Circle of Security: Supporting The Sacred Vulnerability of Embracing a Child

By Brett Greenfield

As a social worker the most consistent aspect of my job is that I am constantly learning something new. Something I have learned through working with families is to measure time not in months, weeks, days, or even hours, but moments. Life is filled with infinite moments that together craft stories, memories, purpose, and meaning for every one of us. These moments, whether shared with others or experienced in solitude have the capacity to change the course of an entire life, or merely pass by without the slightest hint of significance. When life is measured in moments beauty is found in the mundane, space is created for joy, sorrow, and every emotion in between, and hope is revealed amongst the darkest of times.

Working with foster and adoptive parents there is this moment for me that is always incredible. It is a moment during a phone call, just after asking a foster parent if they are willing to accept a child into their home…and they pause. This pause, sometimes seconds and sometimes seconds that seem like minutes, is nothing short of sacred. In these ever brief moments of silence, usually followed by questions about specifics and logistics, something truly remarkable takes place. The unspoken emotions of those moments are gravitas. Fear, courage, heartbreak, bravery, and compassion burst at every seam of the seemingly empty space. Moments like these are one of many that foster and adoptive parents experience that are often incomprehensible to others. These moments are also the first of many experiences between a child and a family, both of whom start out completely unknown to one another. The countless experiences that follow can be equally as unknown, and are just as sacred.

This pause is so significant because it is so familiar. Every person finds themselves at one point or another facing this same sense of the unknown, and these moments of pause take place when vulnerability is being asked of us. The unknown is such a vulnerable space, and yet is intricately intertwined with every relationship. Every family I encounter, be it the grandparents raising their grandchildren, the first time mother beginning a new journey of parenting, the foster family courageously raising a multitude of children even when that time is limited, the large family with many children, the parents of children with special needs, the adoptive families weaving together their own family story; any family with any story finds themselves confronted with the vulnerability of the unknown at many points along the journey.

The willingness families to wade deep into the vulnerability of embracing children is something I will forever cherish and admire. My hope is that I offer more than just admiration, and also provide support for this vulnerability as well. Experts in child welfare have long studied the effects of secure attachment in children. Secure attachment is something often taken for granted, until it is somehow lost. Many families find themselves confronted with the challenge of loving and embracing a child deeply in need of the nurture and care characteristic of secure attachment. Through these journeys of loving children a common thread is woven. Families seek a place for their stories to be heard and hope to be found.

The task of sharing stories and searching for hope can be daunting and intimidating, but hope has a way of making itself known. MCH Family Outreach is offering a new program for families of all shapes and sizes called Circle of Security. This 8-week small group program is designed to give parents and caregivers the opportunity to understand their story in new ways that reveal the hope already present in their lives. If you or someone you know is interested in meeting with other parents for this type of opportunity, please contact MCH Family Outreach at 254-750-1263 or email Brooke Davilla at bdavilla@mch.org.

Classes can be offered at a variety of locations and for groups of 8-10 parents. Examples of groups can be:

  • Foster and Adoptive Parents
  • Parents of small children
  • Parents of older children
  • Single Parents
  • Parents of blended families
  • Parents of children with special needs

Brett GreenfieldBrett Greenfield is social worker in Waco, TX. He is a graduate of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and currently serves as a Case Manager with MCH Family Outreach. He is passionate about working with families in the community and offering community education in trauma-informed care, attachment, and family relationships.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

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