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Monday, February 16, 2015

Empowered to Connect--Raising Kids from Hard Places

When you adopt a child from the foster care system, or parent any child with early trauma (which can happen inadvertently even in the most amazing of households through premature birth, loss of a parent, major illness, etc.), you often have a slightly different road to travel.  Early trauma of any kind can block, inhibit, or impair your child to form typical brain connections, which he later needs to control impulses, negotiate needs, and generally thrive.

Having adopted three of our precious kids from the foster care system, I can say that this neurological premise has definitely held true for us.  Even amongst the three, who had major issues at different points in the development/early lives, we have seen a range of deficits in different areas at different times.

Our goal with these gorgeous guys has not been just to love them and hope for the best, but to do all we can to mitigate early damage, try not to cause too much more harm (!!), and eventually release them into the world brimming with ability and potential.
But it's hard when you have physiology and neurology and history stacked somewhat against your daughter or son.

We've accessed a whole host of resources for our "Kids from Hard Places" over the years.  Every kind of doctor, therapy, intervention, and support system we could find, we utilized. Some were minor, like having our daughter attend Kumon to help with math issues.  Some were major like the few months we sent our son to a residential facility in order to step down off of high powered meds (that we discovered he didn't need!!) and onto his epilepsy cocktail.

Some have worked, some have not.  Some have even been detrimental, if I'm being entirely honest. And some have been mildly helpful. But NOTHING has helped us on our way more than discovering the work of Dr. Karyn Purvis.

Dr. Purvis, who works out of Texas Christian University, has been part of a team that has pioneered an approach to reaching, healing and empowering "Kids from Hard Places" that is, literally, revolutionizing care for such kids.  She's currently doing two day conferences all over the country (I recently drove 10 hours to one in Los Angeles to attend one, which are called Empowered to Connect!) and there are simulcasts happening everywhere.

I don't think it would be overly dramatic to declare that  TCU's work in this area has changed my life.  Our lives, to be more precise. Implementing her strategies (called TBRI: Trust Based Resolution Intervention) is not just successful for reaching my kids from hard places. . .it's sound parenting strategies for ALL children.

But if you happen to be parenting a child who has had ANY kind of early trauma, or who seems to be a struggle to parent at the moment, I highly recommend looking into TBRI.

Below is a short YouTube video of Dr. Purvis giving a bit of an overview. . .I tried to upload one called "The IDEAL Response for Parents" video of hers, as it puts, in a nutshell, the basics of TBRI, but the link wouldn't work for some reason.  Look that one up, too.  

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