Module Three: Trauma and Attachment

OVC Essentials Spring 2020 Module Three: Trauma and Attachment

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    • #64589
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      Please share and reflect on a few new key learnings/information from the content this week. Comment on how this new learning contributes hope, discouragement or a mixture of both as you wade into relationship and advocacy for OVC.

      OR

      For those of you in care-taking roles or in any kind of direct relationship from a child coming from trauma – parents, mentors, case workers, children’s ministry leaders, how does greater understanding how trauma impacts the brain impact how you view and interact with the children you work with? Comment on any actual shifts or changes you may consider making in the ways you interact, discipline, or lead these children based on this week’s content.

    • #65090
      Olivia Milliner
      Participant

      While I was combing through this week’s content, I just kept thinking to myself; “WOW! This makes SENSE.” I’ve been fortunate to have already completed significant research in these areas but watching the videos again and reading the new CAFO resource taught me new lessons. In my current role, I am working to support Kid’s Ministry volunteers in their relationships with kids every week. There are many children from traumatic backgrounds in the Kid’s Ministry, and the volunteers have difficulty with setting boundaries while facilitating connections. Dr. Karyn Purvis has been such an inspiration to me, and I loved her practical examples in the “IDEAL Response” video. I respect how she relates with every child by getting on their level, but at the same time, she sets appropriate expectation. I hope to use this information and her example to create volunteer training resources to provide effective tools for connection. By educating and supporting these volunteers, I am able to advocate for vulnerable children and increase their felt safety in the church environment.

      • #65223
        Emily Tiner
        Participant

        That’s really neat what you took away from that for your kid’s ministry volunteers, Olivia! Having worked in kids ministry for about 5 years a while back, I would have loved for someone to have shared this with me so that I could have an even better understanding of how to intentionally and uniquely love and care for the kids we had in the room with us every single week and make them feel safe and understood depending on their need. I think this would be so valuable for churches to have to share with their children’s ministries or youth groups!

    • #65097
      Pam Taylor
      Participant

      I am so truly excited that you have included this critically important topic in this training. As a T.B.R.I. Practitioner, educating families about the brain changes that stem from trauma is one of the most important parts of my job. Unfortunately, I did not have this set of skills early on as an adoptive parent. As an adoptive mom, and teacher by trade, I quickly realized that working with children from hard places required an entirely different approach. That is when I sought formal training at the Karen Purvis Institute of Child Development.

      I was very happy to see that the issue of neglect was also discussed at length. That is, perhaps, the greatest misconception that I face when serving and supporting families. A large majority assume that neglect does not cause the same level of hurt as abuse. The four types of neglect (seeing it broken down in that manner) was new information for me that I found very useful and plan to use when educating others. There is so much to learn in the field of neuroscience, but I feel the greatest message is one of hope that we can provide to families. We can provide hope that healing can occur.

      • #65131
        Connie Becker
        Participant

        I agree reading Karen Purvis book helped me so much. I learned it was up to me to be the one that was more intentional with our PHW children and my grandson. To stop and focus on them because with out us doing it they will have a very difficult life ahead. We are so busy we don’t stop and do what it requires to help these children and even healthy children. It truly has helped me STOP as I keep saying and engage in a better way!

    • #65104
      Lesley Harper
      Participant

      This week’s material really helped me join the dots for some of our kids in Mozambique, who are facing serious health issues, and seeing how that links up to their early experiences of trauma, neglect and multiple abandonment. Also, I felt so encouraged to learn that we can build resilience and move the fulcrum of resilience, AT ANY AGE, by showing consistent Christ-like love, attention and emotional involvement with the kids. I still need prayer where our adolescents act out,  almost certianly due to early trauma, which then triggers my emotions and makes me want to respond with negative emotion, instead of the resilience building interactions which they need.

      • #65137
        Marsha Baker
        Participant

        Lesley,

        I totally agree the link to bad health is really eye-opening. I will be praying so much for your response to the teenagers, they can be the most challenging and it is very difficult to not respond or elevate in those situations. With you in the struggle!

