We were both working in New York with children and parents in their homes.
Same position. Same agency. Different families.
With his hands hiding his face, he told me, “I told them I had a girlfriend… that we had sex and she’s pregnant.” My 11-year-old client, who was only trying to make friends, wasn’t allowed to return to practice.
Crying and emotions were rare. Self-injury – common. When it came time for homework or a talk with the family, he had an array of coping skills – yelling, storytelling, aggression. “I don’t want this family anymore!” he threatened. Furniture and toys were found broken around the house. Food went missing, belongings were stolen. Consequences ensued – weekends were spent in his room.
“If he’s hurting himself outside of school, it’s simply not our problem” said the school principal.
“We adopted him three years ago and have given him a great home, you’d think he’d be okay by now.”
Emotionally he was three years old. How could he possibly meet the expectations of being eleven?
She was engaging and had a great sense of humor. She drew people in. Incredibly intelligent, but failing in school. She was the class clown. She refused to complete classwork and homework never made it home. It was as difficult to get her to brush her teeth as it was to have her sit through a movie with her family. She had food hidden throughout her bedroom. When you asked her to dispose of it, she yelled and cried and slammed the door.
She was adopted.
“If you stay in all your classes for five days, we will go shopping for a new shirt.” She did it for four days, then cursed out her teacher and stormed out of class on day five. “No shirt for you!” She couldn’t be less affected.
Behind the smile, the laugh, and the anger was a traumatized, fearful young woman pushing through each minute to survive. No one saw it. No one looked beyond the behavior.
2011. We connected the dots.
The “oppositional,” charismatic, angry, intelligent individuals we were working with had all experienced a trauma – an early separation, abuse, a lack of emotional investment. We had to find an effective way to reach them.
And we did.
However, we surprisingly found ourselves educating professionals whose credentials suggested they “knew” more than us. We just “got it” – and they didn’t. There were experts, but they were waiting lists and states away. Needless to say, this left our clients falling through the cracks and their families more confused than ever. Something had to be done.
Hours with families. Advocating at schools and hospitals. Research. Reading. Ups and downs. Blood, sweat, and tears (literally).
And then. . .
the light at the end of the tunnel.
August 2, 2012. Project Bond is born.
You will learn more about us as time goes on but, for now, here’s what you can expect:
- Blog posts every Monday
- Sharing of information and resources
- Access to a supportive network of parents and professionals
- Partnerships with local entities impacting children
- Psychoeducation and advocacy