Braden

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Update: 6/9/21

Braden will be home today.  He is flying into Cincinnati airport tonight at 10:30 p.m.  We are excited to have him home for a week.
After he returns to his program, he will be processing the week with his counselor.  If all goes well we will be scheduling a 3 week home visit in about 4-6 weeks.  After that he will return to his program one last time for graduation and then he will be home for good.  We are going to be looking for trade schools or community colleges for him to attend.  He will have his high school diploma.  Depending on how home visits go, he will probably be home sometime in August.  Thanks for all your continued prayers and support.
Here are some of the most recent quotes from Braden’s letters.  I love reading the progress he is making and the change that has occurred in his thinking.
“I am so proud of all the progress I have made.  It wouldn’t be possible without all of my family, especially you mom.  I am blessed to have you all as family.”
“I am still banking on getting a job as soon as I get home.  I’m not sure where but I was hoping Chick-Fil-A.  I feel like that would be a great environment to work in so that I do not need to be around negative people.  Not because they have the world’s best chicken sandwich in my opinion or because they have the world’s best sauce.”
“My 3 day visit was probably the best days of my life.  Not just because I got to leave here but also because all of you came to see me.  That shows how blessed I am to have such a supportive and loving family.”
“I am being honest and getting honest feedback and help in my therapy sessions.”
“It’s amazing how you can accomplish things when you just put your mind to it.  It is funny because at home I probably wouldn’t have put forth the effort to do something hard.”
“I am becoming more and more inclined to join the military as my career.”
“I know all of the tools now that I’ll need to use to be successful in life.   Now I need to apply it.  I have insight but insight is nothing without application.  So I’m working on managing anger, meeting my needs in healthy and appropriate ways, and helping myself become happy and healthy.”
“Whenever I go on my one week visit, I think my communication with you mom will be much better.  I am really looking forwards to meeting Ivy and I am very excited to hug you all.  I’m still working on communicating and managing anger.”
“Not a day goes by when I don’t pray for you all.”

4/16/21 UPDATE

I was happy to be able to spend Braden’s 17th Birthday with him on 3/5/21 and also his Gotcha Day and my 29th Birthday on 4/2/21 🙂 The next step, hopefully, will be a week visit with Braden home.

Some quotes from Braden’s recent letters:

“I’m still working on my self-esteem in therapy and working on processing the reasons why I did negative things at school and at home.”

“I love you all so much. I can’t wait until the day I can come home and show you how much I have changed. I have more work to do though.”

“I am almost done with high school. I can’t wait to get my diploma.”

“I had such a fun day on my birthday. It’s by far the greatest birthday I’ve ever had.”

“I’m confident that by the time I come home, we will have a great relationship. An even better one than before.”

“Thanks for the surprise visit. I’m really grateful for you. Now I’m even more motivated towards working hard to earn my next visit.”

“I’m finally a level 3!”

“Still working on learning to communicate especially about my struggles.”

“I had such a great time with all of you on my 3 day visit and it was such a great surprise to see you all.”

“I know my communication about triggers and cravings on my visit was not too good, but on my one week visit, I’m planning on doing much better with that. Also, I’m doing okay in school. I only have two classes left, Culinary Arts and Human Anatomy.”

“I’m doing a lot of therapy each and every day and I think of you all every day. I have so much more to work on.”

Still needing your support financially and prayerfully. It looks like he will be in treatment for a minimum of 3 more months. At $5,000 per month, I am going to need a minimum of $15,000 more. I will also be needing to finance his trip home and back when he has earned his one week visit. THANK YOU for anything that you can help with!

3/10/21 UPDATE

First of all, thank you for all that been able to support us financially.  I have lost track of who I have sent Thank you notes too.  So if I missed you, I am so sorry.  Every gift is so appreciated!  I also know many are praying for us during this time.  Thank you!

Since my last update, Braden has been working on his self-esteem and correcting his negative thought processes.  He still gets extremely anxious about things.  Weekly he sends me a copy of events that happen to him throughout his week, his thoughts and emotions attached to that event, what his current reaction was or what he would have done in the past, then his correction, and thinking errors attached to that event.  It is a neat process to see him work through.  Examples of his thinking errors are victim stance, shifting blame, king baby, entitlement, awfulizing, discounting, procrastinating, I can’t, failure to endure adversity, and filtering.

I talk to Braden’s therapist weekly.  He states that Braden continue to step up as a leader.  He is now the leader of his ‘family’ (group of boys) and is doing very well. J

Recent quotes from Braden’s letters:

“I am working on managing stress and anxiety and controlling my anger.”

“I got my level 2 now so I have more privileges and responsibilities!”

“I have started reading the 365 day devotional you sent me.  It fuels my day and motivates me.”

“I can’t believe that I am almost 17 years old and that I have been adopted for 11 years.  I am so grateful for that.”

“I honestly miss having sisters sometimes.  It gets annoying having 48 brothers.”  (Love this one and am going to hold him to it when he gets home!)

“I have 404 points.  To get my level 3, I only need 480!”