      • #65222
        Emily Tiner
        Participant

        Yeah, it was really interesting hearing them talk about the balance needed between our brain chemistry and the hormones that drive our central nervous system, yet like you said, that we change the patterns being developed, at any age, through love and connection. Those kids in Mozambique are so blessed to have you in their corner and speaking up for them!

      • #65320
        Carlos Ramirez
        Participant

        Lesley,

        I agree with you! We, too, have seen ongoing health issues with our child and can now sort of connect them to her trauma experiences. Also, we have found it very challenging when she acts out to not respond in anger, frustration, or emotion, but rather love, correction, and firmness. There’s definitely a learning curve there!

      • #65340
        Alyssa McIntyre
        Participant

        It’s absolutely incredible how research is connecting trauma with later-in-life health issues. Have you read the ACE study?

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635069

        The information is from 1998, but still totally relevant. People with higher ACE scores had a much more significant chance of experiencing serious health conditions later on in life. I’ve often heard that “the body keeps count,” so even when trauma occurs at a young age it still has incredible effects on the child.

    • #65130
      Connie Becker
      Participant

      I’m not trained in this area but I substituted in special ed classes a lot because most people wouldn’t help there. So then I started reading about the best ways to help and understand their needs. I then became involved with our ministry with vulnerable children and have a grandson who was raised in a loving home but has some of the same issues.

      I’m so thankful for the studies, teaching and training about the children who have needs in this area. It is so helpful to understand what is going on in their brains, how to handle their issues and Praise the Lord that their precious brains can be healed. So many people I know think they are just brats and should be sent to their rooms or worse. In reading her book I understood the need to keep them close because they need the connection and how to deal with their misbehavior.

      I knew that neglect caused caused great harm but to think that it is worse then physical abuse which of course they are both horrific. Again I’m just so thankful that we are learning how to help these children and that this information will help people who aren’t touched by it yet understand and love these kids instead of judging.

      Are there resources already developed to train our people?

    • #65133
      Marsha Baker
      Participant

      I was so excited to see this as a Module for this course.  I have really dug into this research the past few years since adopting our daughter and working with vulnerable children in Uganda.  We parent with Dr. Purvis parenting model and it is the only way our daughter responds.  We have seen so much change and growth in her despite the trauma she came from.  In addition, though it has been hard to convince our Ugandan staff to use these care techniques, we always see results when they are willing to try them.  This was perfect time as we are having so many discussions with UG staff on discipline and caring for traumatized children and I am excited to share some of these videos and information with our staff next time I travel.  I also have learned so much about my own responses by challenging my own past trauma and seeing where I still personally need to grow in order to parent and lead better. I love how the one video even referenced we all been touched by trauma and must continue to do our own work as we care for others.  Such incredible reminders of the hope for these children… my daughter has been home 6 years and still struggles so much from her trauma. Sometimes I wonder how long it will take to undo her trauma, but I have been reminded to be thankful for every step and continue with love and hope!

      • #65224
        Debbie Douce
        Participant

        Hi Marsha! Your post, particularly where you mention the Ugandan staff seeing results when they choose to implement some of the strategies you are teaching them, reminded me of a story that took place in Uganda. Our youngest daughter Danelle spent a summer her sophomore year of university volunteering at a small orphanage in Uganda. The house parents used a “reporting” technique to resolve conflicts or behaviors during their family meeting each week. Each child had an opportunity to say, “I want to report that….” And he or she would say what the other had done wrong.

        After several of these family meetings Danelle said at the end of the meeting, “I have something to report.” Everyone was immediately silent and curious. What could she have to report? Then she began to point out positive behaviors such as, “I want to report that I saw____ get up every morning early without complaining and fix breakfast for all of us.” She went around the room and “reported” something positive and encouraging for each child. The houseparents were impacted so much that they began to shift their reporting to include the positive.

        It reminds me that there is hope for change in every context. It might just be one small change to start with, but that change encourages the next one, and then the next.

        Your daughter is incredibly blessed to have you as a mom because you are intentional about your parenting and compassionate. Just by participating in this class says that you are seeking to grow in your ability to love her and yourself well, and to continue to hope for healing.

