Thursday, March 4, 2021

Saying Goodbye though His Purpose

I can’t believe its been twelve years since the memory of our fourth long-term placement who left our home. Our lives are forever changed by the souls of those who left prior to this sibling group, and a ton who came after. Thank you Jesus for allowing our family to be endlessly touched by their souls. 

After all this time, I still miss each and every child that entered our home. I pray they each draw close to God’s will in their lives as they become young men and women. 

Please pray for each foster family caring for the children in their home who have had children leave.  Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Or the next. Most foster caregivers have to say goodbye more than once.

Fostering was a calling, fostering is Our calling, but God never said doing His Will, brings JOY all the time. 

But He did say He is here for those who follow. I have seen, felt and know that God watches over each child who have left our home and each child who our family might not see until heaven. I have peace in knowing our family’s commitment to our purpose in fostering for 13 years. Then, adoption brought us JOY through obedience and the commitment to live vicariously though fostering! Yes, even in the saddest of times, we can find joy.

In the end, when we stand before God, we can say we Followed, Served, and Advocated though our Commitment of fostering and now.

In His Service,
Tammy
president and founder of +Foster Closet
"Mom to the Broken - Hope to the Fatherless"

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Making Thanksgiving Thankful

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful memory for me. Raised by a mom and dad who taught my brother and I to love the Lord and honor family. I had a loving, yet strict grandparents, who welcomed all 19 of us into their home once a month after Sunday church service to celebrate of all the month's birthdays. I always knew that home meant family and family meant love. My father's parents cultivated a family of loyalty and Godliness; characteristics most families do not experience in today's culture.

Eugene and Beulah Johnson's Home
Thanksgiving 1980
There was an amazing sense of gratitude as my dad drove our car into the driveway leading to my grandparents colonial style home. The emotion of Thanksgiving filled my heart knowing as soon as I entered I would see all my family. My grandparent's colonial style house had a magnificent white pillared porch, but we always entered through the back porch with a glass windowed door,  that would lead to Mammaw's kitchen. The aromas of Thanksgiving were floating throughout the porch air, which always caused my stomach to growl with delight. As I entered each room of the house to find my cousins, the house smells of turkey, cornbread, collared greens, green beans and so much more, permeated throughout each room I entered. I would always stop to gaze at the enormous stretched dinning room table that covered with every sublime southern comfort foods you could imagine. Each food was so lovingly prepared by my Mammaw, aunts and my own momma. On my way to play, I would pass the three side tables were I would see the sweetest southern ice tea, cakes, pies and always Mammaw’s homemade pecan pie for dessert, that I still make today.

Cousins (not all pictured)
I can still hear the the ladies laughter coming from the kitchen. The men would always watch a football game with my Grandaddy in the sun porch room.  I can’t forget that all of us cousins would attempt to play on Mammaw’s antique pump organ, running up and down the colonial staircase. Which seemed like hours as all the kids waited. We mostly spent those “hours” putting together a band or a skit to preform later all the adults “entertainment”, which usually was a comedy show. All priceless moments, that are now our treasured thoughts and memories past. It felt like an eternity as we waited for the final call that Thanksgiving dinner was ready but worth all the wait.

When each casserole dish was finally placed on tables, and we were set into our circle, holding hands around the table, Grandaddy would call on one of his sons or son-in-laws to pray God’s blessing over our bountiful meal. Each prayer throughout the years, were of thankfulness to God's richness over our family and His grace over our lives. Looking back, that is my favorite time God showed me what a home feels like for a child, and what God has intended a family should emulate. I am forever grateful for my grandparents living their lives pleasing unto the Lord and giving me a view of what they never had as children, but had chosen for each family member to see.

