Full disclosure: I’m not a parent – at least not in any official capacity – and I’m as shocked as you are about the whole thing. Who on God’s Green Earth would dedicate her life to helping parents help their kids, although not be a parent herself?
Hi, my name’s Jen. I’m the childless lady who’s devoted my entire career – dare I say, my entire life – to families.
I’ve walked alongside countless parents and kids…almost a decade as a private and public school teacher, having spent more hours a day with my students than their parents got to, and almost a decade as a social worker, having spent more time in homes with parents and kids than with my own family and friends.
It’s with those years of experience (and a few other things) that I’ve cultivated a unique perspective about the ins and outs of parenting.
So, although I’m not a mom, I’ve made it my personal mission to help moms (and dads) everywhere to parent well.
People often ask me why I founded Stand Up Eight, a one-of-its-kind program that helps families bond after adoption.
The answer is always the same: it’s because of the difference between “your home” and “you’re home.”
Your home is where you hang your hat and put your feet up at night, and while there is value and power in that sense of ownership, there’s no greater feeling than the sense of belonging when you’re home, among your family, where you’re protected, where you belong.
Here’s why that’s at the heart of what we do at Stand Up Eight.
- The world is a sticky-tricky place for our kids with trauma history. Many of the best chapters in the book of life are lost on them, and instead, they live in the disturbing pages that their young minds weren’t made to comprehend. Their stories tell of people who were supposed to protect them and couldn’t, and so, one of the many lessons they’ve learned is that home is scary and unsafe.
- To make it more difficult, when a child is placed with a safe family, everything that surrounds him is unknown. New sights, new smells, new feelings, new experiences. It can be overwhelming for even the most well-adjusted of us. And included in that long list of newness is a new home filled with new people. Understanding how to fit in, especially with the lessons he’s already learned, is frightening and stressful to say the least.
- To complicate things further (are you seeing a pattern?), when a child has been harmed by her relationships, the way to heal from that kind of trauma is through relationships – the healthy and appropriate kind. The kind where she’s enjoyed and valued rather than demoralized and manipulated. The kind that requires redundant creativity, forgiving structure, devotion on top of commitment, and giant heaps of unconditional love, to name just a few. Sound easy? Nope. Many adoptive parents need a hand with those most days.
With that in mind, the motivation behind everything we do at Stand Up Eight is to help kids feel the difference between “your home” and “you’re home” – the difference between having a home that is safe and feeling safe in a home.
Stand Up Eight was created to meet the deepest needs of abused and neglected children – to belong, to attach, and to feel safe…to feel that they are home.
Read more about our work from Stand Up Eight families themselves HERE.
“It has been great working with Stand Up Eight. For my husband and I, it was a chance to refocus our trauma-informed parenting, reminding us of strategies that would bring about connection. The activities strengthened our family as well as helped us reflect positively as parents. Our family relationships were positively impacted by the support, encouragement and wisdom of Stand Up Eight. Thank you!”
-Chrissy, mother of 3
“We worked with Becky and Jen for quite awhile, and believe in the program. Becky and Jen were amazing to work with and get to know. They were/are fully committed to supporting our WHOLE family and the fact that they came to our house is incredible!
…they were supportive beyond anything I could have imagined in dealing with my son’s school challenges (some of his own challenges but also some from the school and the lack of trauma awareness).”
-Julie, mother of 2
“This is a game changer for families. I can’t speak highly enough of Becky and her creativity and guidance.
The Stand Up Eight program was such a gift to our family. The activities Becky brought each week helped our family feel connected and allowed me and my husband to see areas we needed to grow in. My kids loved having Becky and Jen come over and they felt loved and cared for during the time we had together. Family connection can be such a challenge for us, and it was so valuable to have an allotted time for it and to learn ways to make it happen going forward. Plus, it was fun!”
-Cara, mother of 4
“Coming into our home and working with us on any and all issues has been extremely beneficial. I have learned so much not only about my kiddos and what’s going on inside their brains, but about myself as well. An eye-opening journey to say the least.
Being able to vs. actually doing it – that’s the struggle for me. I am learning to overcome my authoritarian-style parenting and learning to use trauma-informed parenting more effectively. “
-Cory, father of 4
“Prior to starting to work with Stand Up Eight this spring, I had gotten to a point of frustration and discouragement with [our children’s] trauma behaviors. I had very little patience and compassion for them, and I felt like nothing that I was doing was working.
Over the last six months, I have developed a renewed compassion for them, more easily remembering that these behaviors are not their fault. That compassion, combined with an effective set of strategies for addressing their behaviors has provided great encouragement to me, and has led to further attachment/bonding in our family.
The family activities encouraged connection among us. As parents, it was a reminder that we’re not crazy. It might not seem like a big deal, but it was really important to me that y’all understood exactly what we were talking about when we would discuss our kids’ behaviors. And not only that, you gave us strategies to help address those issues too!
After the first few sessions, I remember feeling like a light had been shined onto various habits, bad strategies and patterns that we had developed in response to our kids’ behavior.”
– Jeff, father of 4
Check out Stand Up 8 on Facebook HERE!