their adopted daughter, Helen didn’t panic. And she didn’t get angry. She just said, “I can’t. She is your daughter.” Then she made an offer to help them be the kind of parents their child needed. Helen had seen families in crisis. She didn’t rush out and remove the troubled teenager. But she did spend the next two years helping the family get back on track.
One of the chapters in her book, From the Heart, is titled “Parenting.” Helen begins the chapter with a sort of definition of good parenting: “We are here for you! We may stumble, but we will not let you down!”
Helen is a good therapist. The real life stories in her book remind us that it doesn’t take perfection. It takes commitment.
Costello, Helen. From the Heart, Great Falls, MT, 2010.
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