Family Friday Part 3: Family Sculptures and Kickball

Part 3 of our day with Dimples.

After lunch we gathered with a group of families to do an activity called “Family Sculptures.” The basic idea is that one person physically arranges the people in their family into a sculpture that symbolizes their perception of how the family members relate to one another. I can’t share any details about other families’ sculptures, but it was fascinating to see how a parent would arrange the family, and then a child would arrange the family. Or sometimes the therapist would guide them to arrange the family members as they are now, and then follow with arranging them in the way they would like their family to be.

Nobody had every member of their family present, so they chose others in the group to stand-in for a sibling or parent. Dimples got to represent a sister in a few family sculptures, which probably helped her to stay engaged with the exercise.  It was fascinating to see how people arranged their families – were they close or separated by distance? Were some of them gathered together while one or two people were separated and turned away? Were their arms reaching toward one another or crossed?

Time ran out before we got to do our sculpture, but Dimples clearly thought about it and the next day she was able to draw a representation of her sculpture in our therapy session. That drawing was very profound in helping us to “see” how she perceives herself in our family. She was able to express her thoughts better than ever before.

Following the family group, we gathered on the lawn for an all-campus kickball game. The one caveat was that parents and kids had to hold hands while we played. Dimples did not like this at all and was clearly unhappy, but once the game really got going, she began to have fun and the irritability faded away. It was a really good time with Dimples – we all laughed, ran the bases, and she made a fabulous catch getting another family out (we did let go of one another’s hands to let her catch the ball!).

The last part of the day was spent relaxing outside visiting with other families followed by a very yummy dinner the cottage counselors cooked. We spent most of our time visiting with another mom that we’ve gotten to know on previous visits. Dimples came and went – shooting some hoops and then checking back in, talking with friends, then returning to us. She even brought two of her friends over to meet us, which was extremely unusual and encouraging. It felt strangely “normal” and appropriate for a nearly 12 year-old girl.

Happy Thursday, friends. I’ll wrap this up tomorrow (hopefully).

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Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

10 Comments

  1. Mamita
    September 26, 2013

    We did the family drawing as homework for our very first meeting with a therapist when Cupcake first came home.  It was both fascinating and frightening to see what she thought our family structure looked like.   It was an excellent tool for pinpointing the flawed thinking that needed to be corrected in order for us to become a family.  I’m happy to report that her drawings of our family look like a normal, happy family now.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      September 26, 2013

      That is such good news, Mamita. I look forward to the day when our family sculpture is a beautiful reflection of wholeness.

      Reply
  2. LuannYarrowDoman
    September 26, 2013

    This brought tears to my eyes. Step by step, little by little, God is working.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      September 26, 2013

      Luann, for a long time it seemed that there was no progress, but you’re right, it’s little by little. I’m so thankful for our God who heals.

      Reply
  3. Deborah Christensen Johnson
    September 26, 2013

    Funny – as I read your story I imagined how I believe various family members would scuplt our family……

    Reply
  4. Tara Bradford
    September 26, 2013

    That is such a fascinating exercise! I’m sure ours would change depending on who was the sculptor.

    Reply
  5. One Thankful Mom - Lisa Qualls
    September 26, 2013

    Tara Bradford, you’re right, the sculpture is unique every time depending upon who is sculpting it. I saw the great news that you are speaking at the Refresh Conference – can’t wait!

    Reply
  6. Jenny Given
    September 26, 2013

    I adore family sculpting activities. Watching the sculptor think is my favorite part. We did this with 51 men in a substance abuse treatment uniit Family and it was profound for the men and for the staff. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      September 27, 2013

      It really was fascinating, Jenny. I also liked to watch the sculptor – to see them move people, adjust their arms, etc.

      Reply
  7. AmyE
    October 1, 2013

    Moments of normal are so encouraging. They still catch me by surprise. Sounds like it ended on a positive note. So good to hear.

    Reply

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