Becky Walker of Beyond Adoptions Inc. shares some expert advice on what you can do when your adopted child rejects you
BECKY WALKER SHOWCASED ON THE STRIP LIVE FOR VEGASNET MEDIA
TheStripLIVE.com | LAS VEGAS | Media Showcase | Interview with celebrity guest Becky Walker for THE STRIP LIVE celebrity talk show | Director’s cut | Join new media producers and celebrity positioning specialists Maria Ngo and Ray DuGray as they hangout and showcase Becky Walker (Founder of Beyond Adoptions Inc.) on location at the VIP MasterCAST LIVE inside the Bellagio Las Vegas.
In this interview, Becky Walker shares her story and journey of struggle and triumph following the adoption process. Adoptive parent or not, you’ll feel something at the heart level.
To watch more interviews showcasing success stories from top celebrities entrepreneurs, and industry experts live from Las Vegas, visit TheStripLIVE.com.
—[BEGINNING OF TRANSCRIPT] [Maria Ngo] And with me is Becky Walker from Beyond Adoptions and today she’s going to share her story of adopting her child, her daughter from Russia. Well, thank you so much for being here. [Becky Walker] Thank You, Maria. Thanks for having me. [Maria Ngo] So there are a lot of resources on the adoption process and I know that a lot of people are looking into that however at the time that you are adopting your daughter there weren’t resources about after the adoption process. So I want to start with you because of your lovely story your story of challenge to now join happiness where you adopted a Russian daughter at the time she’s six years old who already traveled to your home. You’ve been there
you know to Russia a couple of times. Had a great connection and then tell me what happened on the day you went to go pick her up to bring her home as your daughter. [Becky Walker] Well thanks, Maria. A really startling thing happened at that time. So on the day of the adoption when it was finalized in Russia, we went to the orphanage that she had lived in for almost six years to pick her up. It was very cold it was in the middle of the winter and we had a four-hour drive that we needed to make. It was very cold and the car was not warmed up. So after we took her from the orphanage, we went out to the car and got in and I had on a big coat and I reached out instinctively and pulled her to me in order to help keep her warm. She was just six years old, right? In that moment my world changed because she forcefully and purposefully pushed me away and it wasn’t temporary. It was the first moment in a pattern where she completely rejected my being a part of her life. [Maria Ngo] So in the moment, you were really confused because before that you guys were really bonding. So you bring her home and you desperately started to search for resources and some help to say what is going on here and questioning whether or not this was the right thing for you. [Becky Walker] Yes, and this was over eleven years ago and I did. I went back to my adoption agency. I went to my ministry, to a therapist, to a local university with a Child Study program. I went to other parents trying to understand why things that I thought would work the way that I was parented, the way that I had interacted with other children including a stepson that had been very successful, but everything that I tried just met with rejection from her and it was very frustrating. It was very puzzling. [Maria Ngo] Even to the point when you guys were taking family photos and you know how you naturally, how each other you said that even though you’re smiling in the photo she would not wrap her arms around you. She actually had our arm extended. [Becky Walker] Yes. So, in multiple photographs, I can take those today and we’re both beaming at the camera with big smiles and it appears that we’re hugging each other. What I know about those photos is that her little arm is sticking straight out behind her where nobody can see and her fist is clenched and she is ever so slightly not making contact with my body. So there was no real hug and it’s not a parent. You look at those pictures. They look like it’s the happiest moment that you could wish for but the fact was we weren’t connected. We were not at ease with each other. [Maria Ngo] So let’s fast forward a little bit in her years. So you’re struggling. You’re trying to make that connection. You want to love her. You want to receive her love, obviously and here
