Tonya and Rick* were happily married with three children; they thought their family was complete. But one day they learned that their nephew, John, was in need of a safe home. Without fanfare, they stepped in and agreed to bring him into their home for as long as necessary.
John’s placement with his relatives—called a kinship caregiver placement—was successful. And years later, Tonya and Rick finalized his adoption. Once again, they thought their family was complete.
Then they received a phone call about Brittany, a distant relative in need of a safe home. However, this situation was different. They did not know Brittany. She lived in another state and her parents’ rights had already been terminated. Brittany had been in several foster homes already, but each of the placements had failed. Now CPS was seeking a relative who could adopt her.
Rick and Tonya agreed to open their homes once again, and they began the formal process of moving her to their home state. But they were nervous—Brittany had significant needs. She struggled with extreme meltdowns, sexualized behaviors, and other symptoms of the trauma she had experienced.
The couple wondered–How could they give Brittany the necessary support? What could they do to keep her safe along with everyone else in the home? What if the placement didn’t work out?
In order to get Brittany to their home, the family had to undergo an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, or an ICPC process. As the ICPC process began, Tonya reached out to Chosen with their concerns. Their Chosen care manager began working with Tonya regularly to establish new parenting techniques to connect with Brittany and offer the necessary care. But these techniques were different from what the couple had used with their other children.
At first, Tonya was hesitant to believe that the new parenting style and techniques could actually work. Her other children were all doing well—why would something different help Brittany?
Despite the uncertainty, the family continued to work with Chosen, and eventually a strong relationship was developed with their care manager. During meetings, their care manager listened patiently to concerns, answered all questions, and offered the opportunity for honest, non-judgmental dialogue. Once trust was established, Tonya and Rick felt more confident about implementing new parenting techniques.
By the time Brittany was placed in their home, Tonya and Rick felt prepared. They had a more solid idea of what to expect from this placement and they knew they had access to their care manager, who would walk alongside them on this placement journey. The transition did not come without difficulties, but the couple’s new set of parenting tools helped to address these difficulties in a healthy way.
Because Chosen uses Dr. Bruce Perry’s dosing methodology, in which clients are in control of the frequency and duration of sessions with their care manager, the couple was empowered to reach out to Chosen as needed, to seek guidance on certain difficult issues.
Although things have stabilized in their home, Tonya and Rick have met weekly with their care manager over the past months. They are intentional about Chosen’s program—they seek input whenever necessary and they are always willing to implement the strategies they are taught. Because of their dedication to Brittany and their adherence to the plans discussed with their care manager, Brittany’s placement has been successful.
But there is another element of success to come out of this story. When Tonya and Rick reached out to Chosen regarding Brittany, they had not realized that John, their adopted son, may have also had needs that were being unaddressed. Because of his time in the child welfare system, John has some of the same needs as Brittany. With the help of their care manager, Tonya and Rick were able to identify those needs and address them.
Over the past six months, peace has been established in the family home, and healing has begun for both John and Brittany. In a few short days, Tonya and Rick will finalize Brittany’s adoption. The tools they have developed throughout their time with Chosen have left them confident—they feel their entire family has a bright future ahead of them!
*Names have been changed.