Parents whose children enter foster care have often experienced serious trauma, including sexual assault, physical abuse or abandonment in childhood, community violence, and domestic violence. Research in NYC has found that more than half of mothers with children in care met the criteria for PTSD. Yet parents are rarely screened or treated for trauma. Learning about trauma–and the feelings of rage, shame, fear and hopelessness that so often come from trauma–can help you find the right supports and build a safer life for yourself and your children.

Growing Up Together – It’s hard to handle my son’s temper along with my own.

One day I went to the supermarket with my 3-year-old son, John, and he started screaming at the top of his lungs. I tried to remain calm. “John, do you really think that’s necessary? Do you even know why you’re crying?” I asked. But that didn’t stop him.

It felt like we had a huge, bright spotlight on us in the middle of the jam-packed supermarket. My friend who was shopping with me slowly … Read More

Primeros Pasos – Tuve que aprender a conocer de nuevo a mi hija cuando regresó a casa.

Read the English translation.

Cuando mi hija Lydia tuvo 5 años, me hizo pasar momentos difíciles. Ella no quería lavarse los dientes o el pelo. No quería recoger sus juguetes. Tenía que gritarle por cosas pequeñas o decirle “¡Vete para tu cuarto!” Mi angelito tenía un lado malo que nunca había visto.

“¿Ella me odia?”

Un día ella se enfureció porque yo le exigía a gritos que hiciera sus diligencias. Ella empezó a tirarme juguetes. Yo no quería pegarle, … Read More

Baby Steps – I had to get to know my daughter again when she came home.

Translated from Spanish.

When my daughter, Lydia, 5, came home after two and a half years in foster care, it was so different from having her home only on the weekends. The best part was that we didn’t have to rush spending time together, or deal with having to say goodbye on Sundays. She always used to say, “Mom, I don’t want to go the other house. When am I going to come home … Read More

Seen and Heard – I was able to listen to my son when I felt heard

Most parents whose children enter foster care have to take parenting classes in order to get their children back. I went to two parentingclasses that didn’t help before I found a program that worked for me.

The ones that didn’t help were the ones where the instructor read to us from a big parenting skills book or played old videos of moms trying to get their kids to listen. Then the instructor … Read More

Powerless and Alone – How could I stay sober when I felt like my child would never come home?

One day last fall I went to an anger management class. It was in a neighborhood where I used to get high. It didn’t even go through my mind that this could be a trigger for me. I believed I was strong but I was not.

At the time, I was consumed by feeling powerless and alone. My son, Brandan, had been in foster care for about a year. ACS took him when I was jailed … Read More

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