By Ken Thom
November is Adoption Awareness Month, so it seems appropriate that I share with you about one of my success stories, Trey.
My first encounter with Trey was at a day care that was in the home of a family where I was providing in-home services. We also crossed paths during one of my consultation visits at the Head Start Center he attended. For being only 3½ years old, Trey was very articulate. He moved about his environment with confidence and possessed above-average fine and gross motor skills. Neither Head Start nor the day care had any concerns about him. For some reason, Trey caught my attention.
I met and chatted with Trey’s mother when she would pick him up from day care. Through casual conversation, I found out that Trey had been adopted at birth. Prior to Trey’s adoption, Lee and her daughter had experienced a lot of trauma in their lives. They could not find a safe place to live. When Trey’s adoption was finalized, they moved to this part of the country. I found out that Trey was a crack cocaine baby.
I was impressed because Trey, as an adopted child and a crack cocaine baby, was well-adjusted and emotionally regulated; socially, Trey adapted to his environment and fit in very well.
As I got to know the family better, I asked Lee what kind of help she received when she got Trey. The only professional advice or help she received was a suggestion from the emergency foster home worker who wisely told Lee to hold Trey tightly through his withdrawals. He was seven days old when Lee got him. Later on, Lee found out that he could have experienced “shaking baby syndrome” had she not held him tightly through his withdrawals.
Because of her own trauma history Lee drew on what had helped calm her when she experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her formula is text book for those who know about healing womb and birth trauma:
First of all, Trey was never left alone. His sister, age four at the time, would tag team with her mom when Lee had to run an errand or be briefly away from Trey. The duo caretakers held Trey and comforted him. They wrapped him in materials that were soothing. Lee held Trey against her own skin so he would become familiar with personal touch.
Lee sang songs and had Trey listen to soothing sounds while she rocked his shaking and traumatized little body. The fragrance of candles was always in the air. Warm baths and soothing massages with lotion were commonplace. Trey was never left alone. Lee trusted that love never fails.
There it is folks, Healing 101 in a nutshell. I get Holy Ghost spirit bumps when I talk and write about this story. Trey’s story is one of unconditional love and sacrifice by his mother and sister. What can be more Christ-like than that?
My journey with Trey, his sister, and Lee continues. Trey’s healing journey is a family affair. I have been blessed and it is a privilege to be allowed to be part of their journey. They have taught me much about putting love into action.
I now understand what attracted me to Trey. It is the Christ in him. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in Trey and spills out to others. What a deal! What an adoption! And no one spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting Trey into treatment programs and residential facilities. That scenario is far too common with adoptions today. The intervention of love and motherly instinct was sufficient. The end.
But this is actually just the beginning – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” John 4:18.
A nationally recognized Christian counselor and published author, Ken Thom specializes in helping families with adopted or foster children. Contact Ken to find out how you can receive a free 30-minute phone coaching session. http://www.kenthomcounseling.com/contact.html
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