Fast forward 40 years, I cannot go a day without thinking of all the children entering foster care each year and wondering if have ever truly felt Thanksgiving? After 13 years of fostering 61 children, our family has learn how it must be hard to have learn someone else's "traditions", be in other family's home during the holidays.  Thankful is not the word I think enters their minds. No, I think words like loneliness, fear, emptiness and being away from their own family. Their pain of separation from the only parents they have ever known. The feeling of why am I here? Who are these people? I struggle to see each perspective of how lives can change for the children in foster care and the hopeless void of the loss of their family. All that they are missing during the holidays.

Take a moment as you feel yourself being pulled from the only family you ever knew. Although, a dysfunctional family, with no traditions, prayer or laughter, but your only family they you can call your own. The same family you have lived with for your 4-10 years of life. And yet, suddenly being put into a new life with strangers who want to call you their family.  We are taught from an early life, that strangers are scary. So why did those people with badges bring me into a stranger's home and why do I have to sleep in this strange bed and listen to these people who are calling me theirs? No one looks like me. No one knows what I like or don’t like to eat. All of these thoughts elude my mind as I think of our children at Thanksgiving. All their thoughts of what do I have to give to be thankful for?   I just want my family. I want to go home!! Not here!

Now let me share from the perspective of what most people are thinking. "Children will love all the joys we have to give them at Thanksgiving." "The children will have a family for Thanksgiving!!  "The children will have traditions." Or maybe, "These poor kids probably have never been thankful for a home." "I bet they have never known what a true Thanksgiving feels like." But we all know, what we all want for Thanksgiving is to be with family, and usually our own family.

I want to show you how we should embrace our children in foster care who enter each home this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I pray that each child feels our love. I pray that they aren't scared, aren't too sad or cry themselves to sleep. I pray that they feel the heart of who we are in our thankful home. I want each soul to know what Thanksgiving is in the own heart and keep that memory sacred. I pray that they find our home welcoming to their fears, comforting to their tears and understanding to their ways. I hope you see a child from their perspective and not what we want them to see.

If I teach our world anything, it would be that our core family is a constant for a thankful home. Thanksgiving is a time to show the true meaning of family, through our gentleness in their lives. That each child can see what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is for them. That they can one day remember the sights, sounds, and emotional moments valued in our foster care homes. One day each child who has entered our home, will grow up to have families, and my prayer is they want the treasured memories of love, comfort and a shared respect for family.

Sincerely Blessed, Thankful and Filled with His love this Thanksgiving!

In His Service,
Tammy
president and founder of +Foster Closet
"Mom to the Broken - Hope to the Fatherless"

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thankful Heart!

I’m taking a minute to brag on a sweet, Godly family, who also are fantastic supporters of the Foster Closet.  They don’t ask for reconnection. They don’t like the limelight or praise. They indeed are, humbled selfless servants of God.

But, all of you that know me--know that when a door opens for souls who have the same heart for children in foster care, I like to share the Why!

So please forgive me, Tori & Daniel Murphy, as I take this moment to give God The Praise, in your gifts of love for the kids and families of those whom we serve!

We have been given a fantastic honor of knowing Daniel and Tori, as they pour into their community by being God’s vessel in helping “the Least these” in foster care. I have witnessed first-hand their commitment to our charity. It’s hard to express in words on Facebook just how remarkable God works through those who allow Him to use their lives for His Glory!

When our son Ben, (now 24) was around twelve years old,  he had the excellent opportunity to meet a local athlete who became one of his favorite baseball players of all time! Daniel Murphy was so kind when he met Ben, and as a parent, we always look at those who are good role models in your child’s life. Daniel stopped that day from his training to speak to our young son. That moment not only made Ben’s day but, that moment also showed Daniel’s kind heart for kids and forever touched Ben.  Ben has followed Daniel’s career ever since.

Fast forward to that moment in October when a post I made on Foster Closet’s Instagram account about needing a left-handed glove for a little girl, caused Tori to reach out to me about helping provide the glove! Through Tori’s love for softball, and these little girls desire to play ball, we connected! And, so the story begins! I am sharing this,  to show just how God works! Never underestimate how a “chance encounter,” some twelve years ago, can lead to God’s inspired will! And for that, I am grateful.

