DO WE BELONG TOGETHER DESPITE OUR TROUBLED PAST?
This is the question that many adoptive parents and children bring into the therapy room, whereas abandonment and disrupted attachment, couple infertility and tortuous adoptive patterns have generated a precarious sense of mutual bonding. Irrespective of the approach, the therapist must engage in offering an answer to this (at times silent) question.
A FRACTURE AND AN OPPORTUNITY
Adoption is by all means the story of a second opportunity, but also a story that starts with a fracture. We, as therapists, have to deal with the fracture in order to secure the opportunity.
How? By repairing it, trying to make it as invisible as possible? Filling all gaps with a material that would resemble what was once lost? Arguably, this is not the best strategy: for similar that it may seem, the surrogate will never be the same.
All approaches trying to heal the primal wound suffered by adoptive children (abandonment and trauma) and parents (infertility) by repairing attachment establish a connection between a child and a family that will look similar to a primal relationship, but will never feel exactly like it, because the material is not the same.
THE KINTSUGI ALTERNATIVE
Elisa Gusmini and Ferdinando Salamino have been working in the field of adoption for more than fifteen years, both in Italy and the UK. They offer a different, innovative, constructionist perspective, called Kintsugi Alternative.
Kintsugi is the making of a brand new object, starting from the fracture itself. Literally “reunite with gold”, it is the art of turning broken object into new, and more precious, ones. In Japan, this is called Kintusgi (literally “reunite with gold”) and is the art of transforming broken objects into new, and more precious, ones. In Japan, this is called Kintusgi (literally “reunite with gold”) and is the art of transforming broken objects into new, and more precious, ones
In Kintsugi, the line of fracture is not denied or minimized, it is turned into the point of origin of the object’s second life. The fracture is sealed in gold to highlight that what made us “broken” there and then can make us precious here and now.
Likewise, the therapeutic approach to adoption proposed by Gusmini and Salamino, underpinned by a socio-constructionist epistemology, aims at promoting mutual belonging in the family by turning fractures into points of conjunction
Their Family Therapy team offers psychological assessment and psychotherapy in partnership with Midlands local authorities. The results obtained with their approach are truly brilliant.
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