    • #65136
      Debbie Douce
      Participant

      One of our daughter-in-laws is trained in TBRI and provides TBRI training for foster parents in Columbia, MO. While she and our son were visiting us this past Christmas, my husband and I asked her to provide a brief overview of TBRI. She was challenged to provide highlights of an intensive training program into one hour that would also be translated from English to Spanish. It was excellent. Although it was meant for the staff, several of our young moms who participate in Casa Adalia, an aftercare holistic training home for women who have escaped vulnerable situations, joined in listening and asking questions. I loved that everyone was super engaged.

      Later I shared the video of the IDEAL Response in Spanish to the young women. I role played with them different scenarios. They acted out being upset and I responded with a positive phrase. We laughed t how they were unable to keep being upset when I used the techniques. Then they chose five of the phrases for all of us to focus on and use with the children in the home. I also posted the phrases for all of us to see and to be reminded to use daily. Changing their natural response for the IDEAL response is not easy because this is not what they experienced, but I am hopeful that in time, they can begin to find this response becomes their natural one, especially if all of us as a team are modeling it as well.

    • #65164
      Trent Taylor
      Participant

      As someone who spent five years in the foster care system, I really appreciate this week’s module. Being informed about the impacts that trauma has on the developing brain of a child is critical. This hits home for me because I was that child. It was not until my adoptive placement that anyone understood the trauma piece or cared enough to learn it. Like it was discussed in the videos, early childhood trauma of any kind changes how the brain functions and how it’s wired. Having a greater understanding of trauma and developing a strong attachment are some of the most crucial parts for helping these children heal, I know it was for me. Our ministry uses these TBRI Principals in everything we do and teach the families this and about the brain changes. So this made me happy to see the TBRI videos for this week. One thing I found a little hard to hear about ACES and how it increases your risk for specific health problems later in life. This week hit me hard because I experienced all but one or two of the risk factors. Even though it was hard to hear, it was also extremely informative for me as I continue to work with children who have experienced trauma. In conclusion, I believe that the four things any child needs in order to be able to heal are God, Family, attachment, and an understanding of trauma/TBRI.

      • #65167
        Katrina Brown
        Participant

        Trent,

        I am so thankful for your vulnerability and choice to share parts of your story -your perspective is truly invaluable. I loved you sharing the 4 things you believe a child needs to heal because after this week’s videos I believe this to be completely true.

        How does your ministry use the TBRI principles? Do you host trainings or put out resources? I am just curious as I want to learn how this tool can best be utilized.

      • #65196
        Trent Taylor
        Participant

        I am literally an open book (that’s why I wrote one). I want people to be able to learn from my story and my healing journey. God has called me to speak very openly about my abuse, neglect and sexual abuse in order to provide hope and healing for others. Please feel free to ask me anything.

        Our ministry, Watch Me Rise, is run by myself and also my mom who is a TBRI Practitioner who trained at TCU so we offer family consultations, group trainings within our organizations and support groups that are based on TBRI principals. You can see more about how we do this on our website http://www.watchmerise919.org. I’d be happy to answer any additional questions. Also, my mom, Pam Taylor, is also in this class so feel free to reach out to her with questions as well.

      • #65550
        Katrina Brown
        Participant

        Hi Trent,

        Thank you so much. I am so thankful for your willingness to share- it gives me a better understanding in areas I haven’t personally experienced.

        Thank you for providing more information and details around that. I really appreciate it. I will check out your website.

      • #65170
        Mindy Russell
        Participant

        Trent,

        I imagine it would be very freeing to know these principles. It sounds like you have benefitted from understanding your brain and how your life circumstances have impacted it. It seems there would be a great deal of value in helping those from hard places to understand their own “wiring” so that they have opportunities to learn from it. I am grateful for your willingness to share. The hope that our kids can grow up and impact the kingdom, like you are doing, is a prayer that I have. Thank you.

      • #65197
        Trent Taylor
        Participant

        Hi Mindy,

        Honestly, as I got older, learning about how my brain was wired differently from my early trauma was very empowering. I was also provided hope that it could be rewired and that healing was possible. I was taught to recognize and understand my triggers, etc. The more you can educate a child about why they are reacting in certain ways, the better off you are in my humble opinion.

