HELPING ADOPTIVE FAMILIES WALK WITH THEIR CHILDREN ‘TOWARD WHOLENESS AND HEALING’
More than a decade ago, Mary Kate Humphrey was a new mom with her first child – a 15-month-old toddler she and her husband adopted from the foster care system. Mary Kate had a background in child development, but she and her husband were still struggling to understand and adapt to her son’s behavior.
So they jumped at the opportunity to secure in-home support that offered comprehensive assessment and individualized coaching from a trained clinician from the Center for Child and Family Health, first through a preventive program called Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up and then for years with CCFH’s Post Adoption Support Services.
“Our family’s work with CCFH has been life changing,” Mary Kate said. “They gave us the tools to walk with our children toward wholeness and healing, and that is a gift I can never repay.”
Post Adoption Support Services serve families from 20 counties across North Carolina who are facing challenges related to adoption through the child welfare system or who are caring for children in long-term foster care. Post Adoption offers an array of services, including assessments, clinical care, an annual conference, support groups and workshops focused on a variety of topics including transracial adoption and healing from childhood trauma. Last fiscal year, the programs served 147 families across North Carolina.
Mary Kate said she learned through one-on-one coaching how her own parenting style was overwhelming to her son in unexpected ways.
“When I was playing with him, I would get excited and cheer … but my reactions were too much for him,” Mary Kate said of her then toddler, who often responded by falling or biting. “I learned how to delight in my son, but to do it in a calmer way. When we changed our behavior, he changed his behavior.”
Mary Kate said she feels such gratitude to be part of a nationally recognized program that goes above and beyond to offer trauma-informed support to children and families.
“Adoption is something we talk about every single day in our family. We have to honor the conflicting emotions and ambiguous loss and pain our children feel in losing their original families,” she said. “There are so many families who are floundering out there, but the clinicians at CCFH have our back—they continue to dig in to find out what our kids need to thrive.”