I recognized her face on the news report and my emotions began to spin. I scrambled to find her name and sure enough it was her. I felt sick to my stomach.
That is how I learned this week some difficult news about a foster care youth I had the privilege to meet about 9 years ago. She was a very troubled young lady. She is apparently a mother now and, tragically, according to the news, her baby has experienced trauma and abandonment and will likely enter the nightmare of the foster care system.
While many of the young people who find support in the foster care system find some inner peace and belonging in this world, it is most true that the cycle of trauma continues and that is my definition of failure.
I hope the young lady and her child get very good care so that the child gets a chance to get the tools of security and love to stop the cycle some day.
Please note that many children experience abuse and/or neglect and never make it into the foster care system. They are still the same children. It is still the same cycle. It leads to trust issues, insecurities, self-injurious/high risk behavior, as well as a lack of healthy boundaries and support systems.
A fascinating read is "Parenting from the Inside Out" by Daniel Siegel. If you are a foster care youth, check out a program called A Home Within that provides free counseling for as long as you need it.
While my goal is always to help my clients heal, it is driven by the desire to break the cycles and give more hope to the next generation.
For all of you out there trying to break your own cycles of pain, keep up the fight. For those of you helping others, keep your eyes on the prize.