Playing Attachment Therapist Forrest Lien

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Feb, 2009

Konnie Stoltz and [Attachment Therapist] Forrest Lien currently sell a set of DVDs made in 2006. These horrific presentations were first made, unbelievably, for professional continuing education.

In them Lien is shown doing Holding Therapy with a young boy, with the boys arm pinned behind Liens back; Lien, who chews gum, massages the heart and head of the boy with a photo of his birth mother — a person he never knew — over the boys face and chest, taunting him that the birth mother is in control of his life.

Stoltz covers a lot of the abusive AT parenting, and includes a tour of her home, showing the alarms on the sparse bedroom. There are signs saying Nut House and Loony Bin.

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A child's compliance

Each time I see these sort of videos, I'm really struck by how much they remind me of brain-washing military tactics used on certain subjects -- torture the person to get the answer you want and promise the torture will end once all the responses follow the commander's wishes.  Fear can be a great motivator, but is it the type of instructional lesson we want to teach kids?  Do we really want to teach them "instilling fear WORKS"?  I don't see that as being mothering or nurturing... I see that as a form of bullying  -- the kind that says the big mean bully will get what he/she wants, OR ELSE.

I never knew my mother, and what I did know about her came from a very jealous woman who wanted and needed 100% loyalty from me.  I have no doubt my amother told me things because she thought those things would scare or repulse me.  My amother's words had an opposite effect.  Everything she told me gave me reason to feel sad and sorry for the woman who still chose to carry and birth me.  As I grew older, I learned how much my amother did not want me talking about or thinking about my first mother.... the last thing she wanted was for me to leave her for "Her" (the Other Woman) or "Them" (the Other Family).  Yes, God-forbid someone takes a mother's child away, and tells that child to hate the parents she left behind.

I can't help but think there's something very pathological about an adoptive mother wanting her adopted child to hate another mother.  Whether that other mother was a drug addict or a victim of terrible circumstances, do people really think we, the fostered/adopted can really remove another person from our hearts and minds?  I have yet to speak to an adoptee who says, "I have no thoughts what-so-ever about my birth-mother."

In time, we may become compliant... we may even seem to have forgotten about "what's-his/her-name?"... but I tend to think 99.9% of all adoptees let parents see what we want them to see simply because we no longer want to endure the actions and reactions of insecure and/or angry parents.  [Note how this mind-game can work both ways.... for the parents we miss, and the parents we don't.]

which shows...

just how wrong adoption can be...
Adoption MUST combine the fact that the child came from somewhere other than the AP's womb.  What I found that made a difference for my older adopted children was my openness about those first parents.  I held nothing back.  Everything I knew, at the proper maturity, was told to them.  We made it a point to pray for each bio parent, every night.  I told them over and over how much I loved their bio parents because they MUST be great people to have made such GREAT kids.  But for the younger ones, the ones who were placed in four other placements before coming home, it hasn't been so helpful.  These kids are struggling to keep bonded in this home (what is left of it) and can not, at this point, deal with bio parents, other than the fact that they are real.  I deal with what comes up, when it comes up. 
I hate mind games.  I needed to keep reminding myself that my children were once someone else' children and still are; there is nothing I can do or say to make them completely mine.  But it takes both AP's to be able to survive adoption and there has always been an us (the kids and me) and a him (dad).  And I see this a lot in adoptive homes: the Amother adopted child after child in an attempt to make up for the lack of love between her and her husband.  HE, going along with the adoptions just to shut the woman up!  ANYTHING so he can just do his own thing and not be obligated to participate other than on his own terms and time.  I've seen this a lot.  And these seem to be the types of families who adopt MANY children, mainly with special needs.  The ones who stubbornly stick it out for the "normal healthy baby" end up with one or two kids; and I see them thriving.
A couple adopted a baby from VietNam.  WIthin a few months the bio mother is pregnant again and the agency approaches the family to "keep the kids together."  I've seen that family DO what was expected of them; yet, behind the scenes I heard how much of a burden this was:  using their savings and adding another baby when they were still bonding and growing as a family with the first infant.  It does happen.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

The glue that keeps two people together

Over the years I have learned, privately, that there are a lot of adoptees who have been purchased by psycho-infertile women OR miserable mothers stuck in unhappy marriages.  (Unfortunately, it seems many times these two-types of women happen to be one-in-the-same, and these sort of frank discussions don't last long within pro-adoption communities because they tend to reflect badly on certain APs.)

I don't know what the actual percentage is, but I do know being placed into and adopted by a dysfunctional family is not all that rare or odd.  In fact, I tend to think family dysfunction overlaps in small and subtle ways.  For instance, how many "perfect wives/mothers" have private lives that reveal an unhappy woman married to the sort of man who frequently ignores/dismisses/belittles his wife and sees the house not as a home, but as a prison and a form of long-term punishment?  How many adoption agencies really delve this deeply into a potential client's personal intimate relationship, for the sake of the child being placed in such a "home environment"?

People don't think a woman's need for personal attention is not going to be put onto the child who can serve as the glue that keeps two married people together?

PAHLEESE!

From a personal perspective, I was purchased raised by a woman who had to be seen as The Perfect  Wife and Mother.  She had a lot to prove to all sorts of people, (for all sorts of "hidden reasons"), so while she was able to fool herself and those outside our family, her family-problems were no secret to those who lived with her and her boat-load of family-related issues, dramas and miseries.  Because of her, I can see how an insecure woman feels like she must prove her worth and value through mothering.... and why a child's loyalty, love and attention can be so important to the one who feels so unvalidated, insecure, and empty.

I don't understand the people who think a certain title or role demands and commands love, honor and respect.

I think those intangibles need to be earned, slowly... and should not be forced by anybody.

Pound Pup Legacy