As I was beginning my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I had the opportunity to work as an intern with families who had adopted from foster care. Through this experience, I learned stories and tools that are vitally important when caring for kids with a history of trauma and neglect. When my husband Scott and I were ready to build our own family, God made it clear that he wanted us to also adopt from the foster care system.
After the approval process was complete, Scott and I welcomed our first child, Jaelynne, into our home at the age of 3. This is a tough age for many children but especially those who have gone through trauma and loss. Applying the tools and knowledge I had as a practitioner was not as easy as I’d expected and our initial parenting experience was full of trial and error. We had to learn Jaelynne’s unique personality and needs and gradually guide change in her behaviors over time. Now, looking back at the 8 years since Jaelynne became our daughter, Scott and I are amazed at how far we’ve come. We really understand that God was using us to provide a safe, loving home for Jaelynne; but at the same time, He was using her to help us understand what sacrificial, unconditional love really looks and feel like.
Our son Nate was only 8 months old when he came into our family. It was fun to experience life with an infant and to build connection with him at such an early age. The first few years of life are designed for building attachment with safe, loving caregivers and we could see our relationship with Nate growing through our early interactions with him. Unfortunately, Nate’s birth mother used drugs during her pregnancy and the in utero exposure produced delays that require Nate to need a number of supportive therapies. As a family, we get to explore the best treatment options and I’m amazed at how resilient Nate is. He is the bravest, strongest kid I know and gets up every morning ready to face the day, happy and at peace. The effort it takes for him to do what typical kids do easily is mind-blowing, yet he is willing to keep moving forward. His example inspires us to deal with our own struggles, realizing they are nothing compared to his. God has used him to show us what strength is.
The love Scott and I have for our children has inspired us to support other foster and adoptive families in the community. We truly believe that God moves and works through the love of families. There is so much to learn through the process of caring for children with exposure to drugs or alcohol and a history of neglect and trauma. I want to support as many families as I can so that these children can heal and know how precious they are. Our life now is certainly not ‘typical’ but it has been so much richer and our own connection with God has grown so much deeper because of our children. We wouldn’t change our journey for anything!”
Charlotte and her husband Scott have been married for ten years. They adopted Jaelynne & Nate locally through foster-adoption and fostered two other children who later reunited with their birth family. Charlotte has been working as a Marriage and Family therapist since 2007 and currently specializes in working with families who are raising children who have experienced trauma. Charlotte is passionate about connecting foster and post-adoptive families with the resources they need and you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org