My husband, John M. McGuire and I always pray for God to send the perfect hand-picked friends who share in our love for children and children within foster care. We are blessed in the thousands who He has given us through these past nine years.

We are so thrilled to have Daniel and Tori as Friends of the Foster Closet and who are mind-like, spiritually connected souls to walk this journey at Foster Closet.  Thank you to this sweet couple who are sharing our love for children. They have set up a giving campaign for any child in foster care to receive free sporting goods. This Thanksgiving, they also, gave away two Thanksgiving meals to two well-deserved families. 

We are so immensely blessed, to ALL of you The Lord bringing to support, volunteers and share in our cause!  You are obedient to the command given in James 1:27, as we “Look After,” through Foster Closet Corporation, LLC.



Sincerely Blessed, Thankful and Filled with His love this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Next Step. Adoption....


Today's Blog is from a beautiful soul who is a dear friend and began her journey was a momma, but quickly became a relative placement.  Here is just part of her journey. You can read more from her blog link below.


Next Step: Adoption. So Why Am I Not Happy?

Today, the state terminated parental rights to the sweet baby boy we have been in love with for the last 10 months. So much anticipation went into today. Would the birth mother show up in court? If she did, would she make another claim that she didn’t receive something and delay things again? Would we be approved to adopt him? So many things could go wrong.

But they didn’t. Everything went according to plan. Rights were terminated. We were approved to adopt. So why do I feel so yucky? It doesn’t make any sense. We are one step closer to what we have been waiting for. Adoption. The day we no longer have to worry that someone will swoop in and take him. No more home visits, court hearings, asking permission for things. He would be ours and we could all move on to the next stage of being a family.

But, I’m sad.

I can’t help but think about the magnitude of this day. This is not just the day we were approved to adopt or the day we no longer have to worry about him going back. This is the day our baby boy lost his birth mom. The woman that he will ask about years down the road. The woman he will want to know details about and maybe even ask to meet. I’m heartbroken for him. I can’t celebrate while knowing that right now, in this moment, my baby boy has no legal parents. I never expected to feel this way.

After court, a well-meaning case worker sent a text saying “Congratulations”. It felt so inappropriate. I wonder how I would feel if a court severed the legal ties to my mom. Thankfully, our baby is too young to understand but older kids must feel so torn. I can’t imagine what that must be like. Parents can be horrible to a child but a child will still love their parents no matter what, ya know I will never again take TPR lightly. This moment will lay heavy on my heart forever.

#Anonymousmomma
https://thishopefulmess.org/2018/05/16/next-step-adoption-so-why-am-i-not-happy/



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Be inspired to make a change.


Around 95% of children initially entering our home throughout our 13 years of fostering, appeared to be healthy, and for the most part, they were.  Some entering foster care come with lice, scabies or ringworm, but these ailments are all treatable and will go away. However, the children entering with extreme health issues are becoming more frequent. The Department of Children (DCF) and Child Protective Investigators (CPIs) are not always privy to all or any specific health issues a child could have. Children will always bring the risk of the unknown when entering a foster home and we as caregivers must be prepared. I feel lead to educate our world about medically needy foster children, their caregivers, and their families.

I want to urge you to share this blog, in hopes of showing how we are to teach children, friends, and neighbors, all to help cultivate a love for humanity and the children in care. Help bring compassion into the everyday world of foster care. It is hard enough to be a caregiver of an emotionally fragile child in foster care, it is more difficult to help understand their needs when they have a medical condition.

After only six days of entering our home, our sixty-first child heard for the first time, words that no child should hear, "terminally ill". I remember the walls closing in and becoming claustrophobic. I could think nothing say to our new little boy.  How does a child hear his life will be short-lived when others didn't even want him to live?  The words barely sank in that day, when I began to think of how he came with a diminished spirit and now to learn of his broken little body. Our family quickly adjusted our lifestyle while advocating what it means for children living in foster care who have long-term and life-altering health conditions. Learning how to make adjustments to a handicapped way of living is a challenge, and finding out who can help you navigate in the foster care system can be difficult. I am sharing our medical foster to adopt journey, in hopes of giving an insight into those foster/adoptive parents who think they cannot step up to the challenge.


