By: Julie Beem In celebration of ATN’s 2016 Angels in Adoption award, we’re profiling ATN members who have helped ATN win the award — and who have themselves been Angels to families and children. Late one night I flew into the San Francisco airport and there he stood. Neither one of us was sure we’d recognize the other (since we’d only met one time before) – but it didn’t take us long to find each other.
by: Gari Lister I woke up this morning and checked my phone as I lay in bed (yes, I know it’s terrible. . . ) and here is what I read over and over again: “I’m done.” “I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.” “He’s killed the best parts of me.” “I hate it. I even hate her.” I so get it. I have been there – parenting traumatized children is really,
by: D. Craig Peterson Six words. For many vulnerable children, they give context to a complicated history. For many parents who’ve opened their hearts, they cut to the bone. The words unfortunately rear their ugly head, especially during the holidays – when family gatherings are the norm. I know too well. After years of fathering six children – all of whom experienced early trauma, I thought we’d turned the final corner. As a therapeutic
by: Melissa Sadin At ATN we believe that early childhood trauma and attachment disruption impacts brain development. A study found that children living in an Eastern European orphanage had larger more reactive amygdalae and smaller hippocampal volume than children in the same country that had never been in an orphanage. In addition, the same researchers found that the longer a child lived in an orphanage, the greater the difference in brain development. At ATN we
by: Julie Beem The holidays are a time to focus on what we believe. Do you believe in Santa Claus? Peace on Earth? Practicing Gratitude? Family as The Most Important Thing? Well, you can believe all of these things and more, yet, if you’re a traumatized child or the family who loves a traumatized child, the holiday season can be SO VERY HARD. The joy of the season is often overshadowed by the grief of
by: Julie Beem I knew it — from the first time this photo and story showed up in my Facebook feed. The security officer forcefully removed a teenage girl from her math class after she had been using her cell phone — by knocking her chair to the ground. And then I saw an interview with Niya Kelly, another student in the classroom who was also arrested for declaring “this is wrong” after she saw
by: Melissa Sadin The idea that our words have the power to wound might be as old as time itself. In the Bible it is said, “For in many things we offend in word….” Many of us grew up with the sayings, “Loose lips sink ships” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Words have the power to wound us deeply. Think about your own experience. Which one
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote everyday, about the kind of community you want to live in. – Unknown by: Julie Beem Everyday, I get up and stumble into my home office…to volunteer. Often I’m three cups of coffee in and still in my PJs when I look up and realize that it’s noon. I’ve spent the entire morning talking with families
by: Gari Lister One of my youngest daughter’s biggest challenges is self esteem – and sadly her lack of self esteem is combined with an inability to imagine and dream. Not dream at night, but dream of an exciting future. My sweet girl can very easily imagine herself getting cancer, or epilepsy, or even cystic fibrosis (yes, she “knows” she can’t come down with some diseases, but that doesn’t stop her from worrying about them).
by: Melissa Sadin Typically, our children’s lives are measured by events such as birthdays, grades in school, graduation, etc. Recently, however, it occurred to me that there are other events by which I measure my son’s growth. Oh sure, I’m proud of him when he does well in sports, gets a good grade in school, or finds (and keeps) a job, but those things do not make it on the internal yardstick I keep as