Maureen’s Story

August 9, 2011

News and Stories

Maureen adopted Armando from Guatemala when he was 4 ½ months old. Only five pounds at birth, he was still tiny and fragile. She remembers reflecting on her grandmother’s words, “those babies aren’t born with instruction sheets,” but she blissfully tucked the thought away in her subconscious.  After all, she was an educated professional woman, with an MBA, and she didn’t need any help….

Then, when Armando started kindergarten, she realized she did need some answers.  Mando, as she affectionately calls him, was overreacting to everything and falling apart over nothing.  Just getting him off the couch in the morning took all of her ingenuity and lots of wheedling.  Fortunately the school counselor told her about a workshop, sponsored by Family Resource Center, that dealt with children’s behavior problems.  She laughs when she recalls that the workshop flyer said, “babysitting provided” and her first response was “that’s dynamite!”

The workshop speaker, one of FRC’s parent-child interaction (PCIT) therapists, didn’t waste any time getting to the heart of her message.  She handed a plate of dessert to a participant and then snatched it back, explaining that we do the same thing to our kids when we don’t give them adequate notice of our plans.  Maureen thought about all the times she abruptly pulled Mando away from his activities without any advance warning in order to run errands.  No wonder he was digging in his heels!  She says she couldn’t wait to get home and apply her new knowledge – and she called FRC’s offices to learn more.

Working with Trish Hobson, an FRC family therapist, Maureen learned the need to give Mando choices and to let him take some responsibility for their outcome.   She learned to use things that really mattered to him – Nintendo and Wii, for instance – and to hold up two fingers to clearly indicate his options.

Trish Hobson also pointed out that Mando was dealing with attachment issues that are very common to adoptive children.  Maureen says that Trish “was able to tailor the sessions to what we needed – a single mom of an adoptive child.  She didn’t use a cookie cutter approach.”

Mando now stands over 4 feet tall and weighs 70 lbs.  Gone is the fragile little baby Maureen welcomed into her life seven years ago, and in his place is a strong and confident first grader.

Maureen says that “without good parenting skills, problems just get perpetuated.  I love Family Resource Center.  Their passion really comes through.”

Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear it. Contact us at 314.534.9350 or via email.