I had the opportunity to read Phoenix Bound – An Adoptive Mother’s Story About Raising Traumatized Children. The book is written from the mother’s perspective. Her intention is to provide a resource for professionals and adoptive families who are parenting children who have experienced trauma. It does read a little bit like a case study.
There is a lot of hard in this book. Reading it made me feel anxious. It stirred up a lot for me emotionally. We are new foster parents. Angie and her husband are not foster parents, but their family is built by adopting mostly through the foster care system, so reading about their experience with the child welfare system and parenting children who have experienced trauma is useful for me, to say the least.
The book was published in 2016. The bulk of the story takes place about 20 years ago. Her goal seemed to be in part to provide children whom without her would have no chance for a forever family option. These are children that were hard to place for a variety of reasons and would more than likely age out of the system and become a statistic, a product of their parents’ poor choices. She feels her purpose is to be those children’s mother.
She and her husband are brave, to say the least, about what they are open to handling, and they are committed to being the last stop for their 13 children.
Putting yourself in her shoes: If you had the opportunity to provide stable, loving support for a child who needed it, would you? Would you welcome a sibling set of a 10-year-old and 6-year-old little boys who had experienced extreme trauma as a first-time parent? What does that look like for daily life? Angie tells you. Not many people say yes to the hardest of the hard. The most heartbreaking part of the story for me is that despite her very best efforts, some of her children still end up in jail or in institutions because of their past trauma. I didn’t agree with everything I read about the choices they made. I have also never been in her shoes. I was left wondering if she had the knowledge that is now available with 20 years more research on childhood trauma and PTSD, would her first few children still have the same ending?
In closing, I was left with a lot to think about in regard to how the child welfare systems work. How do you improve it for the well-being of the children? How can parents of children who have experienced trauma receive timely effective affordable resources?
If you are curious about the evolution of trauma parenting and what the daily life is like for these parents and kids, I would highly recommend this book.
You can order Phoenix Bound here.