Saturday, July 24, 2010


Amazingly enough, our week ended as calmly as it had begun chaotically. Something which I am equally grateful for but wary about, because now that I put this publicly out there on my blog, it pretty much guarantees all hell to break loose.

This week in EMDR therapy we worked on "Claiming Narratives." This is cool stuff. To sum it up:

"Claiming narratives allow children an opportunity to experience being loved and valued. It offers them the possibility of knowing who they are and where they belong as part of your family. Through these stories parents claim their children as their own. They define what it means to be part of their family. During this time many children experience a sense of being valued, that someone else is excited to have them as part of their life.

Another important aspect of the claiming stories are that they provide parents the opportunity to tell the child about normal early childhood experiences. Many children who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect think that their experiences were normal. Through claiming narratives, parents have the opportunity to tell the child what their life would have been like if they had them from the beginning.

These stories are not intended to deny the actual events of the child's life. They are simply intended to provide the child with a framework of normal childhood experiences."

For us, we practice our claiming narratives by having the child climb up on my lap with a comfy blanket or lovey (in the therapist office, the child also has headphones on with quietly playing EMDR music.) And I tell the child the story of "If You Had Been in My Belly"

* if you had been in my belly, Daddy and I would have been SO excited.

* we would have bought you a crib, clothes, blankies, bottles, binkies, etc. The family would celebrate and Jimmy would make you a special blankie and Mommy would knit you booties.

* you'd be born in a hospital, and SOOOO many people would come to see you (we list them. It goes on forever, but they love it.) Dr. Kathuria would come to see you and take good care of you b/c she is an excellent doctor that we found for you.

* we'd bring you home. we'd feed you, love you, give you bottles, rock you, never leave you alone, hold you if you needed it (Here we use a little black baby doll, swaddled, with a baby bottle, etc.)

* we'd play games w/you (Here I do "peek a boo" and "where' baby?" and "Patty-Cake." Also I show him the "Here comes the airplane" game when I feed you.

* when you'd get sick, we take care of you. We give medicine and stay up all night to make sure you are okay.

* when you walk, we go to the store and buy you cute little baby shoes (Again, we use the prop here of teeny tiny little baby shoes.)

* and so on and so forth.

While during the claiming narrative the first time took about 45 minutes, we review it each evening. Sometimes I'll condense it, or I'll ask, "what part do you want Mommy to tell you about?" Miles loves talking about his high chair and how Mommy plays the airplane game.

When I spend this time with my sons, their physical changes are amazing. Both boys relax, snuggle a bit more deeply and glow. MY physical changes are amazing. I feel less on "guard," snuggle a bit more deeply. Visualizing them as MY babies who I held and cared for and showed off to the world helps me as well.

The Credit System is continuing to work well. Miles is still in his obstinate state because he's not quite ready (okay, nowhere near ready) to give up his quest for control. While I can't give him all the praise and compliments that I can give the other kids (b/c it still upsets him), the praise and compliments are actually the third step in the "Kodak moment" plan. The other kids are all about the praise and willing to accept it.

For Miles, his negative self-image is so deeply embedded in his soul. He immediately bristles when I merely notice that he's doing something "well." So for now, I just verbally affirm what I'm seeing: "You're brushing your teeth with your purple toothbrush," or "You're eating those juicy grapes. Your face tells me that you think they taste yummy."

Slowly, he is bristling less over just the noticing. At least he is no longer stopping what he is doing when I notice it.

Slowly, but surely, we're moving forward to Step 2. It takes time, but hey, at least time is something we've got.


bbbunch said...

I have tears streaming down my face. As a Mother of 4, I think I take those early childhood experiences SO for granted with my kids. You explaining what you would have done (what you DID do for your bio kids) when they were babies breaks my heart...the thought of this NOT happening to a child, just breaks my heart!

This was a great post. I always enjoy your posts, but this one really got to me. I am glad that Miles is allowing you to notice steps :)

Much love and respect, my dear friend!

Michele said...

Hi, I agree, great post. I have a question about developing the claiming narrative. How do you start it? Do you start with their adoption story? Thanks.