Our Family First Story In 2012 we were a family in crisis: three kids adopted through foster care - ages 10, 9 & 3. Nothing we tried was working, our home wasn’t safe, and no one knew how to help us. We tried multiple therapists, read books, and made multiple trips to Seattle to see an attachment specialist, adoption pediatrician, and a neurologist. We even looked into long-term residential options because we knew of no other options.
Our son was very angry, threatening to kill himself, would hide under his desk in school and hit his mom and sister. His medication for his ADHD diagnosis didn’t help, seemed to increase his anger and at other times made him more zombie-like. Our 9-year-old daughter was defiant, oppositional and antagonistic. In September of 2013 we started the Family First program with Michelle. She was the first person we met that understood exactly what was going on with our kids and had tangible plans for what we needed to do. Her detailed, intensive home-program gave us the understanding, skills, daily schedule and support that turned our family completely around. We are not perfect, but we have safety in our home, peace and joy in being together (in spite of normal teenage issues and the typical high anxiety and low tolerance levels of kids from trauma backgrounds).
This family that couldn’t immediately leave places because the kids were too violent to sit together in the back seat without someone getting hurt, drove to the east coast and back in 2016 and had a fabulous family experience.
Our son, now 17, just received the Junior Staff of the Month Award at the Boys and Girls Club and completed his first year in a Vo-Tec residential construction program. Our 16 year-old daughter was chosen as Ada County’s Youth of the Year at the Boys and Girls Club this year. And both of them asked to go on a missions trip to the poorest section of San Francisco this summer to help serve that community.
We will forever be grateful to Michelle for what feels like a miraculous turnaround in our family. We never thought this type of success would be possible. What I love about this program is the positive focus on the parents. We are the ones most invested in helping our kids be successful. Given the right tools for their needs and the skills to change our approach was an amazing combination. -an Idaho Family