Ministry Setting New Norms and Healing for Adopted Kids Who Desperately Need It
- Article Source: The Beacon
- Article Link: https://sabeacon.com/stories/ministry-setting-new-norms-and-healing-for-adopted-kids-who-desperately-need-it.html
Chosen fills a massive gap for foster and adoptive families so they can build bonds of trust
A 20-something couple with a heart for children signed up as foster parents before starting their biological family, but the stark reality of parenting two young girls traumatized by abuse and neglect shattered their expectations.
At just 7 and 8 years old, Jessica* and Amber* had already endured family dysfunction that no child should experience. Removed from their home by authorities and returned twice, their trauma only deepened. It’s no wonder they arrived wounded, angry and afraid.
Jessica and Amber’s initial response to such pain was to act out in the only ways they knew how: Rage. Physical attacks. Hurled objects. Verbal insults and lots of tears. Exhaustion loomed over everyone, and the couple wasn’t sure they could continue with the foster placement.
The COVID shutdown made these challenges more daunting, as the girls couldn’t attend school. Their foster agency recommended Chosen, and through the ministry’s foster care support, the couple learned for the first time that severe trauma and early neglect affect a child’s brain and that healing could only occur within the safety of nurturing relationships.
Equipped with this new understanding of the girls’ wild behavior and skills learned from their Chosen Care Manager, the couple began to parent differently and meet the girls’ needs. Through Chosen’s proven program, the girls built attachment and trust.
For the first time in their lives, these two once-frightened little girls learned that adults could provide safety, listening, and understanding, leading to remarkable transformations in Jessica and Amber. Because of Chosen’s support, this foster family not only survived but thrived.
Every child deserves a safe and stable home.
November is National Adoption Month, but despite the Texas Legislature funding the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) with a staggering $5.1 billion for the 2024-2025 budget, the Texas Tribune reported in June that DFPS “has struggled to care for the nearly 20,000 kids in its custody who have been removed from their parents’ homes. The agency can’t find placements with foster families, relative caregivers, or residential facilities for all the kids in its care.”
So, how can you help? God uses people to change lives. What one step of faith is God asking you to take to bring healing to families? Perhaps your step is simply to learn more about Chosen, a participating ministry in the citywide initiative called 1000 Beacons of Light. You can learn more about Chosen and 1000 Beacons of Light HERE.
For the past 13 years, Chosen has worked tirelessly to help children heal from trauma through the power of connection and attachment with loving caregivers by supporting their adoptive, kinship, and foster parents. The ministry is not only dedicated to adoption assistance but emphasizes the significance of keeping children in their homes.
Often, the better solution for children removed from their parents is for them to be re-homed with a relative, called a kinship placement. But what happens if Grandma then gets sick or dies? Siblings may be separated and languish in temporary placement – even living in hotels or office buildings — until a suitable family can be found.
Not every “forever home” actually lasts forever.
An alarming half of the children in care in Bexar County face placement disruptions within a year, according to Chosen Vice President of Programs Angela Roberson, LCSW. It’s a repeating cycle of the child inflicted with the trauma of loss all over again.
Navigating the challenging reality of raising adopted or foster children with complex emotional wounds and associated behaviors can be overwhelming for caregivers.
Those engaged in the child welfare system have experienced domestic violence, substance misuse, instability with caregivers and living arrangements, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Every new placement is another layer of trauma,” Roberson said. “The more layers, the more behaviors. We help people look at those behaviors as a response to trauma and what has happened to these children instead of what’s wrong with them so that they can see the need behind the behaviors of anger and aggression. Once the child’s needs are met, we see behaviors decrease and parents’ stress levels going down.”
Kelsey, a Chosen intern, said, “Chosen helps families move from extreme stress and trauma to a place of peace within the family unit. Chosen provides parents with the trauma-informed parenting skills, tools, and opportunities to love and care for their families in healing and lasting ways.”
Chosen’s journey began with adoption assistance, but they realized that keeping children in their homes was a much greater need.
“We asked the hard question of how can we serve families better? Because the current status is just unacceptable,” said Chosen Founder and Executive Director Jenni Lord. Chosen gives caregivers hope and assurance they can maintain the placement and stay in it for the long haul.
Our objective is strengthening the families who say ‘yes’ and helping children heal from trauma.
“Chosen’s services are a fundamental addition to the foster parent experience,” said Chosen Intern Deb. “I have witnessed the diminishing fear for many foster parents and their children firsthand.”
Headquartered in New Braunfels, the ministry extends its reach across the nation. In 2022, Chosen provided more than 400 families with its Trust Based Relational Intervention services. “An astounding 99% of the families that complete Chosen’s model have maintained permanency and have not dissolved or disrupted their placement,” Roberson said.
Trauma affects the brain neurologically and developmentally, Lord added, citing research by Dr. Karyn Purvis at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development. For abused children, the absence of healthy relationships prevents their brains from developing healthy connections.
The first goal is to understand the child’s story. Chosen Care Managers analyze each family’s unique situation and create a customized trauma action plan, connecting families to resources that holistically address the child’s and family’s needs.
Beyond the needs of the displaced children, Chosen addresses the whole family’s needs. Is there an underlying marital issue? Are the biological kids struggling and in need of counseling? Is there a sensory processing disorder that would benefit from occupational therapy? The ministry offers coaching and counseling to empower parents with the tools and techniques to connect with their children. Families can sign up for two complimentary sessions through the website.
“Our primary goals are healing for children and to ensure that families don’t break down. We want zero failed adoptions, zero failed placements,” Lord said. “We are trying to stop the bleeding that people can’t see from the outside.”
God is at work in the lives of children who’ve suffered trauma. Will you join Him?
Chosen is a participating ministry in 1000 Beacons of Light. You can join this citywide movement. Learn more, sign up, and select Chosen by clicking HERE.
Chosen works to help children heal from trauma by strengthening their families. Our practitioners and licensed care managers work with families impacted by the child welfare system – including adoptive, foster, kinship (relative) families and biological parents reunified with their children. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.chosen.care to learn more.