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Treating Trauma in Fostering - The Importance of Emotive Connections

It was a Sunday after lunch. The little boy was rolling around on the floor.  He had called for Daddy, Mummy, the Kor Kors; "Help me!" he hollered. Before that, the almost 3-year-old had thrown off his shoes in protest. And all because he wasn't allowed to eat a piece of candy that had been given to him by a stranger. And it was not the only time a situation like this had taken place. A few days later, during a public talk, our little foster child was rolling around on the floor; he had insisted on a biscuit, and was upset when told he had too many and wasn't allowed to have any more. What do you do with a 3-year-old who seems to turn to tantrums and public outcries to get what he wants?  The Lims - A Fostering Family. I recently completed a course on trauma by the US-based National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), and I have realised that B's actions are mostly a trauma response; that he is responding in this manner because
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Trauma & Healing - Lessons from Fostering

"Do you think B has trauma?" The 11/1/2-year-old chose the long ride home from the Lunar New Year Reunion Dinner to ask this important and quintessential question, which was made in relation to the older foster child.  "Definitely," came the reply from Daddy, as he drove the car. One for the road. Our foster kids for the season as they join us on a ride of a lifetime. "What exactly is trauma?" came the follow up question; and Daddy all but took a deep breath, before he launched into the following reply. "Trauma is when the body remembers something painful that happened in the past; when it responds in a way similar to how it did in the past, even though the event is no longer happening. So take for example someone in the past used a knife to threaten you and you responded in fear. And because you were young, your brain blocked out this painful memory in a bid to protect you. So even now when you see a knife, your body starts to tremble in a similar wa

From Two Months to Two Years - Creating Certainty in Uncertainty

The little boy turned his head in astonishment; everyone was calling his name and singing in great joy. These were the uncles and aunties he had met on a regular basis, and all of them looked so happy as they raised their voices in merriment. In addition, there were his Daddy and Mummy, and his two Kor Kors, all beaming in wide smiles, as they sang his birthday song and enjoyed the delectable cake that Mummy had baked. Our dear foster son B turned 2 last week. This was the first birthday he was celebrating with us and the friends who love him. That day, as we headed home after all the festivities, we asked little B if he was happy, and the little boy answered resolutely in a gentle voice, “Happy.” This 2-year-old is surrounded by so much love. He is loved by the uncles and aunties and the Kor Kors and Jie Jies who see him on a regular basis. And he brings much joy to others wherever he goes. B first came to live in our home in May 2022. We first met him in a fast-food outlet, after bei

To Have and to Hold: A Closer Look at the Wedding Vows

December 29, 2007. On that day, 15 years ago, I made the following vow: "I Mark Lim, take you, Sue Tan, to be my lawful wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. According to God's holy ordinances, and here thereto, I pledge you my faithfulness." When I made my marriage vows 15 years ago, I didn't fully understand every aspect of these words. Well, I definitely believed in everything I said, and I was determined to keep those vows, but I didn't fully appreciate the depth of the promises made. Over the past month, I've been reflecting about what these words mean, and I've taken the time to pen down my thoughts. Batam, Indonesia, December 2022. Celebrating our 15th year together. There have been so many ups and downs all these years; and we give thanks to God for keeping us close through it all. To have and to hold. What exactly does this phrase mea

The Covid Chronicles: Fostering Edition

It's been a total of 5 weeks since Covid left its imprint on our family. For more than 2/1/2 years, our family had been Covid-free, likely due to our semi-geographical isolation in our little corner of Singapore, as well as our general dislike for shopping malls and all things crowded. But on the 2 July, the dotted "T-line" was finally crossed, and I was the first in the family to come down with the virus. I wrote the following words in my Facebook announcement: "Thankful that it's so far been mild; fever over the past two days and an incessant dry cough. And so when I realised it was Day 1 yesterday, I just took it as a matter of fact. What's been hard has been the non-stop work. Teaching continues with or without Covid. Zoom workshops continue. More laboured as I seem to consume a bucket of water for every two hour session. Admin work continues. Still preparing for a major 11-trainer, 55-workshop session next week, with all the client meetings and trainer b