Flourishing

IMG_7994Here at Poddler’s Creek it really does seem to be Autumn. The nights are longer and colder. The leaves are beginning to change colour and higher up in the range of hills, the changes are even more pronounced. We have had significant falls of rain, enough to fill the tanks and ensure we have no more water worries this year. The grass is beginning to grow and the range of hills to change colour. The bushfire risk is reducing daily and the Summer just gone has been pronounced an ‘easy’ one – no fires except a grass fire in the immediate vicinity, no arsonists at work, no drivers parking vehicles on dry grass and no careless workers using tools they didn’t understand. We now look forward to a wet or at any rate damp Autumn and Winter when plants will grow and if we’re lucky, flourish!
It’s been a strange week in adoptionland and in the world generally, depending on what you’re looking at. It was announced the other day that Twiggy Forest, a Big Miner has the Pope and other religious leaders on board to attempt to eliminate slavery from the world’s production! (http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/twiggy-forrest-joins-religious-leaders-to-fight-slavery/5327286) His intentions it seems are honourable and his use of his billions something we might all be pleased about if his grand plan works. The very best of luck to him in thinking big, going for the most imaginative scheme and not ignoring what life has thrust under his nose. It is clear he is not a Bill Gates with other more murky things on his agenda – think Monsanto – and he seems genuinely committed to doing what he can to stop slavery. I know some of you who read here and are also committed to eliminating slavery from our world will applaud his attempts and we’ll all follow progress with interest.
Another well-known and loved adoptee has died by her own hand this week.(http://www.salon.com/2014/03/18/mick_jagger_pays_tribute_to_lwren_scott/?source=newsletter) I know there are some of you who are critical of reporters and journalists, bloggers and writers who mention that someone in the news is an adoptee and ask what that has to do with anything. In the two recent suicides of well-known women who were adoptees, it may be the key to how they lived their lives and chose their partners, managed relationships and dealt with their adoptions. Personally, I always like to know if someone is an adoptee, because it adds another layer to my understanding, is crucial to grasping ‘where they’re coming from’.
Our back story, our history and life event record, provide valuable clues to who we now are, what our concerns are and what we might be dealing with. I know a very experienced counsellor who asks clients about their birth, their parenting and their parents’ life prior to their birth on occasions. The answers provide valuable information about how someone lives their life and how they avoid living their life, what are the deal breakers, the no-go areas, the sticking points and the big No-no’s. If they say they had a great childhood and that it was ‘normal’, you can be pretty sure there is much to be revealed and to learn it will be a revelation to them.
I have heard about adoptees receiving counselling from people who don’t ask any of these big questions and believe adoption is not relevant! I stumbled across a new blog this week, which gave advice on what to ask a counsellor if you were thinking of trying to work with them. They talked about ‘the adoption triad’. I was truly horrified to discover that the triad is still taken seriously, but especially horrified that anyone giving advice to adoptees could be writing in those terms. Why? Because a triad suggests equality of the members. A situation in which an adoptee has no power, no choice, no say, is not a triad. Mothers might argue the same or a similar scenario in which they had no choice, if they came from some eras of adoption. Adopters too might argue that they were ‘over a barrel’, held to ransom by the adoption industry, the profit making capitalists of adoption. They too might argue that they are at the mercy of the suppliers, Government quotas, agreements and conventions. And so it goes, but however you look at it, a triad it ain’t!
Finding a counsellor you can work with is not necessarily about what books they have read and whether they believe open adoption is better than closed adoption, or about their attitude to current adoption practices. It should not be about their attitudes at all, since a good counsellor isn’t there to let you know their attitudes to anything. They are working with you to help you deal with what is preventing you from living a good life, blocking your progress to happiness or keeping you anchored in the past. They should be working as a facilitator, using their experience and skills to help you learn new techniques for living a better, more productive life, being a better parent, partner, colleague. They should not judge you or your experiences, nor should they direct you or give prescriptions or push a particular barrow of beliefs. If you chose well, you will pick someone who knows about grief, loss, ambiguous loss, trauma, PTSD and how those are part of adoption. They won’t be dismissive of your experience or knowledge, patronising or view pain as a competitive extreme sport, those who offend as ‘animals’ and adoption as a beautiful event. They will listen well, learn from you, be respectful, humorous and never leave you at the end of a session in the bottom of a pit. As a client, you might try not to leave what is really bothering you until 10 minutes before the end of the session, turn up early or late, drunk or stoned and you will have done your homework and understood that it is a vital part of your work because no therapist has a magic wand! You have to do the work, it is sometimes hard and painful and not for the faint hearted. If you cannot face change, wait until you can, because you might not want to waste your time and money.

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