You helped Chadelena get back on her feet when she was alone and struggling. Now she is reunited with her children, and stepping up to be the mother she needs to be.
“I’ve been a good mom. Why did this happen to me?” Chadelena wondered as she looked back on the past year.
And what a year it was. It all started when Chadelena got involved in a relationship that turned abusive. It threatened her safety and the safety of her children, so the children were removed from her care…on her birthday.
“It was a turning point for me,” she said. “I went from having three kids to having no kids and being by myself. I was scared.”
She filed a Personal Protection Order against her abuser and was able to distance herself from him. Then she started taking the steps to get her children back. She was referred to Highfields’ Family Reunification Program (FRP) which helps children adjust back into their family home from foster care.
Chadelena was nervous to see her children again, especially her 2-year-old daughter, Serenity, who was placed in foster care when she was only 4 months old.
“I was scared because I really didn’t know my baby,” said Chadelena. “Am I going to know why she’s crying? Will she cry because she doesn’t know me?”
Highfields’ FRP therapists Erin Smith and Derrick Byrd came to her rescue and helped her prepare for her children’s return. One area they focused on was the family’s safety. They helped Chadelena develop a “safety plan” to help her be aware of her surroundings and know where the exits are in case any incidents occur in the future.
“The safety plan we created was so helpful,” said Chadelena. “Derrick would often come over and go over the plan with me multiple times and because he did it so often, it kept me alert and I feel prepared.”
When Chadelena’s children came back home, she focused on re-connecting with her children and spending quality time with them.
“I’m able to appreciate the small things more because I missed so much when they were gone,” she said.
Chadelena is grateful for Erin and Derrick’s support with finalizing her case and reuniting her family.
“Erin and Derrick never judged me and I appreciate that so much,” she said. “They are going to change lives…because they changed mine.”