Being a traditional foster home, with a medical child, we had to learn the medical system quickly. Having our Community Base Care Organization, such as our's at Family Support Services of Northeast Florida, was our best ally in the foster care community. Knowing that they had a Medicaid staff to answer any and all questions, gave insight into the issues we were facing and would face into our parental future. Also, finding other medical families in foster care or adoptive homes, was a wonderful asset in educating our new way of living.  I want all of our foster and adoptive families to know, there are resources, mentors, and information for all foster / adoptive homes, just don't be afraid to ask!

We quickly began to learn that the world sees our handicapped child as a hindrance to their perfect bubbled lifestyles and learned that making a change is another way to create a loving environment for others living with challenges.

Recently we had the privilege of attending a prestigious event through "Dreams Come True" a local organization that gives dreams to children diagnosed with medical conditions. The cars we saw that day were among some of the finest, and most expensive well-crafted works of art, from the past to the present. The anticipation overwhelmed our son, and his daddy, who was beaming with pride to see his son's wish come true. We notice that other children and their families looked through him sitting in his handicap stroller, almost as though he was invisible. We learned that day, most of the on-lookers just wanted to stand in front him, causing his view to be restricted. All he wanted, was to gaze at the wonderment of these majestic cars.  As his parents, we became saddened to see his face change from excitement, to discouragement. We ourselves were distraught with lack of humanity and the parents who are raising children to act in such as way. We so just wanted to leave, but were quickly reminded that we were there for him! Adventally when we broke away from the crowd, we were able to bring his bright smile back to that adorable face and watch his dream become a reality with amazement and delight!

I have one plea! Mommas, raise your children to open doors. Daddys, show your children by your example, by standing up for others so they may sit. Children will learn that they don't always have to be the first in line. More importantly, children must see others through the eyes of compassion.  It is already hard for a child coming into foster care, saying they feel different is an understatement. On top of all that, having a child with a medical condition can make it even harder to live with the mainstream.  Let's all take a step back and see the mom struggling with all the child's equipment, or a child peering over someone twice their size to take a view of the excitement ahead. Humanity is learned by the example of love. Humanity is seeing those with disabilities and not looking through them. Stand back, and teach change. Our family and other families parenting children with medical and emotional needs would appreciate the gesture. We would love for you to see our children's smiles and the openness in learning who our children are and not looking over the beauty inside each one.


Children with disabilities have challenges but I don't want any child to become their challenge. Children in foster care have their emotional and sometimes medical needs, my goal is for each of us to see their hope. Please help us make a change and help us break the cycle.

We want children in and out of foster care, to see the world with kindness,  having empathy for those around them. I thank you for listening to my heart as a mother, who will forever have a child with medical, emotional and spiritual needs. Although not given to me by birth, but purposely chosen by adoption, we still want our children to be heard, accepted and loved. Now I ask of you to be the new voice of change! Help us, Teach, Instruct and Educate others to see each child as especially needed and not to be especially needy.

Finally, if you are a new foster/adoptive parent with these struggles, we are shining a light on this need and are here to support you in any way. Find your support through your local DCF, CBC or Foster Adoptive Parent Association or start a local support group like I did! Ask, we are all here to help!

Thank you.
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Monday, January 22, 2018

How to teach, when you think they should know.

