Watkins' Adoption Healing

My husband and I have fostered 14 and adopted 8 children over 8 years. It has been a great joy providing a home to these kids, and also very, very difficult.

Just before the adoption of the last four in 2010, we discovered that 4 of our 8 children have Reactive Attachment Disorder. This disorder has caused a variety of behaviors over the years, from death threats to mass destruction of our home to lying and continual thieving. Sometimes my children look at me or each other with such hatred in their eyes my heart aches for them. We want to help them heal. We have been helping them heal.

It has taken and continues to take the help of various professionals to cope with and overcome these behaviors. In May 2013, internationally recognized attachment specialist, Nancy Thomas, spent a week at our house and provided several recommendations for us. Those recommendations have made a tremendous improvement in the level of peace in our home and prevented one child from a sure ticket to out-of-state residential.

Nancy's recommendations included a QEEG followed by Neuro feedback, which we have not yet been able to implement due to the treatment’s lack of availability in Alaska. After a lot of research, we have found the best option for this treatment is in Spokane, Washington. Not only will it help retrain the brains of my Reactive Attachment children, but also my children with PTSD, cocaine effects, and cerebral palsy. I need your help to provide this treatment to better my children’s future.

Watching their progress over the years has been a slow and many times painful process, but each victory brings so much joy. I am very excited to be given the opportunity to continue the healing journey for my children and improve the chances of them not becoming part of the negative statistics surrounding foster care and adoption. Please join me in giving America's adopted kids a chance to heal and grow into productive citizens. Thank you!

                                      Mark's Story
I can't put the other seven on here, but I can introduce you to Mark. Mark is our youngest. He was born at 25 weeks gestation at 2#2oz. His lungs were not developed well and he struggles to this day with chronic lung disease. He had a brain bleed at birth causing cerebral palsy and cortical vision impairment. We picked him up from the hospital at 7 months of age and 15#. He came home with four sets of wires attached to him and spent the next year bouncing back and forth between the hospital and home. Over the next 4 years, he slowly improved and graduated all 4 wires. Of all of his accomplishments, speaking has been the slowest in coming and by far the most exciting. The following posts show some of his struggle and triumphs.

April 10, 2014
As I read ..., I was continually interrupted by a 6 y.o.'s struggle to talk. What a fighter! He has struggled so with communication! To the point of pulling his hair out. Tonight, he discovered he could say two of our names without a stutter! And he was so excited he had to find reasons to say our names over and over to practice. You could see the struggle each time-how hard it was to form each word, but all he showed was pure joy in his smile as he carefully pronounced our names correctly in the middle of a signed sentence!
For those of you not close by, let me explain my tears. In the last couple months, we have discovered his speech pattern is similar to a stroke patient. He said, "cookie," for the first time in December. Even with bribing him with a whole giant cookie, he cannot say it again. And yes, he wants to. He is six and can only verbally say 4.5/10 of our names. He just learned to say, "hi," about two weeks ago. While his spelling is at a higher level than five of his older siblings, he can only pronounce 12 letter sounds and most of those only in isolation.

June 4, 2014
I was greeted with, "Hi! Hug!" this afternoon - brought tears to my eyes! And tonight, "Hi Mom!" First time ever! A 6 y.o. learning to talk is way more exciting than any younger age!

Today, his speech is difficult to understand and there are still frequent times he cannot get out what he wants, but he is a determined little guy. This trip to Spokane in April will help Mark's speech.

Thank you for your prayers and your support!

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Cathy Watkins 
Anchorage, AK
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