Learning to Love Again

“What’s wrong with me? I must not have any emotions at all!” 

Older children and youth from hard places often harden themselves to the world around them. They aren’t born that way. It takes a few years for them to shut off their feelings. Yet mistreatment, disappointment and/or abandonment over and over again from the very ones who should be nurturing and protecting them teaches a child to put up walls and barriers of defense. Thus, it’s not uncommon for a youth who comes to us to ask the above question. After being at Coyote Hill for awhile, Adrian recently expressed that very thought. foster father and daughter enjoy ice cream | coyotehill.org 

Abuse and neglect inhibit the development of children’s trust in the world, in others, and in themselves. They find it difficult to trust the behaviors and words of others, their own judgements and actions, or their own senses of self worth.” (from Brown University, Dysfunctional Family Relationships http://bit.ly/2FW1HeI) 

Time in a healthy, loving environment is having an effect. Adrian may not yet recognize it, but those who are now caring and providing for Adrian’s well-being certainly have seen the growth and changes. 

A Home Parent Dad elaborates, “Adrian isn’t, and probably never will be, a huggy, gushy, sappy person. Yet there have been obvious changes in demeanor and behavior over the last several months. It’s been so beautiful and encouraging to watch.boys read together on couch | coyotehill.org  

“Adrain’s case was one of extreme neglect. Improvements that may seem insignificant for most children are big steps for Adrian. Things like: 

  • Choosing to make eye contact and not staring at the floor.
  • Standing up straight.  
  • Willing to speak to others. 
  • Choosing to smile.   
  • Getting excited about things!  
  • Accepting gifts.  
  • Willing to express needs.  
  • Willing to express fears, big and small, and revealing vulnerability. 

“Adrian’s walls are developing windows, through which love is being accepted and returned.”  

boys rough housing on the floor with dad | coyotehill.org

Adrian’s identity is disguised for confidentiality. Coyote Hill works with children who are overcoming vulnerable circumstances. We honor their story with anonymity yet tell their stories so you may know the life-changing impact your support is having for the many Adrians who call Coyote Hill home.

foster dad and boy read together | coyotehill.org