Not long after I became a licensed foster parent I met a boy named Marcus and he stole my heart. He had been living in residential care for three years and sadly, I knew he was a very hurt child. Marcus began living with me about 6 weeks after we first met. I’d never been a mom before but was so happy to provide him with a loving, stable and safe home. At first, things were perfect, it was going smoothly and I was excited for the future. Then Marcus exploded. He started getting suspended from school, running away and destroying property. I understood he was hurting so badly from his past, but didn’t know how to help. Foster care was new to me. Being a mom was new, and we were in the midst of a pandemic.
It was then that I reached out to DABSJ and was put in contact with John from the Enhanced Foster Care program. He was there to answer questions that I didn’t always know to ask. Marcus needed support and John stepped in to help find and coordinate the resources he needed. Together we worked with therapists and social workers from DABSJ’s foster care, home-based counseling and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy programs to help Marcus navigate through his hurt in a healthy and healing way.
One of the therapies was not the best fit for Marcus and John recognized that we needed to try something different. I saw it too, but didn’t know which way to turn or where to begin looking. John offered just the right amount of validation exactly when it was needed. He listened. He helped empower me to be a better mother. He was my rock throughout a very long and trying process of learning to parent my absolutely amazing, high-needs son.
Therapy has changed our lives. When my son is sad or disappointed, he cries. That doesn’t sound huge but it is. Sadness or disappointment used to result in destruction and violence, and now is expressed in a healthy way. John walked with us through our hardest times. I’m too stubborn and in absolute love with my boy to say that we wouldn’t have made it without the staff and services that DABSJ provides, but we would not be in the place that we are without them.
This was a long and trying process. But worth every second. The best news is that just this past September I was able to adopt Marcus and he is now part of our family, forever.