one heart on the rise – Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

one heart on the rise

Trusting in a better plan

As we begin our 50th year of helping people experience their worth in Christ, let’s celebrate God’s transformational work in the life of one young boy over the course of one year and 22 days at CCHO.

Caden* came to CCHO from a foster home when his increasingly defiant and aggressive behaviors were making it evident that he needed more help for challenges that stemmed from physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect. Additionally, Caden witnessed violence between his mother and her partner. He also saw his mother buy and use drugs.

When Caden first arrived on campus a little over a year ago, just before Christmas, he was defiant, struggled to trust adults and was unable to develop friendships. He had frequent nightmares and flashbacks. And yet, because he immediately felt safe and loved, Caden adjusted to life here pretty quickly, even with the timing of the holidays.

Over the next eight months, he worked hard to complete his individualized treatment plan and achieve his goals. He effectively engaged in both individual and group therapies. He enjoyed recreational activities and also responded well to art and equine therapy. Caden demonstrated a significant decrease in physical and verbal aggression, opposition toward adults and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. His ability to concentrate and focus substantially increased. He was ready for the next step of his journey but there would be obstacles in his path.

For the majority of Caden’s time with us, the plan was for him to be reunited with his biological mother who drove every other week from out-of-state to visit him. We were making steps for his discharge to take place when his county discontinued the reunification plan. Caden was devastated. A letter was sent to his county noting his readiness for discharge and a foster family was identified for him. Steps were made for the transition to this family, but the placement fell through just three days before his scheduled departure.

This was another loss for Caden, and he was faced with feelings of rejection and abandonment all over again. After a couple weeks of processing this loss, Caden came to the staff and said that he was going to be okay because he realized God must have a better family in store for him.

During this time of waiting, Caden’s biological mother gave birth to his baby sister. He was really upset about not being able to meet her. As Halloween and Thanksgiving came and went, he began feeling more and more hopeless. He was devastated at the thought of spending a second Christmas here. He desired to have a home and be part of a family.

Toward the beginning of December, his county identified another foster home for him. After the second visit with this family, Caden came back thrilled that his potential foster father told him he would officially be his foster dad. To top it all off, the foster family has an infant, which helped fill the void Caden was experiencing from not being with his baby sister.

We invite you to pray for Caden and his new foster family as they adjust to becoming a family of four. Please pray that he feels safe and secure in his new home and has peace with being separated from his biological mom and baby sister. If he isn’t able to return to his mother, we hope that he is adopted, finding his forever family. We also hope that Caden uses the skills he learned at CCHO in his new placement and continues to grow closer to God.

Faith played a big role in Caden’s healing story. He enjoyed reading his Action Bible and listening to Christian music on his mp3 player, using the music as a coping skill. He was always excited when it was his prayer day, and he often included all of his peers and staff in his prayers. Because of your generosity, CCHO was a safe place for Caden to receive treatment and learn about his worth in Christ. Your giving allowed Caden to experience love and support in healthy ways. Thank you for making this #OneHeartOnTheRise transformation possible.

Jessie Berry is the therapist for Cottage 6 where our young boys live. She has served on staff since June 2015 helping children overcome past trauma.

*name changed to protect his identity


This story first appeared in our Winter 2019 All Things quarterly newsletter.

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One heart on the rise

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Cottage 1 recently celebrated #OneHeartOnTheRise. One of our teen boys successfully completed his program and was reunified with his biological family. What a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas for this family! Please join us in praise and prayer for his continued growth and transition from our residential program.

Once high school sweethearts, a series of bad choices led to a marriage falling apart. The difficulties of this loss sadly led to additional poor choices made by both parents and children. One sibling faired the storm and one sibling arrived at CCHO for additional support for his anger and behavioral challenges. That’s when this family’s healing journey began.

Shaun* settled into his program here on our Wooster campus and found several positive leisure activities to enjoy and help him make better choices. He also began family counseling with his mom. She drove several hours each way multiple times a week to visit and participate in these sessions. Even when Shaun was not very nice to her, she continued to attend counseling and be supportive and open to feedback. Together with a clinician, they were able to identify and work through emotional concerns while learning effective communication skills.

As a celebratory session at the end of treatment, the clinical team joined Shaun and his family on an escape room activity. This gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his problem-solving, communication and anger-management skills with his family in real time. Upon reentry to school, the principal noted, “He’s a brand new kid!” as he could see the positive changes in self-confidence and communication displayed in Shaun.

Our clinical team also worked with Shaun’s family to create a parenting plan and a family schedule to help them succeed in their reunification. We are truly excited to be a part of this family’s growth! Our social work approach wraps around the entire family with relentless commitment and kindness to help them experience their worth in Christ and find healing as a family unit.

Thank you for celebrating this #OneHeartOnTheRise with us. And thank you for your financial support and advocacy. You are helping to make safety and healing a reality for children and families like this.

*name changed to protect his identity

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