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A Family Built on Love Shares Their Story of Adoption

Silhouette of a happy family
Our family was formed the day our daughter landed in our hearts and home. My husband and I had decided to adopt a child from the foster care system. The wait seemed like forever until Orange County Social Services presented us with this beautiful girl and then everything moved very quickly!

Our daughter had a rough start. At birth, her biological parents struggled with mental health issues, substance abuse and domestic violence. She fell into foster care at the age of 2 ½. By the time she was placed in our home one year later, we were her 7th set of parents. The trauma of what she had endured during the first 3 years of her life and the successive moves resulted in PTSD, RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and anxiety disorder.

Our family decided that an open adoption was the best way to go and we maintained a small connection with her birth mother for several years. Unfortunately, she ended up living on the streets at times and we lost track of her and our daughter’s brother.

As our daughter grew up, the trauma that she had suffered resulted in difficulty in school. We got her an IEP and this helped her be more successful in school. Having some flexibility in the amount of homework that had to be completed each day was very helpful. She now gets A’s and B’s in most of her classes!

She has had some issues with connecting with peers. Unfortunately, kids who have been hurt by trauma look like normal kids their age, but emotionally and socially they are usually a few years younger. Time spent in trauma does not allow the child to progress normally and they get stuck at a younger age. The result is a teenager who looks like a teenager but acts more often like a tween. We have been extremely lucky in that Seneca has had some Girl’s Groups and Teen Groups where the kids can interact socially with a therapist guiding them. The results have been amazing.

In the past year, we reconnected with her birth mother and two siblings who are living in Alaska. The kids spent a week at Camp To Belong which is sponsored by the Eddie Nash Foundation. The kids had a great week together and we also spent several additional days with her birth mother doing fun things like going to Knott’s Berry Farm. Having an open adoption is definitely challenging but equally rewarding. We plan to make this a yearly family reunion to enjoy time together.

From such a tough beginning, our family is thriving. Our daughter is now 15 and up to the usual teenage dramas! Along the way, we have received a great number of services from Seneca including Wrap Around, Mental Health (both therapy and psychiatry), Psychological testing, Training classes, Support Groups and more. Their offices have become a ‘home away from home’ for us. We could not have been as successful as we have been without their support.

About Seneca Orange County
Founded in 1985 to support the specialized needs of children in the child welfare system, Seneca’s mission is to help children and families through the most difficult times in their lives. Seneca’s vision for service delivery is an integrated community-engaged approach with high standards of practice. The SENECA UNCONDITIONAL CARE℠ Model is we do whatever it takes to help children and families thrive, even when faced with tremendous challenges. Seneca, in collaboration with its county partners in education, mental health, child welfare, and juvenile probation, has developed innovative programs that serve thousands of children and their families each year. These life-changing programs are reflective of the needs of the communities being served and impact the following four focus areas:  Permanence ▪ Education ▪ Mental Health ▪ Innovation.

Seneca Orange County is the Southern California branch of the statewide agency, serving more than 1,000 children and families in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties each year. For more information, please visit www.senecafoa.org or call (714) 881-8640.

For privacy reasons, names and identity are kept anonymous

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