Mia’s Story

What do you do when you observe a child misbehaving at the grocery store or park? What if they’re not just “acting out,” but putting other kids in danger? Do you look disapprovingly at the parents and wonder what they’re doing wrong? Do you look at the child and think, “I’m glad that’s not my kid,” or, “My kid would never do that.”
But, what if there was more to the story than what meets the eye? What if you found out that child had actually suffered terrible abuse and trauma and their “misbehavior” was actually a coping strategy developed to survive their previous traumatic experiences?
One of those kids was Mia.
Mia was just one-year-old when she was placed in the care of foster parents. In her first year of life, Mia had been brutally and ritualistically tortured. As a baby living with her biological parents, Mia had been bitten all over, shaken, and grievously sexually abused. Her three-week-old sister had been murdered in front of her. As a result, Mia could barely speak; she attacked people around her, and suffered from a variety of tremendous medical problems onset by her early trauma—including seizures, heart problems, gastrointestinal issues and animal-like tendencies to growl, hiss and snarl. She’d spend much of the night crying. In a 24-hour period, she could scream as much as 12 hours.
There was little to no hope that she would ever be able to succeed at home, in a regular school setting, or at life in general.
Mia’s adoptive family learned quickly, as the various diagnoses rolled in, that this was a journey that could not be taken alone. The search for knowledgeable experts began. This was 20+ years ago when services for this kind of thing were scarce. There was much trial and error and many difficult days and nights. But slowly with the help of many caring therapists and health professionals, Mia started to come back to reality. She was rescued from hell on earth and today is a successful and fulfilled adult with a college education and speaks nationally and internationally about her experience.
Today, mental health providers are starting to recognize the experiences we have as children vastly impact our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Kids who have suffered abuse and been through traumatic experiences like Mia’s see the world as harsh and unsafe. This is where healing teams and programs like Sprouts come in.
Sprouts is a Trauma-Informed Care preschool on the Receiving Home campus that is designed to help young children who have suffered trauma and severe abuse like Mia eventually attend and function in a regular school setting. But it is so much more than that—it provides weekly therapy through thoughtful and trauma-specific interventions, “Dinosaur School” a social-emotional skills group, parent support and education, as well as a variety of services designed to uplift and help parents and children throughout the 6-12 month program. It provides a place where kids can feel safe, cared for, and understood.
With Sprouts and more programs like it, we can hopefully create many more success stories like Mia’s. Make a financial gift today, and help these kids heal and beat the odds pitted against them, sometimes from birth.
Your continued support will ensure that kids who are abused early on and severely are able to receive the treatment and care they need to help them heal and ultimately be able to tell their own story of hope.