      • #65199
        Ryne Isaac
        Participant

        The ACES score is very sobering. I grew up in a safe environment with incredible parents, so each of my adopted children would score higher than me on ACES. It’s impossible not to think about them and how their trauma could have a longterm impact, not just on their mental and emotional health, but on their physical health as well.

      • #65296
        Margaret Hoffer
        Participant

        Trent,

        I appreciate you sharing.  I have been thinking about sharing some of the brain research with our adopted kiddos to help them understand why they face some of their challenges.  Your post encouraged me to do this.

      • #65978
        Amber Allan
        Participant

        Trent,

        Your post was so enlightening and I also just want to thank you for being so willing to share about your experiences. It is so powerful that you, someone who has experienced trauma and the system, would condone the model and offer some insight as to how you guide your families to work.

    • #65166
      Katrina Brown
      Participant

      I really appreciated all the readings/videos this week. I think this is such an important topic.

      In the video “Children from Hard Place,” it was interesting hearing how trauma in a child’s “downstairs” brain (survival) can overdevelop while their “upstairs” brain can underdevelop. I have never hear of it that way. Dr. Bryson said, “It’s the repeated experiences that develop and grow parts of the brain.” She explained that children who have fearful experiences get a lot of practice using the “downstairs” part of the brain, and that area gets really well developed. I have known about some attachment and trauma theories, but it has never clicked before until watching this video.

      It gives me hope and a better understanding for advocating for children experiencing vulnerabilities. Understanding how trauma impacts the brain is hard to learn about, but I believe the hope is that stable, loving families can help teach the child’s brain new patterns. Learning about this also gives a greater understanding into a child’s behavioral patterns- their brain is struggling to process information in a balanced and healthy way.

      I am part of my church ministry team where we focus on supporting Safe Families and Foster Families within our church. I think having this knowledge gives us a better understanding on how to support these families and children. I wonder if our team can host trainings for families in our church or focus on having trauma-informed respite caregivers for them. I think as a church we can also work towards being a trauma-informed church where we can welcome children of all backgrounds into our ministries and be equipped to love them and meet them where they are at.

    • #65169
      Mindy Russell
      Participant

      This was such timely content.

      Over the past 2 years we have really tried to be intentional about any and all interactions with our kids. We take a few short term mission teams, and we have wrestled through the best and healthiest ways to do this.

      In asking those hard questions we have found that many of our staff members and caregivers are survivors of hard places as well. It feels very intimidating sometimes to start at ground zero, to help adults work through their trauma so they can help kids cope with theirs.  But I am hopeful that for all of our people, we can help them to function and cope well with some education and support.

      We have been praying for a way to give our in-country caregivers more training and this week we have an incredible TBRI certified counselor that is willing to go to all of our locations and do multi-day trainings. I know it is not a quick fix, and not a guarantee. But our God gave us the gift of being able to change brains! The downstairs brain helped so many of our people to survive unimaginable danger and pain, but the hope and thrill of equipping them to fearlessly go “upstairs” gives me a great deal of joy.

      Praying “upstairs” prayers for all the ones we are blessed to work for.

       

       

      • #65225
        Debbie Douce
        Participant

        Hi Mindy!! I absolutely loved how you expressed so well hope and truth. “The  downstairs brain helped so many of our people to survive unimaginable danger and pain, but the hope and thrill of equipping them to fearlessly go “upstairs” gives me a great deal of joy.”

      • #65299
        Olivia Milliner
        Participant

        Mindy- I think it’s incredible that you have made this a priority for your staff members. When I learned about TBRI, I just kept thinking, “if we knew better, we could do better”! In what ways have you seen this training change your ministry? Has there been any feedback or significant changes thus far?

    • #65198
      Ryne Isaac
      Participant

      My wife and I were first introduced to TBRI, Dr. Karen Purvis, and many of these ideas when we began fostering 5 years ago. We have learned a ton about children’s brain and how trauma can impact them. But this week was important for me because I find that I constantly need to be reminded of this information. Even when you know your kids are responding and behaving from trauma, it can be difficult to have an “IDEAL” response. As others have mentioned, our kids have been in our home for 4-5 years and they still exhibit signs of trauma (some more noticeable than others). When I re-read TBRI and trauma information it is a reset for me to evaluate how I’ve been parenting, disciplining, etc. with my children.

