CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we hear from an adoptive mom whose son eventually found healing from his past trauma in CCHO’s residential treatment program. Story #28 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series reminds us how important time and trust are on the road to wholeness.
My son was adopted when he was eight years of age. He had been in residential treatment for three years prior to his adoption, from age five to age eight. When he came to my home, he exhibited significant self-harming behaviors like defiance, aggression and running away. His social and emotional skills were almost nonexistent due to his extensive trauma, which included 19 moves within the foster care system and the loss of his birth family. Developmentally, he had significant delays as well. Cognitively, he had delays and a lower IQ, which made progress even more challenging.
Initially, his behaviors were not too severe at home. However, he suffered from attachment disorder, which made it difficult to help him feel safe or to trust anyone so he could heal from his past, causing his behaviors at home to intensify. After two years, they had become nearly unmanageable. His threats made it unsafe for him to remain in the home, and he was placed at CCHO by the county after making multiple threats to kill me and kill himself.
He initially was unable to deal with any of his past trauma or behavior issues, making his first four months at CCHO largely unfruitful. But once he began to disclose the extensive trauma he endured as a very young child to a counselor that he trusted, his progress was incredible. His counselor and I communicated frequently and worked closely during weekly sessions to further address the attachment issues my son exhibited. He went through an intensive trauma therapy program (Thrive), which shed more light on what he experienced in his birth family. Finally, after his trauma was treated and he knew he could trust me, his behaviors changed for the better. After only four more months, his transformation was amazing. He came home and was the funny, happy kid God created him to be. He no longer had any aggressive behaviors. He did not make any threats to harm himself or me.
I believe that God directed the county to choose CCHO because it was what my son needed to help him become the man God created him to be. He learned that love is unconditional and that moms can be trusted. He is completely attached to me now and trusts me 100% in many areas. He dealt with much of his past trauma and has continued to use the coping skills he learned at CCHO.
He is now 14 and still has areas that need work. He has many delays that will require more attention. But, without CCHO he would likely not be here at all. I was unable to maintain him safely in our home so I had expected to return custody to the agency. I am thankful that never happened.
I have hope that he will be a wonderful adult and contribute in a great way to the lives of others. He challenges me each day to never give up and to recognize that no child is ever a lost cause. Some kids just got started off with more obstacles than others. But with the proper help and lots of prayer, good things can happen. If my son never gives up, I won’t either.