Ashley and her husband, Aaron, were excited to grow their family by opening their hearts and their home as a fictive family placement for Shelby, who needed a temporary home. Foster care felt like a perfect way to complete their family with more children. It wasn’t long before Ashley started having concerns about Shelby’s development and behavior. The parenting strategies that had worked so well for their son, Andrew, weren’t effective with Shelby. “From a young age, we noticed that something was different.” After being told repeatedly by doctors that Shelby was just “going through a phase”, Ashley took Shelby to a specialist and finally started getting some answers.
The specialist was able to confirm what Ashley had suspected all along–Shelby’s brain was processing things very differently from that of a typically developing child, and the specialist referred Ashley and Shelby to HopeSparks for therapy. From the first phone call she made, Ashley felt that coming to HopeSparks was “like a breath of fresh air”. The family’s concerns were finally being taken seriously, and for the first time, she felt that she wasn’t going to have to work through this challenge alone.
Since beginning therapy at HopeSparks with Alexis, Ashley’s entire family dynamic has changed for the better. “The little things that other parents might take for granted were a struggle for us. With the tools that Alexis has given us, it’s completely different.”
Today, the family has grown again with the addition of Shelby’s younger sister, Sadie, as well as Ashley and Aaron’s second biological son, Ayden. Ashley is using the skills and strategies she’s learned during therapy to parent Sadie, who has needs that are similar to Shelby’s. With the support and tools that Ashley and Aaron have gained at HopeSparks, they have moved forward with adopting both of the girls, and their family now feels complete. They continue to receive support from HopeSparks as they learn together as a family. “Every week it gets better and better.”