How many times do you say to your kids, "It feels like you will never learn" or "We tell you the same things over and over again." Is a daily occurrence in your home? Well, It is in ours.  It's hard to remember that in just three short years of living with our family, our children are making strides and at the same time, a few steps backward! Prior to adoption, our family was a family four, me, my husband John and the two from our belly, Ben, and Reagan. We had been set into motion for over 21 1/2  years when our last two foster children (sixty and sixty-one) forever stepped into our cohesive environment.  However, the daily routines of our family's well-adjusted spinning wheel came to a halt on that quiet February night. Our then, six-year-old son and our seven-year-old daughter entered our family room for the first time. At that moment we became a family of six, although it changed our world, it must have been so hard for our two new little ones to enter into foster care, for yet another time. This more often than you think for children coming into this type of environment or a similar pre-existing home. Our two children now had to live in our already 21 years, established family of four. And our family had to learn how to bring them into the fold.

One cannot forget that our children also lived with their birth mom on and off for 5/6 years and in and out of relative care, nonrelative and foster care. They lived with their birth father for a short time, prior to coming back into the system. And also, living with their maternal grandmother, who was not the best fit for my children. Our babies were in and out of foster care twice (maybe more with nonrelative placement) and then adopted first time for a short time (prior to our home) and now entering the foster care system yet again, because of the torture of one of the kids. How hard is that to comprehend for me as an adult, the many unstable environments that our children must have experienced in just 6 or seven years. Seeing their past in black and white is extremely difficult to read.  Yet children lived it all the time.  Our children not only lived it, endured it! How can we forget? Sadly, at times, we do. However, I'm grateful for the day when they cannot remember.

I don't want to be so doom and gloom as you read this blog. But I want to hit home how most of our children and families are living day in and day out with the children's past abuses and mental states. Our foster care and foster/adopted world is a bubble no one wants to bust, but I must, as I advocate for the ones who have had to live in the world of the foster care system. Have you ever stopped and thought about your own past? Please take a minute and think, "How many schools did you move to before third grade?" I can remember being moved 2 to two different schools before third grade. "How many homes did you attend prior to turning six or seven?" For me, only one loving home with two parents and one brother. By the way one house I lived in as well.  And I'm pretty sure you didn't potentially live with 7 to 8  families before you were in the first grade?  "How many last names did you have?"  or "How many women you called mom?" This brings to home the unstructured, dysfunctional lives that are lived by our children in foster care. These are the memories our children recall each time they think back.

When we think about the set rules we for children growing up in our home. How many rules did you break? How many times did your parents tell you repeatedly what it needs to be done?  So funny to see my childhood from someone perspective and not my own's.  I can remember being a funny happy little girl, who wanted and needed, quite a lot of attention. I wanted to be in charge at all times.   I grew up in church and knew right from wrong. I had one last name until my marriage. I came from a family who loved me and shared my name. I knew all the rules and yet... yep! I even I broke them... but just sometimes?  I'm sure I was no saint, but if you would ask my cousins, my mom and dad and oh yeah, my little brother, their recollection might be a tad bit different from mine?  However, as I think of all our 57 foster and now our 2 adopted children, it somehow it all pails in comparison to my simple childhood. Although I did have an abuse of own in my family, I never had to live with that perpetrator. I was able to go home to my parents and family who cared for me in the way a mom and dad should. However, doesn't the childhood of every foster child having to endure such anguishing pain, pail in comparison? Put into reality,  children in care,  are lost when entering our stable homes? If a child is struggling with depression, ADHD, or better yet, severe trauma, which was given to them by their own parents/adoptive parents, doesn't learn the simple things, like when to brush your teeth, not sneaking candy to their room or the mundane cleaning of your room, bring the point of "WHO CARES" kind-of-attitude? Sometimes baby steps for children in foster care are huge accomplishments. Of course, I'm preaching to myself and our own family's fundamental way of parenting of what children coming out of this atmosphere, should do or how to act.  Our children to the outside world look "normal", but to us, they drive us crazy! To all our foster/adoptive parents, you are normal too! But when I think about it, I'm sure I drove my parents crazy too! I will take feeling crazy for now, and teach our children, who they can become! I have to think of how in just in almost 3 short years, these kiddos are just trying to catch up our 24 and half years of growing as a family. When I see from my children's perspective, it makes me step back and take a huge breath as I begin to sink into the memories of when they stepped into our home that 12th Thursday night in February. When the DCF CPI (Department of Children and Families, Child Protection Investigator), as well as an Emergency Trauma Therapist, dropped off the children, we thought we would have them for a short time. They must have been so scared!! Fast forward to today and to how they come so far in our family! I'm amazed at whom they are today!  We are all intertwined with the McGuire Family and I am blessed! They are growing! We are blessed!

