Rob and Brooksie
Rob said he and Brooksie had considered dissolving the adoption of their 9-year-old daughter in 2017 when Brooksie “dragged me kicking and screaming” to a Kansas Post Adoption Resource Center Strong Families Retreat.
The couple are parents of five adopted children, four of whom are medically fragile, and each day is filled with challenges. What Rob and Brooksie learned at that retreat and through associations developed through K-PARC saved not only their family but their marriage.
After attending the retreat, Brooksie and Rob attended a 10-week K-PARC Parents’ Circle, where they spent 20 hours learning how to apply Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, or TBRI, is an evidence-based intervention for children from hard places of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. It empowers parents to be instruments of healing in their children’s lives.
Leading a group
Rob and Brooksie are now co-leaders with the weekly K-PARC Support Group.
“It is so nice to be with people who are going through the same things that we are,” Brooksie said.
“We can’t go to Sunday school or small groups at church because there is no one who can take care of the kids. The support group on Zoom has been an absolute godsend. You don’t have to sugarcoat anything and can really be honest. We would be lost without the group on Monday.”
Michelle found great insight and encouragement attending the Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training. She learned the strategies to deal with challenging behaviors and how to help heal her daughter from her early trauma. However, Michelle was frustrated by how difficult it was to put these new strategies into practice. After she began to focus on and practice one habit at a time, her confidence began to grow.
She discovered and began attending a weekly K-PARC Support Group, which she quickly found very helpful. She connected with the other parents’ stories and gained perspective, as their stories normalized the “crazy” she was experiencing. It was comforting to realize that she was not alone. Regarding the support group, she said, “It’s a safe, no-judgment place.”
Michelle said the K-PARC Support Group discussions helped her reflect on her skills. Each meeting was a chance to re-evaluate the support group topic for that week and glean ideas on how other parents applied TBRI concepts. She would evaluate things like, “What can I do to say “yes” more frequently?”; “Remember that my kiddo may be acting her emotional age, which is often younger than her actual age,” and “How else could I respond when my daughter ‘flips her lid’ to get a better, more positive outcome for all?”
Becoming a leader
The support group was so encouraging that Michelle willingly stepped into one of the group’s leadership roles. Michelle said, “I don’t feel like I’m much of a leader, but I’ll do what I can if it might help someone else. I gained so much from these support groups, I am happy to give back what I received.
“It’s a challenging journey and super helpful when we can be real with one another. Just hearing the positive, ‘happy’ experiences alone isn’t as helpful; it needs to be balanced with the hard, ugly stuff we deal with, too. It’s messy. We have to be able to laugh in the midst of the tough stuff.”