Wow! Nearly 1,000 people entered my Valentine’s Day Giveaway. This was my first major giveaway and I learned a lot about running online contests… The biggest lesson I learned? Contests like this sure do invite a lot of spam entries! I hated to think a spammer would end up with the Kindle prize… Thankfully I was able to invalidate the spammy entries before the random drawing on V-Day.
And the winner is… Michelle L! She’s a fellow Trauma Parent and was kind enough to share a bit about herself and her family. Check out her story below!
Fourteen years ago we unknowingly began our journey into the world of trauma when our daughter, “B,” was placed in our home via foster care at the age of thirteen months. Like many new foster parents, we wanted to help kids, we wanted to rescue them and give them all those things they didn’t get – love, material objects, safety, and family.
We were naive in thinking that love would fix it and take away all the bad stuff that had happened.
B came into custody due to failure to thrive/neglect and had no attachment to any adult upon coming into foster care. B was in our home a little over a year when we began the process of adoption.
Over six years ago our youngest daughter, “A,” was placed in our home at the age of twenty-two months for neglect/abandonment/kidnapping. A was repeatedly bounced around and left with many different caregivers, exposed to domestic violence, and substance abuse. She was a very scared, terrified baby who was plopped into my arms at 11:30 at night after DCF staff retrieved her from twelve hours away out of state where her parent ran off with her.
The only way I could get her to sleep that first night was to lay flat on my back with her on my chest – much like a newborn does – not because I was trying to promote attachment but because both she and I needed sleep! But promoting beginning bonds of attachment is exactly what I unknowingly did!
Today we have six children ranging in age: 25, 23, 23, 21, 15, & 8; the 2 youngest two are our adopted children. Our girls have both been given multiple diagnoses, see a therapist weekly, work with a pediatric psychiatrist as well as teams at school, participate in community services, and we also use respite support.
We have more training under our belt than we can even count, and for more than fourteen years I have facilitated the local foster parent classes, teaching a curriculum that includes entire nights on sexual abuse, grief & loss, and attachment among other topics to new foster and kinship families.
Three years ago I gave up a full-time job after it became too challenging to juggle work and the many meetings and appointments our girls have. So I have become a stay at home mom, taking classes, reading articles, and anything else I can do to educate myself about trauma while my girls are in school.
We are therapeutic parents learning every step of the way, tweaking our parenting techniques to accommodate our ever-changing girls who have developmental delays, attachment issues, and significant trauma histories. Love can’t erase their past, but it sure can carry us a long way in seeking every service, opportunity, and resource needed to help our girls and other families like ours. Trauma Mama Drama is one of the many resources that I peruse regularly for the validity and awesome info shared. In a world where trauma can make you feel isolated and crazy, it’s always good to be reminded your not alone and there is hope!