“In therapy I am working on anger and self-esteem.  I am also trying to share more in my group therapy.  I have always been an acceptance and attention seeker.  I would do anything to be accepted.  I made some very poor choices to fit in with different groups of kids at school.”

Thank you for the continued support and prayers.  Just returned from visiting Braden for the first time in 7 months.  It was emotional and so good to see him.  He is working hard to meet his goals.  He misses his family and wants to come home but he also understands that he needs to be where he is at right now.  He said it was tough being out in the ‘real world’ where he could slide back into some of his impulsive poor choices.

Thank you all again.  Planning a family trip to see him soon.  His sisters are anxious to give him a hug!

12/21/2020 UPDATE

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.  We are four days away from Christmas and this year is going to be difficult to not have my son home with us.  Rachel, Lauren, Hannah, and Grace miss their brother.  Braden expressed in his last letter that he is homesick.  We are also missing our Dad and Grandpa.

Please pray that this COVID situation is over soon so that we can go to visit.  Please pray for Braden’s confidence, strength, and continued healing.  We have begun phone calls every other week.  It is very good to hear his voice.

Here are some quotes from Braden’s recent letters:

“Thank you for everything you’ve given me, including this opportunity to be here, even though it is the hardest thing I’ve ever encountered.”

“I am also working very hard in therapy, which in my opinion, is the most important part of my program.”

“Just remember what Christmas is really about.  Enjoy each other’s presence, not just presents.”

“Sometimes it is hard to understand the Bible.  Pastor Andy made it sound so easy.  Man, I really miss Victory.”

“I am really learning a lot in therapy.  I am learning how my thoughts can be corrected when I am handling tough situations.”

“I am really missing home especially over the holidays. Mom I love you so much and am overwhelmed with guilt with what I have done.  I am really hoping that we can rebuild our relationships regardless of the things that I have done.”

“Thinking about being home with you motivates me to push myself to my limits.”

“Thank you for sending me here.  I know it is a burden for you financially, but it will be worth it in the end.”

Braden is moving to Level 2 which will give him a few more privileges.  He has earned 200+ points.  He must take a test on treatment tools before he can officially move to the next level.  He is excelling at school.  He doesn’t like that everything is in a textbook and that he has to make his own study guides.  He is officially a senior in high school.  He just finished his junior year.  In therapy he is working on thought processes.  This is all about his thoughts, emotions, actions, the results of his actions, the correction of his distorted thoughts and thinking errors he has been using.  For example, one of his big thinking errors is, “The King Baby belief”.  This is the belief or behavior that allows you to interact with others based on the belief that “I want what I want, when I want it, and I don’t care who I hurt to get it because my needs are greater.”

Thank you for your prayers and support.  If you are able to give financially we would appreciate that too. I am very impressed with this program.  I truly believe he is getting the help that he needs.  The $5,000 a month is a lot, but the sacrifice will be worth it.   We have only raised $1,250 of the $50,000 needed.  If you are looking for a place to give an end of the year gift, you can give through adoptive.org and your donation is tax deductible.  If you would like to give a different way please let me know.

Prayers and Peace to you and your family

  Susan

Update 10/21/20

Braden has now been in his treatment program for almost 4 months.  He is continuing to make progress.  At the end of September he was finally off of suspension.  He is officially ‘flying solo’ as he calls it.  He no longer has a shadow, all of his decisions are made on his own, and no one is reminding him of the rules.  This is a huge accomplishment.

He has officially started the point system and the last time I spoke with his therapist he was at 45 points.  As soon as he reaches 200 points he will be able to move to Level 2 of the program which means more privileges.  This is also when weekly phone calls to his family will begin.  I know that he is excited about that.  He continually says how much he misses us.  We miss and love him too!

He completed his first therapy assignments which was a confession letter.  I know this was tough for him.  Next step will be for him to discuss this letter with me and start earning trust back in our relationship.  He is also working on his thought patterns and trying to correct his thinking and how this effects his decision making.  I am extremely impressed with the program at Liahona Academy.  I just wish it wasn’t so far away.

His therapist has also been working with Braden on the steps of grief.  My Dad, his Grandpa, died earlier this month.  It has been tough on our entire family.  Braden was very close to his Grandpa.

Here are some quotes from Braden’s recent letters home:

“I’m working on taking things more seriously and not trying to seek acceptance from other people.”

“Mom, I am very grateful that you sent me here.  I am very blessed. I know that you love me so much and that you sent me here to get help.”

“I have made a lot of mistakes at home and here.  I am going to start working harder so I can come home.  I have to start learning from my mistakes so that I can function in a healthy way when I am in the outside world.”

“It’s really hard for me to put into words how much I miss being home.  I know I caused a lot of issues at home and I am trying to learn so I can join you guys again and maintain peace and healthy relationships.  I didn’t realize how privileged and fun our family was until recently.”

“There isn’t a day that I have not thought about you all.”

“I know that before I didn’t show it but you guys mean the world to me and when I come home I can show you.”

“Every day in here I face challenges, but I push through it and get stronger physically and mentally.  I am proud of what I have accomplished.  I know I will face many more challenges but God is with me.”

