I went to a conference this last week called ‘Trauma, Resilience and Recovery’ run by Jane Evans and Lisa Cherry. It was a brilliant day with lots to think about as a result. One of the phrases that Lisa Cherry used when she spoke has stuck with me and I’m mulling over what this means in a few different areas in my life.
The phrase was ‘create a space for recovery’. Lisa was talking about her own journey of recovery from early trauma and a long road in the care system. This picture of a journey, and that what we all experience in life sends us on a road, I find very helpful. I know from my own experiences that it is a process, stepping stones that lead to other roads. Some of those roads can be long and painful, whilst others are pleasant and filled with good memories.
When I think about my own children’s early experiences, and as a result their road to recovery, I know that each day is a chance for some of those hurts to be healed. Every moment we spend together is creating that space for them to recover and to build a good strong future for themselves. It’s actually quite freeing to think that my only job is to create that space for recovery. As a coach I strongly believe that people need to tread their own path. Given the right support and guidance we very often can make our way through the trials life sets. Of course there are some moments in time when we will need outside help, and if other things are involved such as medical conditions or mental health issues, then we will need external intervention.
For our children there are many spaces of recovery available to them. The home of course is the first space where that atmosphere is essential, and not easy to maintain! Finding a space for our own recovery as parents is vital in maintaining that environment in our homes. I am about to go on a retreat with other adoptive Mums, of which I am immensely grateful for.
Schools and other learning settings are important to. What we are creating in these places where our children spend so much of their time, should be a space for recovery; a place where they feel safe, are accepted and encouraged to find themselves, a place where obstacles to learning are removed so that they have every chance to grow and develop. Unfortunately many times our schools do not create that space – something for which BraveHeart endeavours to change.
The third place, that for us is an amazing space for recovery, is the church. I know for some people church may seem like an irrelevant, outdated, judgemental place but that’s not the case for us. Our church youth group particularly have gone out of their way to create that space for recovery for our children; 1-2-1 mentoring, group discussions around identity, self esteem and value, lessons on how to build relationships with others and a group of dedicated and passionate leaders has had a huge impact on our children. I am forever grateful to their input and their love towards our children.
Whatever spaces you can find that help your children (and yourself) to recover from the effects of early trauma are priceless. If you work in a school or a place where children and young people meet please consider how you are creating that space for vulnerable children. If you are a parent of a birth child or an adopted child also consider how you are creating that space too. And finally where is your space for recovery? How can you create more of those spaces in your own life?