If we’re being honest we’d all admit to visiting “crazy town” every once in a while. You know, that place where drama rules the roost and things are all but calm… When it comes to teen and pre-teen foster placements the likelihood of familiarity with the dark sides of this destination is off the charts. Most 10 – 18 year olds in the system have either endured multiple placements or were simply late to be identified by authorities as needing to be removed from the home. Either case means that the adolescent has experienced an extreme amount of trauma prior to arrival, and as we’ve learned from our friend Nicole Bender, will need heavy doses of love, consistency, boundaries, and reassurance to find their way to a healthy normal.
Madison first came to join the Bender family in Texas from her home in Alabama when she was 10 years old. As with many foster children, Madison struggled with the guilt of getting out of the home while other siblings remained. Nicole and her husband experienced first hand the power of the struggle that exists for children removed from their bio-families and how they grieve the loss of “crazy town” while working their way to a new and healthy normal.
Grief is just one part of the equation. Older placements, due to their traumatic history, need what can seem like an impossible level of reassurance that their foster family is in it for the long haul. For Nicole, this looked like years of “porch talks” reviewing all the scenarios that Madison would present followed by the question “Would you send me back then?” Open, honest, raw communication helped this pair move from a place of insecurity to a place of trust that has resulted in both a healthy relationship and a healthy new direction for Madison.
In this weeks podcast, we hear one mom’s story of faith, love, and consistency that has changed the life of one young lady and the entire Bender family.