Marcus and Mariana entered foster care at the ages of 4 and 2 because of horrible physical abuse. They bounced between several homes because Marcus’ severely autistic behaviors were difficult to handle.
To keep them out of a shelter, the state called Nina, the children’s grandmother, to see if she would take the children. Newly widowed in her mid-50s, Nina wasn’t sure she was up for the task but didn’t want them to fall through the cracks. Nina decided to become a single mother to her grandchildren. She thought that her love alone would be enough to give them a better life.
Nina legally adopted Marcus and Mariana at the ages of 5 and 3. Today, Marcus is 18 and Mariana is 16, and their needs stemming from abuse have only increased as adolescents. Nina thought they would “grow out” of their trauma-related behaviors when she provided them love and a stable home but has realized that is not true. After hearing about Chosen’s services from a therapist, she reached out for help.
Every Monday, Chosen’s Care Manger goes to Nina’s house. In her first meeting with Chosen, Nina explained how angry she was with the children’s mother for putting her grandchildren in harm’s way and abandoning them. She struggled with resentment toward Marcus and Mariana for their challenging behaviors. She felt isolated and incapable of meeting all their needs, let alone helping them heal.
The first step in helping Nina was addressing her self-worth. Parenting had become so difficult that she lost the motivation to care for herself. She said at times that it was easier to think about not living. After creating a self-care plan for her, Chosen helped Nina understand how trauma aspects the development of a child, as well as how to parent children with that legacy of trauma.
As Nina was learning these crucial concepts in her home, Mariana was overhearing the lessons. One day, she walked into their family room and asked if she could learn about trauma too. After a few weeks of working together, Mariana said, “I have been in therapy my entire life. No one ever explained to me how my past impacted the way I am now.” Both Nina and Mariana gained valuable insight as to why they have struggled so much over the years. Understanding has led to compassion, forgiveness, and a stronger attachment.
Mariana felt worthless because her mom abandoned her. After working with our team, she has gone from a shy teen who would only leave her room to go to school to a bright, joyful 16-year old who is looking forward to her very first date. She’s also become courageous enough to ask for special accommodations in school. She said, “Grandma, I know my needs and extra time testing outside the classroom is what I need.” She also told her Care Manager, “I can tell you really care about me. That is why I want to keep working with you and I will listen to you. Monday is now my happy day!”
Because Chosen does whatever it takes to help a family in crisis, Nina’s Care Manager talked with her multiple times a day when they first met. After six months, Nina trusts herself to handle some behaviors, and knows when to reach out for help. After living with a legacy of trauma, their story is still being written but now includes attachment, hope, and healing. Their entire family is being transformed.
Chosen helps children heal from trauma by strengthening their families. They serve foster, kinship, adoptive and reunified families. Children who have been harmed in relationship can only heal in relationship. Chosen’s holistic approach addresses children’s mental and behavioral health needs, as well as caregiver and sibling needs. They are relentlessly committed to doing whatever it takes to set children on a path of healing.