    • #65221
      Emily Tiner
      Participant

      I thought it was absolutely beautiful how in the video “Attachment, Why it matters,” he said that when a caregiver is raising a child, they become the biological parent to that child because they are building a relationship with the child that is influencing the biology of the brain. I’ve never heard the term biological parent used that way and it is so beautiful how God created us to need each other and bond with each other and now, learning how that connection as a child literally impacts the firing and growth of our brains.

      It was so fascinating to me learning how the brain develops in trauma vs healthy relationships, the lower part of the brain overdeveloping from fear, etc. while the upper levels of the brain being underdeveloped and suffering. It’s heartbreaking to me to think that these things that are so critical to a child’s development, are not under their control or in their hands at all. And it just reaffirms to me just how children truly are the most vulnerable people on the planet. But I was SO encouraged at the same time, realizing that collectively, God uses us to step in and help rewire, heal, and recircuit a child’s brain through relationship, his whole design from the beginning. And it just means that there is SO much hope for children, so much hope for the next generation when we come together on behalf of these children and give them literally what their brains are starving for, relationship, love, and connection.

      It’s exciting to think of how this information can be taken and translated into the context of what we do in Uganda; in our family-style children’s homes and helping our staff care for our kids with trauma, in educating our children as they grow up to raise their own families, and especially supporting the families we’re trying to help restore these children back into, through educating and mentoring parents on this type of thing. I think understanding this concept can help to prevent separation and break these cycles of despair!

    • #65228
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      I have found the content for this week’s module fascinating.  I am not a parent, but I currently live with my three nephews and niece (ages 1-9), and have definitely been confronted with how I was parented and what I think parenting looks like (not only parenting, but any type of child-caregiving role).  The content that we have been focusing on this week (and last week) has really opened my eyes to the way a child’s brain works and how that knowledge can and should play a pivotal role in how you interact with children—especially children from hard places.  I know that I often find myself trying to reason and react to my family with my adult logic and understanding by default, but I am learning that it is more about me exhibiting self-control to respond in the way that the other person needs (i.e., not expecting a child to respond in the same time that an adult would, as mentioned in the IDEAL video); this is not a practice limited to interacting with children, but to any relationship, thought I am finding that this practice is especially needed to protect my relationship and connection with my family.  I think in a lot of ways, God has me where He does to not only prepare and practice for my own children, but also to help me better understand and have compassion with the OVC that I interact with.

       

      Additionally, one of the underlying expectations of caregiving that was alluded to in the videos, but was not explicitly focused on was the expectation of being present.  I know I have had to really be intentional with that in helping take care of my own family, but I can only imagine how much more present you have to be with a child that has had trauma.  I found the framework presented in the IDEAL parenting video very helpful and practical; it was discouraging to some degree to reflect on how I have not responded in this recommended way, but also hopeful for the outcomes of using it in the future.  I will definitely be sharing this video with my family!

    • #65229
      Heather Hall
      Participant

      Ryne–I think you touched on an important point that we as caregivers need constant reminders (and grace!) on how to best interact and connect with our kids.  Though I am not a parent, I find it very difficult to always remember not to direct a child in the some of the less-effective ways that I was.  I saved some of the videos from this week and hope to share and revisit them, especially when I need to take and “adult time-out.”  🙂

    • #65293
      Alyssa McIntyre
      Participant

      As I read through this week’s resources and listened to the discussion I thought primarily about my upcoming position, specifically the portion that centers around training staff members to care directly for children. Implementing trauma-informed care is still a relatively new practice in the US, so as I seek to do it in Uganda I’m sure there will be certain challenges.

      I’ve focused more on attachment in a couple of my social work classes and find it to be an interesting topic. I enjoyed the fact that Dr. Aguayo discussed attachment styles as adults, as that too is up and coming research. Attachment as a whole is being pushed beyond infancy. The video of Karyn Purvis touches on this too, especially when it comes to being aware of our own attachment styles in order to then parent/work with children effectively. Again, this becomes important to me as I consider how to train staff that likely comes from difficult attachment relationships themselves.

