Susan has a BA in Business Management and an AS in Criminal Justice and Corrections. A former foster parent, she and her husband Duane are parents to 13 children, including 5 with FASD, 1 with Celiac Disease and 3 with Reactive Attachment Disorder. In addition, she mentors foster and adoptive parents, advocates, presents and serves on several Boards and Committees at the local and State level.
I should have been a foster kid but wasn't. I'm a survivor. I was drawn to kids that didn't have a voice. I had done the hard work of letting go of those resentments and growing up emotionally.
It is because of this background, Susan was led her to foster and adopt. In this podcast she reveals how, as a caregiver for individuals on the Spectrum, like so many others, she found herself in a State with no service providers, and what professionals there were had extremely limited expertise in Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. In addition there was a definite lack of systems support for caregivers, including family.
People are told, adopt, provide structure and nurture and everything just turns around and so they are not really properly informed of trauma and how long the trauma goes on and as these kiddos begin to age and their behaviour becomes really significant we started seeing adoptive parents terminate or try to terminate their adoptions. Foster and adoptive parents are not prepared. Not trained. Not supported. (Yet) These kiddos require outside the box parenting.
She shares her views on:
We also talk about Indiana NOFAS (past, present and future), life during the pandemic and her advice to parents on managing it all. When asked about her own self-care routine, in addition to the regular prescribed activities, she says:
The biggest part of my self care is re-framing success for me and my kiddos.
You will enjoy Susan’s forthright attitude as she sprinkles her personal and professional experience with so many truth bombs your head will explode. Okay, maybe not explode, but make some room in there for some incredible insight.