Sunday, March 04, 2012

Raising a Child from Trauma

 This post goes out to any parents of adopted children AND any parents of children that have experienced trauma. For the past 3 years, we have been reading books and attending conferences to learn more about parenting a child from trauma. You see, all adopted children have (or will when they are old enough to realize it) experienced loss. Some children, unfortunately, have also experienced trauma. This could be from growing up in an orphanage, or living in a household that used violence, or experiencing starvation, or seeing/experiencing sexual acts at a young age, or growing up in a war zone. I cannot even imagine growing up experiencing or being exposed to one of these things and yet there are children that have been exposed to many of them in the early years of their lives.

Our son has experienced the trauma of living in a war zone and refuge camp the first 13 years of life, then moving to a new country and ending up in foster care. My heart aches for not being able to prevent the trauma he has experienced and not being able to heal the scars he wears from his first 17 years of life. When he asked me "Why didn't you adopt me when I was younger and just moved here?" I have asked God the same question, but we all ultimately know that His timing is perfect and we can see the answers to that question now. 

When any child goes through trauma, it changes the brain chemistry. Dr. Karyn Purvis, the Director of TCU's Institute of Child Development has done tons of research with neurotransmitters (how the brain works) and children from trauma. A lot of behaviors you can see in a child that are extreme in one way or another has to do with how the brain is functioning or not able to fully function. Now, let me preface this with saying we are not personally having behavioral issues, but I do have friends that are seeing a lot of behaviors that they couldn't figure out until they started learning more about this. 

Here is a video by Dr. Purvis that speaks to this in more depth:

Our son grew up missing some early developmental things and therefore, school has been extremely hard for him. After trying all of the regular private tutoring options, we decided to start digging further into this. Our dear friends Kristen & Isaac have felt led to open a company called "Brain Balance" in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the past 2 years we've been hearing about this company and what it can do for children. It is a 90 day individualized and comprehensive approach to helping children with neurobehavioral and learning difficulties that surmount their unique challenges. They mainly work with children that have ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette’s, Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorders. But after talking with our friends, we are seeing that because of the environment our son grew up in, he is showing some of the same cognitive issues that Brain Balance addresses, it was just a different source than most children. Don't get me wrong, it is intense and not cheap. However, one thing we have learned in our life is that God provides in every circumstance if we follow HIM!

A second part of this program is the nutritional side. They ask you to get a blood and urine test done so they can see what foods your body is having trouble processing due to how the brain is currently functioning. Some of the foods they promote staying away from permanently (gluten, dairy, and eggs) but for anything popping up with a food sensitivity we have to stay away from them for the length of the 90 day program. Afterward, we can start re-introducing them one at a time and see how he reacts. If there is still a sensitivity or any sort of reaction (mood, health, etc.) we will stay away for good. If he does fine we can continue eating them. He is also on some supplements to help heal some damage he has caused his intestines from the foods his body is rejecting. Most of the supplements he will only have to take for the 90 days.

If you want more information on the diet we are personally on, 
you can find it on my cooking blog HERE.

We are excited for our son to begin his 90 day journey with Brain Balance this Tuesday, March 6th! I will continue to let you know how everything is going, but we are already seeing improvement with the diet alone! Kelly normally gets sleepy mid-afternoon and that has gone away. I feel refreshed and have also lost 4 pounds in 7 days! We have seen that our son is thinking more clearly in the simple act of recalling some facts he normally had to think longer about.

A friend told me today that God's sovereignty is shown by placing our son in our home because I was the perfect mother for him. Sometimes it's hard to see it standing in the middle of a situation, but she is right! God has such a perfect path for my life and it is amazing everything He has done to provide for us along the way. I cannot wait to see what GREAT things HE has in store next!

As He tells us in Romans 8:28
"And we know that all things work together 
for good for those who love God, 
who are called according to his purpose"

Our job is to trust, obey and follow.


  1. I can't wait to hear how it all goes! That is some major life-change you are committing to for your child. Only good can come of that.

    1. I love your family's story, Shelly! Thanks for sharing so many aspects of your life online :)