    • #65295
      Margaret Hoffer
      Participant

      As an adoptive parent,  two of whom we adopted as adults.  I found this week very helpful.  I love Karen Purvis and have read Connected Child many times, but liked having a refresher with the IDEAL response.  It really gives a clear and precise guide for how to interact with, praise, and discipline a child who has experienced truama.  I found Dr. Aguayo’s webinar very interesting and also challenging.  We face daily challenges with at least one of our kiddos.  The thought that things may never change has always been a challenging one for me.  I did really appreciate Dr. Aguayo sharing to focuson on the journey and not the outcome.

      • #65305
        Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
        Participant

        Margaret, I also really liked the IDEAL Response and Dr. Aguayo’s remarks on focusing on the journey rather than the outcome. I, too, struggle when I start to worry that some things may never fully change with our foster daughter, yet taking small steps and seeing her progress along the way definitely gives me hope. She may not be where I want her to be, but she’s definitely not where she was a year ago. I’ve heard about the Connected Child and would like to read that!

    • #65304
      Mandy Haffer de Ramírez
      Participant

      Every single piece of this week’s content was incredibly helpful in my role as a foster mom. In reading through the content and watching the videos with my husband, I had many Aha! moments where little pieces clicked and I felt I could better understand my daughter. I feel simultaneously affirmed in realizing that every child who experiences trauma has undeniable impact on the brain, yet encouraged that there is hope and that the brain can and does experience healing. One thing that really stood out was the left and right brain explanations and a person’s tendency to either be controlled by emotions or be cut off from them. I also loved the TED talk and the way Dr. Burke used the bear in the woods analogy and posed the question, “What happens when the bear comes home every night?” This greatly put things in perspective for me.

      The IDEAL Response is a change I am considering making in interacting with our child. We jumped into foster parenting with essentially no parenting experience, lessons, or skills, so we have taught ourselves and learned along the way. Dr. Purvis’s method of an immediate response to the child from a close proximity (talking with them and not throwing words at them) and valuing the connection with the child spoke to me. I found myself identifying with her description of parents overreacting to a small misbehavior, and found her levels of response to be extremely helpful and something I would like to implement.

    • #65319
      Carlos Ramirez
      Participant

      After reading all the information and watching the videos related to trauma, my perspective has really changed. Since we have had our foster daughter, my perspective has changed, too. I always thought trauma was just a problem, but I never really understood the depths of it. However, after hearing the story of the trauma that has happened in our daughter’s life, I’ve started to understand the problem at a deeper level, and understand that it isn’t something you can just “get over.” This information is really helping me have a greater knowledge of trauma and its effects. After reading this week’s content, I have a better understanding of the many things that children in our society have experienced, I know that trauma is something that will mark their lives forever, and that while we can’t simply ask them to forget about it, we can help them move forward from it.

      In regards to what I want to shift or change, I would like to start being more careful with the way I speak to my daughter. In my frustration and overwhelmed-ness, I used to hurt her with my words, but understanding the things she has been through and how they have affected her, I am able to speak to her in a different way and help her get out of the dark places and overcome the adverse childhood experiences she has lived through.

      • #65919
        Ana María Sanchez
        Participant

        Carlos, I teared up while I was reading your comment, thank you for sharing this. It´s so beautiful to see how much you love and care for your daughter, it´s amazing how God is using what we are learning to guide us to reflect His love in a better way for the ones we love. This was very inspirational, thank you once again.

    • #65327
      Lesley Harper
      Participant

      Thanks so much for sharing this, Mandy. I translating some of the IDEAL response  notes so we can include a parenting section in our Portuguese child protection training in Mozambique. Trying to use examples that can work for orphan care givers and other parents in rural Mozambiqie

    • #65917
      Ana María Sanchez
      Participant

      Personally, this content was incredibly challenging for me. It led me to wander through my own history and face my own broken pieces. Since my calling is to work with children who have lived similar stories or much stronger than mine, I dare to say that the difference in each story is Christ. I do not deny the complexity of the effects of living traumatic situations or the absence of attachment, but I do believe that it is necessary to face this topic with the hope that our faith in an all-powerful God offers. If we have been called to walk alongside children who have experienced trauma, we need to embrace this call not only with the grace and love we have received from Christ but also with His promise of redemption, of making all things new, of giving purpose to each broken piece for His glory. I´m trying to say this with a humble heart because it is something that I have lived in my own life and that I recognize God does in the life of each person who gives his story to Christ. That is why I believe that sharing the gospel in our ministries will always be our priority because Jesus is the only one we can give our broken pieces to, He created us, He can turn those pieces into a masterpiece.

