Many a good parent has entered the world of foster care and adoption, only to be blindsided by the complete ineffectiveness of many of their go-to parenting tools. They find that the children in their care respond differently than their friend’s kids or even their biological children. This is “difference” is sparked by TRAUMA. Drug exposure, stress, separation, neglect, domestic violence and abuse all affect the brain, especially during the formative years of development. Trauma has taught the body that the world is a scary place.
Marie’s (Mom) Perspective:
Today was another setback in completing the process to finalize the adoption of our sweet daughter.
Today we learned that our adoption date, which is just one week away, has been postponed. All because of paperwork.
Today we will have to break the news to our sweet girl, that the finish line has been moved, yet again.
Today we had to cancel the celebration we had planned with our friends & family…because of the delay.
Meet Sacha one of the incredibly strong youth in our Wraparound program. After her mother lost her job and they were evicted from their home, Sacha, her mom and two younger sisters had no choice but to move in with her uncle to avoid homelessness. But life in his house was horrific. Unbeknownst to Sacha’s mom, her uncle was a violent man with unpredictable moods. Sacha and her sisters were subjected to his verbal and physical abuse daily, always when their mother was out of the house. When Sacha’s uncle broke her arm in a violent outrage, Sacha’s mom quickly learned the truth and immediately called the police on her brother.
Faced with fear and instability, the family was referred to FCNI's Wraparound Program so each family member could be partnered with the individual support they needed to heal and develop stronger life skills. Sacha's trauma manifested in her behaviors; she was unpredictable and, sometimes violent, especially towards her mom whom she no longer trusted and misguidedly blamed for the abuse. Sacha’s mom expressed to their team how much she was struggling with shame about her choices and that she felt that as a parent she wasn’t able to meet her girls’ needs. Sacha was paired with an Rehabilitation Specialist (RS) to help her identify and process her emotions better, so that she could utilize healthier coping and communication skills to resolve conflicts; and her mother was matched with a Parent Partner so that she could get help navigating her “new normal” within the system--therapy sessions, parenting classes and other requirements of the program.
To help focus their energy and attention on their healing, their Wraparound team collaborated with other partnering agencies to set up a weekly schedule of support, including team meetings, individual and family therapy sessions, Rehabilitation Specialists (RS) contacts, tutoring, school, and life-skills development. Each step in this process required time and patience, the team working slowly to help the family build on their strengths--their love for and commitment to each other--so that they had the skills and confidence to achieve a goal in order to move on to the next. Read Sacha's full story today and find out how you can support families recovering from domestic violence and abuse.
Gratitude can come from suffering, hope from devastation, and intentionality from chaos.
There is nothing more gratifying to me than to hear that a youth has been placed in a new foster home! Knowing the many months of “self-discovery” a family has weathered during the Foster Home Certification process and now, finally, they’ve come to the time of welcoming a youth, is amazing and wonderful!
Imagine being rudderless on a rough sea. Imagine rock climbing with no safety harness. Imagine boxing with no gloves. Imagine scuba diving with an empty tank. Imagine a house without a foundation. Now, imagine being a teenager...with no family.
We did not start our marriage necessarily intending to adopt. We experienced infertility, but quickly realized that there were many ways to become parents. When we learned about the countless number of girls in orphanages in China that needed a family we decided to pursue adopting internationally. It took five years to adopt our now eleven year old daughter, and once we became parents we knew we wanted to adopt more kids.
I recently started a quest with my 16 year old son to complete three endurance obstacle course races within one calendar year. The shorter of the races is three to five miles with 20-25 obstacles; and the longest is 12 to 14 miles with 30-35 obstacles. Then there is one somewhere in the middle of those two. One really important piece to know is that you don’t really know how far the race is or which obstacles you will encounter until race day. Some obstacles are even kept secret from you until you round a corner and see it in front of you.
Emergency Shelter Foster Care is just that--an emergency. The name implies that something has happened; something that is putting a child’s safety at risk and the only immediate solution is to move that child into a different home, away from whatever is causing them or triggering their trauma. As you might imagine, being placed in Emergency Shelter Foster Care is very difficult for a child or youth, and the likelihood that they will need a lot of extra hands and support is very high.
Every foster parent is different, obviously, and what brings them to this line of care is different too. But, surprisingly, a lot of our parents have one striking similarity. In every story we hear from a foster parent about why they do what they do, there is a similar vein of, “I just wanted to try it, to see if I liked it. And here I am, years later, still doing it; still loving it.” People who foster parent well, don’t really know why or how; they just know that their hearts get called to do it.