The video clips are facilitated by Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., founder and director of The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio. These videos feature five families parenting a combination of typically-developing children and adopted children. The adoptees arrived in the family after experiencing trauma – institutionalization, multiple foster homes, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, pre-natal drug/alcohol exposure and abandonment. The parents and the typical kids speak candidly about their expectations prior to placement, and these families speak to adjusting these expectations post-placement - the losses experienced, dealing with negative behaviors, time management, and the development of daily and long-term coping strategies. The families also acknowledge the positive aspects of building a family via adoption.
The video clips feature two of the adoptees. Both of these children entered their families with moderate mental health issues and an array of behavioral challenges. Excellent parenting and professional assistance have allowed these children to place their early life experiences in perspective. As such, their issues have dissipated, and they are now able to move forward. These children address the ways in which they have impacted the family, and they speak honestly about the process of recovery which includes accepting responsibility for the choices they make, rebuilding trust within the family unit, and recognizing the need for on-going help.
Meet the Families
Rich and Elizabeth
are the parents of six children, Sharon, Isaac, Bobby, Courtney, Kyle and Anna. Rich and Elizabeth have been married for 18 years. Rich is the pastor of a small suburban church. Elizabeth is a teacher.
Sharon joined the family from the foster care system and remains a member of this family at age 20. She is married and attending college with a major in finance. She is employed at a bank and her goal is to move into a management position within this bank. It should also be noted that Sharon makes the Dean's list each semester.
Isaac, a birth child, is age 15 and in 10th grade. Isaac enjoys carpentry, construction, baseball and traveling. He has participated in trips to Mexico, Costa Rica and Burundi. Isaac and Rich both enjoy golf and the opportunity this sporting interest provides them to spend time together.
Courtney, a birth child, is 13-years-old and in 8th grade. Courtney has many interests: singing, piano, soccer, drama and travel. This past summer she participated in a program of song, dance and drama that reached out to inner city families. Courtney also baby-sits, and she is competent with young children.
Bobby, Kyle and Anna, biological siblings, joined this family individually. Anna came as an infant. She is now age 5 and enrolled in kindergarten. She plays with her Barbie or she can be found skating, riding her scooter, playing at the park or coloring. Kyle joined the family 6 years ago. His pre-adoptive history is extensive and initially he presented with a moderate level of emotional disturbance. Excellent parenting and specialized services have significantly reduced his special needs. He is now 10-years-old and in 3rd grade. He enjoys reading. Bobby has been a member of this family for 4 years. Again, due to much pre-adoptive trauma, he presented with a moderate level of mental health issues. With much creative parenting and adoption-competent therapy, Bobby has made progress. Now at age 14 and in the 8th grade, Bobby can participate as a family member and academically he is on track making excellent grades. He enjoys biking, swimming, indoor and outdoor basketball, golf, baseball and soccer. In addition to playing sports, Bobby can quote the stats of most professional players. Bobby also loves to travel and he plays the guitar. Bobby participates in this video along with Rich, Elizabeth, Courtney and Isaac. Bobby discusses from the adoptee's perspective what it is like to join a family and what it is like to move beyond a difficult and painful past.
Elizabeth currently provides home schooling services and has home schooled her own children as well. Rich and Elizabeth stress family and family values. They work very hard to spend time with their children. For example, this family can be found working together landscaping the church, building a backyard playhouse, or designing a new bedroom theme for one of the kids. Rich and Elizabeth's commitment to family has benefited their children as well as it positively impacts those with whom they come in contact.
Sean and Carol
are the adoptive parents to Jessica, Stephanie, Kristan and Kit. They have been married for ten years. Carol operates a landscaping business while Sean is employed as a Marine Engineer. Due to his position, he is away from the family an average of seven months per year; a situation which lends to complicate the difficulties inherent in parenting two children with issues of complex trauma.
Jessica, who joined the family as an infant, is currently 24-years-old. She is married and works part-time. Stephanie also joined the family as an infant. She is currently 22-years-old. She is a senior in college and is completing a double major. She is currently making application to a Masters program. Kristan and Kit biological siblings entered the family when they were almost five and two-years-old respectively. Their pre-adoptive history includes vast trauma and as a result Kristan developed severe mental health issues. Kristan response to multiple services has been limited. She is currently receiving services via residential treatment with a goal to gradually return home. Kristan is now 11-years-old. In the video clips, Carol, Sean and Stephanie focus on their experiences with Kristan.
