John and Anne’s Story
John and Anne’s Story: Building Family Bonds in Foster Care.
It was hardly by the book.
John and Anne Manor* were a twenty-something, vibrant couple with a heart for kids. Though they didn’t have biological children of their own quite yet, they did have a heart for kids and signed up to be foster parents. Like any parent-to-be, the couple researched how to be a good parent, reading books and going through foster parent training at their agency. The realities of foster parenting though, well, they weren’t in any book they read, and soon John and Anne were fading fast.
Jessica and Amber had been through too much in their young lives. At only 7 and 8, they had been severely neglected and witnessed scenes no child should ever see. Authorities removed the girls from their home, placed them with a foster family, returned them home only to remove them again. It’s no wonder they arrived on John and Anne’s doorstep wounded, angry and afraid.
It showed in their behavior.
Rage. Physical attacks. Hurled objects. Verbal insults and lots of tears. The Manors never expected it to be so intense. To make matters even more challenging, Jessica and Amber didn’t know how to use a toilet or practice even basic hygiene. Everyone was exhausted and the Manors asked themselves, “How could we not have anticipated this.” They weren’t sure they could keep going, but they also did not want to give up on the placement or the girls.
Then came COVID.
Now an impossible situation got even harder. The girls weren’t going to school, and all in-person visits with their biological parents were off for the foreseeable future. Chaos reigned, and the couple faced two choices: Disrupt the placement or reach out for help from an organization their agency recommended.
The Manors called Chosen.
Through Chosen’s foster care support, John and Anne learned for the first time about the brain differences severe trauma and early neglect could cause, and how the girls only hope to heal was within the context of good relationships. It started with baby steps, but slowly and surely over the course of the program, the girls began to attach to John and Anne.
Now that the Manors understood the source of the girls’ wild behavior, they started connecting with Jessica and Amber before correcting it. John and Anne purposely engaged the girls in attachment rich interactions to build trust, something their Chosen Care Manager recommended. Small seeds of trust have sprouted.
We aren’t scared anymore.
Not long ago, as the couple tucked Jessica into bed, she said, “When we got here, we didn’t like you. We were afraid to be here.”
“What about now?” John asked.
Jessica answered, “We like you now, and we aren’t scared anymore.”
For the first time in their lives, these two scared little girls have learned that adults can be safe and will listen. They now know they are safe and the difference in Jessica and Amber is remarkable. The difference in John and Anne is too.
Chosen Walks Alongside the Caregivers
Every year, Chosen helps foster families build bonds of trust. And we’re looking for partners to help heal their heartbreak. Your gift gives families the assurance they need to provide attachment and permanency for kids who desperately need it.
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*Names changed to protect privacy.