“It blows my mind knowing how fortunate I was to be adopted by you.  I have made some harsh comments about not wanting to live with you but God gave me you.  You didn’t need me but you chose me!”

Thank you all for supporting us on this journey!  Send us your prayers and hugs J

We would so appreciate any help that you can give to us financially.

8/23/20 Update:

It has now been 7 weeks since Braden has started his program at Liahona.  He is starting to make progress and beginning on the point system.  He just finished his disclosure letter.  This is a first step for him to acknowledge his past problem behaviors and first step to healing and building trust.  Please pray for us as we walk through this.  It was very emotional for me to read and I am still processing.  As parents we try to protect our children from making bad choices but we unfortunately can not make choices for them.  He sends weekly letters and hopefully soon we will be able to talk by phone.

Here are some quotes from his recent letters:

“I pray for you guys when I can.  I am starting to get in the routine of praying every day because I had an unhealthy relationship with my family and an unhealthy relationship with God when I was home.  While I am here I am hoping to fix those relationships.”

“Mom, I was wondering if you could tell Lane that I really miss him.  Also that I look up to being like him and that I am thankful that he has taken time to hang out with me. I have realized that I need more friends like Lane.  The “friends” that I had at school weren’t really my friends, but people like Lane have a strong spiritual and valuable relationship with me that makes me feel true happiness and not instant gratification.”

“Thank you mom for sending me here, it was the right choice.  I will face failure, criticism, and many challenges, but I will most definitely accomplish my mission of changing as long as I keep trying my best and pushing forward.  Thank you mom for sending me a Bible ASAP so I can start reading it and applying it to my life to help me through my journey.”

I send notes to him weekly from our family.  If anyone would like to include some encouraging notes I am sure he would appreciate it.  At this point in his treatment you would need to send to me and then I will forward to him.  He says he is missing home but he knows he needs to be there so he can learn to make good decisions.

The girls are doing well.  Rachel now has her temp driver’s license and we try to practice daily.  We have not ventured onto the highway yet.  That is our next step.  She is enjoying her volleyball season with her first game tomorrow evening.  She will be in 11th grade.  Lauren will be starting 9th grade and is enjoying marching band.  She plays the clarinet.  Hannah will be starting 6th grade and Grace 3rd grade.  They will all be starting ballet again after Labor Day (or at least I hope so).  I start back at work on Monday, August 31st.  They begin the Tuesday after Labor Day but only will be attending every other day.  It’s going to be a tough schedule as a single working mom especially getting through this COVID season.

I am starting to read the book “When Love is Not Enough” by Nancy Thomas.  It is a guide to parenting children with Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I have read parts before but this time I hope to read front to back with some reflective note taking.  Parenting is tough but parenting adoptive/foster kids is tougher.  I am having a hard time realizing school is starting and Braden won’t be there.  He is missing his golf season and his Junior year.  It is a time to learn and grow for all of us.

Thank you again for your prayers and continued financial support.  We have currently raised $900.

Update 7/30/20:

I talk with Braden’s counselor weekly. It has been 4 weeks since he began his treatment. He is struggling with adjusting to the program, which is typical at this point in his stay. The program uses a point system and as Braden earns points, he earns privileges. Points are given according to positive behavior, cooperation, school participation, daily evaluations, attendance, following rules, and passing the quote of the day.
On a more positive note these are quotes that I have taken from the most recent letter that I received from Braden:
“One quote I have learned since I have been here is ‘If something doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you’. I really like that quote because I know in the past if there was an easier way to do something, I would’ve taken the easy route even if it was the wrong choice.”
“I feel like another thing I want to work on while I am here is becoming closer to God. Before I came here, I didn’t really like church or listening to services but I’m working on my relationship with God while I am here.”
“Everyone who works here is committed to helping me change and I really like that about this place.”
“I love you all very much and I hope you know that I think about you every day. I love you.”
His letters make me cry. I love to get them but they are emotional. I have range of emotions on all this….relief, anger, happiness, sadness, fear, guilt….
Relief that turmoil in the home is gone but anger that it had to get to this point. Happiness that Braden is receiving help but sadness that I can’t hug him and talk to him every day. Fear that I made the right decision for our family. Guilt that he is not here everyday and experience life with us.
Thank you as always for your support, love and prayers!
If you are able to help financially we are still looking for donations. Donations made on this page through Adoptive Families Coalition are tax deductible and 100% of the money raised is sent directly to Braden’s treatment provider.
Thank you all who have given already. I will be sending a personal note soon. I have been so busy with family and life has been a battle right now.
THANK YOU!

Adoptive Families Coalition (AFC) is writing to you on behalf of Braden’s family. We are assisting them in funding their son’s treatment not covered by insurance. There are very few resources for adoptive families who face the challenges of expensive and lengthy care. We need a community of support! Please consider if you can make a one time or monthly donation to offer Braden a bright future.

100% of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to the treatment provider. Thank you! 

 

AFC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the holistic support of adoptive families. Families who faced similar challenges firsthand and understand the need for support founded the nonprofit.