By Eric Pera

Faith Linholm, 8, had been through foster care system 3 dozen times.

LAKELAND | After one short meeting with Faith in March 2011, Vance and Daphne Linholm were smitten. Faith was the child they’d always wanted but couldn’t conceive.
adoption success story
But the young girl wasn’t all sugar and spice. Taken from her birth parents at 11 months of age because of abuse and neglect, she’d developed severe emotional and behavioral problems.

By the time Faith came face to face with the Linholms, she’d been passed through the state’s foster-care system no less than three dozen times. She was on a number of psychotropic drugs, but still it seemed no one could handle her.

The Lakeland couple were willing to try. They moved immediately to initiate an adoption.

The next eight months were fraught with setbacks, among them Faith’s volatile outbursts. At one point, state adoption workers moved to have her placed in a mental health treatment hospital.

“They thought Faith needed to be institutionalized,” said Vance Linholm, assistant principal at Rochelle School of the Arts. “They didn’t think Faith could make it.”

They were wrong.

On June 24, the Linholms and their 8-year-old adopted daughter received The Florida Foster/Adoptive Parent Association’s annual Forever Hearts Award, highlighting the family’s journey.

The Linholms’ perseverance in giving Faith a stable, loving home, in spite of the better judgment of state adoption specialists, was helped in part through new research into treating the kind of brain trauma caused by severe child abuse and neglect.

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