A Child Adopted From Russia

We adopted our son from Russia 15 years ago, at age 13 months. We began attachment Therapy when he was six, along with Sensory Integration Therapy. We made significant progress, however, when he was 9 his behavior at home began to disintegrate. He was becoming out of control and despite our every attempt at creating great structure, the situation was getting worse. We began to fear that his future lay in a juvenile detention facility. It finally got to a point, where we were concerned for the safety and welfare for our other children. This situation was not good for him either, as he seemed to be growing more out of control each day (he was subsequently diagnosed with FASD). We started with a new therapist who believed that we simply did not have enough leverage in a therapy session to elicit change. He suggested that we send him to Debbie Bobbitt- Harris.

Ms. Harris described him as “bouncing off the walls” when we arrived. He was anxious, defiant and very hyper. She provided a very structure, limited world for him, along with a great deal of therapeutic intervention. In order to be able to come back to live with us, he had to “do the work” of emotional healing. He lived with Ms. Harris for three months, with weekend visits home during the last month. I also attended weekly therapy sessions with him at Ms. Harris’s. In addition, Ms. Harris instructed us as to how to set up a “therapeutic” home so that we could continue his healing with us.

By the end of his time at Ms. Harris’s, our son was a different person and we were different parents. He returned to us as a loving, cooperative little boy who wanted to be connected to us. We no longer had to worry about the safety of others in the home and my husband and I now had the skills to help him process his feelings and emotions in a constructive way. We still had work to do, and it would be an exaggeration to say that he is an easy child. However, Ms. Harris healed his heart in a way that was not possible on outpatient therapy. He is now in High School on mainstream track. He has never been in trouble with the law and is not a discipline problem at school. Although he has some issues associated with FASD, he is fully attached to us, has a strong sense of right and wrong and is, for the most part, a joy to have in our home.

Debbie Bobbitt-Harris saved our son as well as our family. After the success we had with Ms. Harris started a support group for mothers of adopted children, based on what I had learned from Ms. Harris. The group has been going on for over seven years now and has well over 150 families. Alpha Moms Support Group of Northern Virginia has been a lifeboat for many families as we teach the principles of therapeutic parenting as well as provide resources for our members lindagmcd@gmail.com.

From my experience working with mothers of FASD and Attachment Disorder, no one has had as much success in healing these children as Ms. Harris. She is also the most cost effective provider; as the children that go to her heal more deeply, in less time, than the institutionally structured programs.

Linda McDonough