I pray that our children see that punishments are the consequences of their own choices. Punishments never make us feel loved. They only bring to light just how imperfect we are.   But I still hope that we show when taking privileges away, only acknowledges how we are wanting to cultivate beautiful human beings who will make the right decisions in their future.  Just this week we were driving down the short road to school,  and I turned on the radio thinking to hear music, however, was surprised to hear a preacher explaining how God allows all of us to receive consequences to the poor choices we have made.  I turned off the radio to elaborate on my children sitting in the back seat, who cannot escape the sound of my voice! I shared with them, just like when they break the rules, the kids get no TV or dessert taken away, adults can have consequences too. I went on to say, yes, even I must follow the rules (law) of a state or our country and if I choose not to, I to have consequences for my own actions. As we were stopped at stop sign, I pointed over to the house to our right and I asked the kids if I just could walk into that person's home or drive all over their lawn and rip up their grass? They said no way!! Of course, they said no? I was so glad they said no!  I told them it's not just a law I would break, or that I was going to maliciously run over someone's property, it was that kind of action was also not morally correct. I think they got it? But I had to try... I had to ask... I had to explain. Becuase I'm their mom.  I can never assume as the parent, what any of my children know.  I must always and continuously instruct, sometimes "nag", in hopes they get what is to be expected of them. As I dropped them off at school, one child shared aka tattled, that the other child took one of my own birthday flowers given to me by a friend of mine. My child had brought it to school to give to a friend or a teacher and had it in their pocket. When asked if they took my flower,  reluctant the guilty party pulled it out of their pocket. I shared how the flower took, was given to me by my friend and I wished they would have just asked if they could take one flower. The door shut and I continued to drive through drop-off and off to work. When getting to work, I noticed that the same child had brought an item into the car they were told to not bring out of the house. Oh, my! Was my talk too late? At least they left the item in the car? Baby steps momma bear, baby steps.

I want our children to grow up knowing right from wrong. However, I must always live by example and instruction, so they can learn by the repetitiveness of life. When I picked my kiddos up from school that same day,  shared with them how although I had other flowers at home, the ones that were taken, were mine. I had to explain how what is mine is not theirs. I also shared that sometimes it's better to ask if one can to take, before taking.  We must be consistent in our teaching and not expect that children coming from dysfunctional, trauma-filled existence prior to our homes, should truly understand how to make good decisions. Sometimes I think foster parents forget that when children have been with you almost three years or more,  we must not assume they are retaining,  remember they were with their prior homes much longer than with our home's. So as the parent of my children, I must continually instruct and explain and then repeat again and again. Sometimes with great details. We cannot expect children to take our children's mixed up life's puzzle pieces and think theirs can cohesively fit into ours.  I know their pieces are always forming and never set. God knows, I wish, but in the long run,  I know, I'm speaking directly to myself. I want to become their greatest life teacher and not the memory of an inconsistent, dysfunctional past-family dynamic they once lived. God gave them to me to prove His ways are righteous and you cannot prove anything without the why. You must say why I told you so... Over and Over and Over again. That's because they are so worth it! Over and Over Again!

In His Service,
Tammy
president and founder of +Foster Closet
"Mom to the Broken - Hope to the Fatherless"

Friday, January 12, 2018

The struggles of PTSD

Sometimes you look at your child who has been through so much and see this soul full of promise! A being that feels whole and gives you a peace of accomplishment... "He's come such a long way"!! And then IT happens, an "episode". What does that look like, you might ask? One minute you have a compliant child, the next you have a child looking blank at you and beginning to shut down, or better yet, revert to his toddler years. When a child has been so horrifically victimized by the very same people he was supposed to trust and stay safe forever, that is when the child's brain learns to protect itself.  This is when those moments overcome us with the continual anticipation of the emotional rug being pulled out from underneath us.