Kit presents with moderate issues. She has had a better response to specialized adoption services. At present, she attends second grade where her favorite subjects are math and science. She also enjoys reading, swimming, and playing with her baby dolls.
Greg and Michelle
are the adoptive parents to Kyle, Desera and Devin. They have been married for 23 years. Greg is employed as a carpenter and Michelle, a Licensed Practical Nurse, has a position working with children with special needs in a school setting.
Kyle joined his family as an infant. He is currently age 14, is in the 9th grade, and enjoys school. Kyle was an only child until age 10. He has many interests: playing the saxophone, varsity cross country and soccer. Kyle and Michelle are excited about their upcoming trip to Germany with the church youth group.
Desera and Devin, birth siblings, have been a part of this family for 4 years. They were ages 10 and 5, respectively, when placed with Greg and Michelle. Both, due to the pre-adoptive trauma they experienced as well as a significant number of out-of-home placements entered the family with moderate issues. While each has achieved some progress, they both continue to receive adoption and trauma competent therapy to alleviate their difficulties. Desera is now 14-years-old. She is maintained in regular education in the eighth grade. She is athletic, enjoying basketball, cheer leading, track, softball and basketball. She also likes chess. Devin is currently 9-years-old. He is in third grade regular education classes. He likes food, television and video games. The adoptions of Desera and Devin are transcultural as well as the adoption of Desera created a twinning with Kyle. That is, Kyle and Desera are the same chronological age.
Russell and Phelise
are the parents to Brandon, Steven, Russell, Jr., Alyson and Victoria. Russell and Phelise have been married for 26 years. Phelise has held diverse positions in the child welfare field. She is currently a Family Life Specialist for a well-recognized agency that provides foster care and adoption services, as well as an array of therapeutic services. Russell is a Steam Engineer for a food corporation.
Brandon and Russell, Jr. are birth children. They are 23 and 20-years-old respectively. Brandon resides on his own. In his leisure time, he enjoys watching and playing basketball. Russell, Jr. likes to write and record music.
Alyson joined the family through adoption. She is 14-years-old and in the ninth grade. Her favorite subject is home economics and according to her family she is really quite a good cook. Alyson recently located her birth family with whom she is enjoying a healthy relationship.
Victoria also joined the family through adoption. She is a sixth grade student at age 12. She loves shoes and as such one of her favorite things to do is shoe shopping.
Steven was 12-years-old when he joined his family. He is currently age 22. He resides on his own. Despite the serious difficulties he presented to the family, his parents point out that there were some good times, and he developed a fondness for cooking. At the time he was adopted, Brandon was age 13, Russell, Jr., was 11, Alyson was age 6, and Tori was age 4.
Russell and Phelise state that they are a family growing and learning even when there are trials we have learned that there is a rainbow at the end of the tunnel.
Mike and Shelly
are the adoptive parents to Courtney, Chelsea, Callie, Cody and Chase. Mike and Shelly have been married for 22 years. Mike is employed as a long-distance driver. Shelly has a position as a Human Resource Director.
Courtney is currently 15-years-old. She is in the 10th grade. Her favorite subjects are history, Spanish and Art. She enjoys various activities including playing on a JV volleyball team, riding horses and photography.
Chelesa is age 13 and is a 7th grade student. In school, she enjoys Math, English and Latin. She has many extra-curricular activities including: dressage horseback riding, basketball and designing and sewing clothing.
Callie is 11-years-old. She is in the 6th grade. She most likes playing soccer and basketball. She enjoys math and science classes, and she participates in an imagination destination team.
Cody is age 8. He is a very personable young man. He is in the 2nd grade. Cody exhibits a passion for music which he fulfills through guitar lessons. He also participates in an after school bowling league. At home he likes to play video games.
Chase joined the family when he was 2-years-old. He is currently age 6. His difficulties are of a more severe level and it requires multiple services to manage his special needs. On a positive note, Chase has made tremendous progress and is currently functioning favorably in a regular kindergarten setting. Chase is able to participate in some activities outside of the home, and he is able to engage in some play with his siblings at this time.