she is about 12 or 13 years old and in this moment this was your, the decision that you had to make to step up. Well ,what was that moment? [Becky Walker] Yes. So it was a very pivotal moment for me and in a pivotal moment for our journey because wow we had over the years progressively found a way to coexist. It still was not connected it wasn’t a loving and comfortable and close connection and at that point in time I came across some writing that she had done and she’s a great writer but I came across some writing and what it said in it just shocked me because it said I wish anybody else in the world other than you was my mother and if I could have my wish I would put a kitchen knife in your back. [Maria Ngo] Oh. So here you are in this moment reading this. Now I can’t even imagine what emotions you had because I think I would be probably thinking this was not the right decision but instead you took a very loving proactive approach. You said this was a moment. I need to find out what’s going on. How do I bond with my daughter? How do I make this good? So what did you find out from this process? [Becky Walker] Yeah. I wish that my reaction to move to something positive had been absolutely immediate. But like a lot of parents that go through this similar situation like this, I was in despair. I felt like I was a failure. I didn’t know what to do. I was so sad and I even had depression that I went into. But the reality is that I knew that as her parent, and as the adult in the relationship it was up to me. Okay. So if I wanted that goal of connected relationship which is what I wanted so much. The difference had to be made by me. It wasn’t her responsibility to do it. I needed to take the step. So I started a journey to evaluate what I had been doing and to learn what it was that I needed to do that was different that was possibly going to make a difference and get us to the connection that I wanted. [Maria Ngo] And that was you realize that because she had trauma in her life, she didn’t know how to love you. She didn’t know how to allow you to have you love her in return. So what did you find from that? What was that key point that she, that you said, ‘Okay I now understand. I now empathize with what’s going on and we can now move forward.’ [Becky Walker] So my research began to show me and it was great because enough time had passed that where I had not helped before. We were now in the adoption industry where childhood trauma was being recognized. And so research that I began to do told me that in all likelihood the things that I was seeing were the result of trauma that she had experienced her life. And the reality is children do experience trauma that the trauma of being separated from a birth mother from not being nurtured, not being cared for. These were all things that my daughter had experienced. And a profound moment happened for me. When I became aware of the idea that says, ‘All behaviors are clues to met or unmet needs. And if you take sort of the next step with that, you can say all disruptive behaviors of adopted children are clues to unmet needs. They don’t know they have these needs they come because the emotional needs that needed to be met early on in their life when it’s a very essential time from zero to two years, for nurturing, bonding, comfort affection, touch if those things aren’t present in their lives, then their brains will begin to work to try to figure out, ‘How do I survive? I’m not getting those things. I have to take care of myself.’ And the brain will devise strategies that they use in order literally to survive. But one of the things that happen is those strategies often also give them the idea that adults can’t be trusted. Adults aren’t going to meet my needs. Why? Because that’s been the experience of that child and what happens? They will move into a loving and nurturing environment. We’ve got our own, your arms are open and all we want to do is just bring them in and love them and have them be happy. But there’s a startling thing that will happen because if they’ve not been nurtured if they have not been given love they will push back against that love. They don’t do it on purpose. They do it because it doesn’t feel safe. Their experience says don’t trust adults. They don’t have a basis for loving. They are living in anxiety and if they live in anxiety, they don’t know how to be vulnerable. If you can’t be vulnerable, you can’t trust. If you can’t trust, you can’t love. [Maria Ngo] So this is where we are now. You are helping parents create the bond or help them take the steps to understand what’s happening if they are having difficulties bonding with their adopted child and I’m happy to report that you have a very loving and connected relationship with your daughter. So congratulations on that and I encourage anybody out there who has adopted a child and if you’re having any issues to reach out to Becky. Becky what would you like to say to those parents to have them reach out to you? [Becky Walker] So I would say that a lot of times, parents think they’re failures but in all of the parents that I have coached and that I have worked with I have not yet met a parent who hasn’t turned out to be the right parent. That’s the truth of the situation that I’ve experienced and it can be the truth. I became the right parent and other people can become the right parents too. [Maria Ngo] Thank you so much and congratulations and thank you for doing what you’re doing and I know there’s so many people out there who need your help. So thank you. [Becky Walker] Thank You, Maria. [END OF TRANSCRIPT]