One family’s road to healing


Once upon a time there was a family with a really hurt child who was a fighter. She had some points to prove, and she wasn’t going to let anyone get in her way.

Nobody loved her. She was unwanted. Everything was her fault.

Her behaviors were atrocious. Verbal and physical abuse. Constant dysregulation. Suicidal ideation. She lived in an altered reality, so when her family had to take precautions to protect the others from her, she couldn’t see her part. However, she did think she had proved her points.

Nobody loved her. She was unwanted. Everything was her fault.

Honestly her family was too exhausted to love her while she was in their midst. No one wanted those behaviors. It felt like it was all her fault.

Enter the rest of the story.

This precious girl has found her path toward restoration and healing. She was the one who told me that she had a point to prove, and there was nothing we could have done to change her mind. She apologized—unsolicited—for the pain she’d caused. She took ownership for the first time in 4 years. She’s matured in ways we never dreamed possible—accepting no’s, focusing on goals, being aware of other people.

So what changed?

(Disclaimer: This is what her journey to healing looks like. I don’t think it’s a prescription for others to follow, but rather a place to be inspired and find hope and glean ideas for what might work for your family.)

  1. She moved to a family with a different dynamic. She had fallen into a rut and emotional change for her, because she’s such a concrete thinker, almost had to happen in a different physical setting. Additionally, she has 1-on-1 adult oversight almost constantly. Think of it as having a constant external conscious and regulating force. This isn’t a re-adoption situation, so she still has consistent family ties which was important to not leaving another abandonment tick mark on her proverbial totem pole.
  2. She is getting biofeedback. This has helped her brain calm down which has lessened her constant hypervigilance and anxiety and helped her sleep patterns. Seriously, better sleep alone could’ve healed this girl!
  3. Lastly, but probably most importantly, she lives in a home with prayer warrior mama. This lady gets on her knees whenever the kids in her care are struggling and doesn’t get up until peace is the land has been restored. She has a faith and tenacity that I know I didn’t have when our drama was at its peak.

The story isn’t over. The road to healing is long and winding and sometimes circles back on itself. Anxiety, doubt, uncertainty still raise their ugly heads, but without catastrophic consequences. We’re finding that everyone needed to find their road to healing and that healing for families is also long and winding. Just because the chaos isn’t in our midst doesn’t mean we’re instantly back to pre-chaos state, but that’s probably a story for another day.

If you’ve had a child make a dramatic turn down the road to recovery, what did it look like for your family?

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