Family Profile: The Hoffmans

Bobby, Lucy and GehrigBobby Hoffman learned the value of family at an early age. “My father left when I was 15, but he was gone long before he actually announced his departure,” Bobby explains. As the third oldest of nine children, Bobby was tasked with the enormous responsibility of helping his mother raise his siblings.

Bobby went on to marry Lynn and have a son named Ryan. Lynn unfortunately succumbed to breast cancer when Ryan was just 12 years old. After some time had passed, Bobby later remarried and settled into a life with Kelly, who never had any children and was now the step-mother to his almost adult son.

Just when Bobby thought he was finished rearing children, he realized his best moments had been with children and he wanted to raise another child, specifically a child born in New York City in need of a home. Bobby explains, “I wanted my wife and I to share all the love that we had within our hearts and to give a child a caring, stable home”. With that in mind, the couple turned to Spence-Chapin and a short while later, we able to adopt baby Gehrig.

Linda, the social worker on the case, reflects, “Bobby and Kelly immediately fell in love with Gehrig upon meeting him. It was a profoundly emotional moment and was very, very sweet.” Linda recalls the Hoffmans being on cloud nine about the newest addition to their family, catering fully to Gehrig’s every need.

Tragically, the high unexpectedly became a low when Kelly passed away from a heart attack just before Gehrig’s 2nd birthday. Facing single parenthood for the second time, Bobby drew upon the strength he learned from his mother so early in life and hunkered down to raise his son.

Oftentimes out of tragedy, comes resiliency. The Hoffman FamilyGehrig is now seven and is flourishing due to the love and support of his blended family unit – Bobby, step mom Lucy, Kelly’s mother, and Lucy’s mother. Gehrig is aware of the deep courage his birth mother had in placing him for adoption and is constantly reminded of the boundless love and devotion Kelly had for him. “He knows life is good, even if it is sometimes short with many obstacles,” Bobby says.

The Hoffman family stays connected to Spence-Chapin by attending annual events such as Global Gathering and the Family Picnic. Bobby is also able to give back in a special way – through tribute giving. Instead of gifts on Gehrig’s birthdays, he encourages family and friends to donate to Spence-Chapin in honor of Gehrig. He also takes his commitment a step further by giving to the organization in honor of Gehrig’s friends’ birthdays. Bobby’s generous gifts and championing of Spence-Chapin’s mission help to provide children with a loving, permanent home such as the one he has been able to give Gehrig.

 

NPR Podcast: Love is a Battlefield

The NPR podcast This American Life is known for delving deep into personal lives to share stories which allow us to better understand our community and our national culture.

In 2006, NPR Mental Health Correspondent Alix Spiegel shared a story about adoption and resilience. On Love is a Battlefield Heidi Solomon and her son Daniel describe Daniel’s transition from a Romanian orphanage into a loving adoptive family in the Midwest. Attachment and love are at the center of the podcast as it details the struggles of the Solomon family as they seek out appropriate therapy, support, and education for their son and themselves at the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio.

The true beauty of the story is shown, both in the parents’ patient understanding of how to bond with their son, and in their firm belief that their son had the ability to move beyond his history of profound neglect.

Listen to Love is a Battlefield online.

Professional Training in Adoption

IMG_0010We know that the need to continually grow as a professional is important not only for self-fulfillment and an increase commitment to one’s profession, but also to ensure that our skills and knowledge are constantly honed and refined to better inform our work.

In the field of adoption and more pointedly in counseling adoptive families, it is imperative that clinicians and practitioners keep abreast of the current methodologies and professional trainings to ensure families are cared for at the highest level.

This week  Spence-Chapin is hosting the Attachment and Trauma Center of Nebraska’s NYC course on Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: EMDR and Family Therapy.  Our staff and other clinicians from the area are participating in a 3-day workshop that will give them better tools to treat children with a history of attachment trauma.

IMG_0007EMDR and Family Therapy Integrative Model: Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children is a research-based program for children with a history of attachment disruptions and/or trauma who are exhibiting behaviors associated with Attachment Disorder .  This treatment views attunement, relationship, and trauma resolution as the keys to healing children exhibiting behaviors that are destructive to relationships within a family. The belief is that these behaviors are rooted in fear and driven by negative beliefs related to past traumas and disrupted attachments. The EMDR Integrative Team Model training teaches a team approach to help affected children and their families.

As our Spence-Chapin clinicians take part in this workshop, they will leave with additional skills in their repertoire that will help them to better serve older children adopted from the foster care system.