I came to Show Hope, a little more than three years ago, to serve as the Director of Communications. At the time, I was a little “green,” but I had a desire and humility to learn and grow. Yet I was a skeptic too.
In those first couple of months, we were planning for Show Hope’s annual Empowered to Connect Conference (now Hope for the Journey). Central to the conference was Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®), a scientific method for caring well for children impacted by trauma.
At that time—and fully transparent here—I would often think (and sometimes say out loud), “Surely, there are other parenting methods that work just as well as TBRI. Why are we investing so much in this one care model?”
Fast forward to today, and well, I get it.
How I Got Here
It all began last fall after a conversation with a friend. One evening, while discussing her work as a family therapist and the work of Show Hope, Amy shared, “TBRI really is the gold standard for kids who Show Hope serves.” The thing is, Amy is not trained in TBRI, but her work has afforded her a peek inside what it is like to work with children and families impacted by adoption and foster care.
At that same time, Show Hope’s Executive Director, Emily Chapman Richards, asked me to take a more active role in Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey strategic team. Quickly, I became immersed in TBRI, its place in the adoption and foster care communities, and how it intersects with the gospel.
Children impacted by adoption and foster care often have unique, complex needs. Some have experienced early attachment injuries related to loss, abuse, trauma, and/or neglect. TBRI considers the whole of children—their brain, biology, behavior, body, and beliefs—and provides parents and caregivers with practical tools and insight to help them reach their highest potential. And, perhaps most integral, TBRI has connection at its core—the truth that connection builds trust, and trust builds healthy relationships.
For us at Show Hope, TBRI is an expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were created for connection and belonging. Oftentimes, though, in faith communities, we can shy away from—or even rebuke—that which is clinical in nature and involves the complexities of science. For those of us who belong to Christ, we hold near the authority of scripture and the power of God to transform and heal, and our guard for those truths can build fear within our hearts and minds.
I have been in church community with Bonnie and her husband, Justin, for a few years now. This past year, though, our walk together has become closer and more vulnerable. Justin and I championed together our church hosting this year’s Hope for the Journey Conference, and we are now working closely on a proposal for implementing trauma-responsive principles, practices, and tools within our church.
Bonnie and Justin welcomed home their daughter and son through adoption more than nine years ago. It has been a privilege to celebrate life moments with their family, and it has been an honor to journey with them in seasons of crisis and hardship. Trauma is real in the lives of their kiddos, and that trauma has yielded complexities that most families will never know.
Because of Show Hope and my immersion into trauma-competent care, I now see that. And I am grateful to carry with me knowledge and insight as well as a level of empathy and compassion that were not there three years ago. Praying with Bonnie and Justin, listening to their stories, and leaning in when and where is appropriate have been gifts. Justin recently shared with me, “You more than most people I know understand.” It was a simple text message, regarding some challenges his son was experiencing at school, but it floored me. At that moment, truth came rushing in: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. … Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12).
When you invest in the work of Show Hope, you are investing in the thousands of individuals who participate in the Hope for the Journey Conference. These individuals represent families, churches, and organizations that are striving to holistically love well the children entrusted to their care. You are investing in countless parents and caregivers, like Bonnie and Justin, who are often weary and overwhelmed yet hopeful. And you are investing in Show Hope staff members who are on the frontlines of serving families, churches, and organizations that are fighting the good fight. Parents, caregivers, and professionals who are saying:
Since … learning more about TBRI and implementing it into our daily lives, as a single foster care parent, it has made a huge difference in our home.
While going through this conference, I just kept thinking, “They get it!” Grateful for all your knowledge and ability to share it.
It was such an honor to be able to host Hope for the Journey this year in my community! This conference was life-changing for my family when we attended a couple of years ago, and it was amazing to be able to share TBRI with others.
Now, do you see why I get it?
Director of Communications