      • #66310
        Philip Douce
        Participant

        Ana Maria,

        Thank you for your words. I have been a Christ follower for many years and grew up in this context. I have heard many words and information. My head and heart “know” but sometimes I am discouraged and doubt creeps in. I do believe that our…my only hope is in Christ, no matter the challenges or situation in the past or future. Your post has helped me to find that path again. Thanks for sharing and reminding me…..that the most important continue to be the most important!

    • #65979
      Amber Allan
      Participant

      This week was so enlightening and probably left the greatest impact on me of all the weeks. I personally have not experienced trauma like most of the children we work with. I struggle because I want to help, but how much can I help if I do not truly understand what they are experiencing? The information this week gave me such insight into the brains and live of our children. I see such value in the TBRI model. The videos helped me to truly visualize and understand how interactions can and should be played out. These new resources will lead how I work with children on a daily basis and provide models for how we do things as a ministry

    • #66309
      Philip Douce
      Participant

      This module hit me very personally in several ways. As I continue to unpack I feel like it has helped my understanding and empathy with OV children in general and with specific family relationships. My younger brother was adopted from birth and was the little brother I prayed for. Due to missionary and mission complexities and lack of understanding he was not with us for ages 2-4. During this time he suffered many things I am sure but I know he experienced abandonment and neglect as well as emotional abuse during this time. He seemed to have recovered as a child and young adult but now I understand what was underneath was never really dealt with and he never really recovered. He is separated from his second wife and a strained relationship with family. In the last years I have kind of thrown in the towel with our relationship. This topic on trauma and the brain both it’s effects and recovery has given me greater understanding and most important…. hope. I am not sure what our relationship will ever look like but I think my heart is in a better place to move forward, whatever that means in our situation.

    • #66455
      Danita White
      Participant

      The discussion with Melody Aguayo was especially insightful for me. She has plenty of experience with children involved in foster care and adoption and was honest about how hard the process can be, especially when it comes to helping children who have experienced significant trauma feel loved and safe.

      A lot of times, we hear the stories about how a child was adopted from China and had no issues adjusting to her new family/life or how a couple of siblings found the perfect foster parents and immediately started thriving. These stories have happy endings with seemingly no complications. And I know those stories are happening and should be told. But many times, there is a lot of pain and hurt and struggle involved in foster care and adoption, not just with the children, but also with their biological parents and/or foster parents who may have had them before. Melody’s stories and advice contributed both hope and discouragement because being involved with vulnerable children is oftentimes messy and unpredictable. You can do everything right, such as pray over them, get them the right counseling, ensure that home life is as perfect as possible for them, and still find yourself in crisis – even into adult years. This reality is discouraging. But it is also hopeful. Because, to me, it is a picture of Christ and us.

      Christ did everything right. But His creation is still in crisis. Even once we become believers and are adopted into His family, we still stumble, we still sin, we still screw up. Yet, Christ doesn’t give up on us. He goes on loving us. He calls us His own no matter how messy our lives get.

      As was noted in the call, “Healing may not come until Heaven, but it will come.” Full healing, redemption, and salvation won’t be achieved for us as believers until Heaven, but it will be achieved. And it’s the same for vulnerable children. Full healing and closure for many of them may not come until Heaven, but if we remain faithful and love them as Jesus loves us, it will come.

    • #66456
      Danita White
      Participant

      Hi Philip,

      Understanding how trauma affects the brain and impacts children at a young age has definitely helped me put adults who don’t seem to function well or have relationship issues in a different light. Even as it relates to my parents. Neither of them were adopted or in foster care, but they did have rocky childhood experiences. Looking back, I can see how those negative experiences impacted their parenting and understand why we don’t have as close a relationship as I want to have with them.

      The content from this week has certainly taught me to be a lot less critical and judgmental until I know someone’s full story.

      Grace + peace,
      Danita

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