As a parent, you feel helpless to manage their outburst and your reaction to the outburst. You try to understand the reason and rhyme of it all... but when it comes down to it, you just can't. You have to come to the conclusion that your child's brain has forever been altered by the prior abusers and they have put a mark on your child. That is why they react to certain circumstances they cannot control. And better yet, how they react to you.

The worst call as a parent is when you can get from school's principal telling you your son is being baker-acted! Baker-act is when you must provide individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment when required, either on a voluntary or an involuntary basis. This is a process where the child stays overnight for 48-72 hours. Our son was only six, that's right 6 years of age when it happened to us! Having to know my little boy and others like him, are being placed in the backseat of a police car and all because adults were frightened of him, yes frightened, that saddens me to utter those words. When arriving at the mental health institution, I had to be buzzed in to see my child. Once through the door, I was met by my blanked-face little boy and a police officer. He told me he didn't have to handcuff him... what! handcuff a six-year-old?  After waiting in the small cramped lobby, we watched older teens come in with handcuffs and calmly know what to do and what was expected of them. It was almost as though they chose to act out so that they could arrive at this mental health institution. I was so saddened and tried to hold back my tears. Better yet, having to watch your child undress and be examine by a stranger to see if he had any bruises from his self-harming. And when your little one ask if he is staying and where you are going is so difficult to answer. Then finally having to watch this little child walk through those big double doors to good-bye and not knowing who long he would stay and not being able to speak to those taking care of my child.

In all my 13 years of fostering, I had never come across such a child who was likened to have untrained-animalist tendencies. Once a child has been brought to that moment, they realize they are not worthy of life. If you are 5/6 years old and have come to that conclusion, why even try. There are children in foster care who have had many more years of continual abuse, to which the damage is greater to their growing and every changing brains. How do they trust? How do they process? How do they determined to know who is good and when will that "good" person switch to hurting them. I'm sure that hearing anything negative come out of an adult around these children, can be processed as - "WHEN I SAY NO !" ... hurt follows.

Having a child who was deemed "tortured" by The Department of Children and Families, you truly cannot imagine what their brain was gone through. At the time of adoption, you are able to read the court's transcripts of your child's life, that is when reality sets in. You find out that prior to birth was extremely dangerous for this child, no prenatal care, born addicted to many drugs, shown pictures of your future son all hooked up to so many tubes and wires helping him survive... and that is just the beginning of their life.

I am here to say there is HOPE! Yes, you must pray to love throughout the pain, frustration, and fear but love is truly not enough! First, medication is a must for children like ours, although not forever. Second, we must follow through with consistency to our threats. IF you say the child has to go to bed early that night, stay the course. They will learn to manipulate through their survival skills, you must take a firm (but loving) stand and follow through with your parenting. Third, we must give affirmation when the child succeeds in self-calming or staying on task. Finally, never give up on therapy! Starting out with trauma therapy is essential for a child to process and control their feelings, emotions and physical actions. This process also helps the family learn, process and control their child. After discharged from over one year of trauma therapy, we switched to traditional and post-adoption therapy. I am a true believer that once a child learns why, they and the family must learn how to keep the self-calming, and self-control of their daily triggers and outburst.

I promise it is the hardest life-event you will ever experience if you have a PTSD child, however, to see a positive progression is the reward for your due diligence. Learn more about your child and his or her's mental health, then apply it to your daily routine and stay the course of action given to you by your mental health specialist. You will be whole, your family will be whole, or as whole as the child can be with a mental health diagnosis can be.

In His Service,
Tammy
president and founder of +Foster Closet
"Mom to the Broken - Hope to the Fatherless"