Hi, I am Gail. I’m an adoptive mom of twin sons, and five birth children, and I live in Missoula, Montana. I’m also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague and grandmother to a six-year-old.
The Connecting Space was born from my desire to heal my adopted sons from their early history. Through the course of many years, I learned that connected parenting using biblical principles offered the greatest hope.
This journey increased my education on the effects of trauma on the developing child, brought me new skills and techniques to decrease trauma- behaviors in my sons, but most importantly increased my capacity for empathy for my son’s stories and my own.
The Connecting Space offers support for families like mine who are caregiving children from hard places. I offer family-based intervention and support that is designed for children who have experienced relationship-based traumas such as institutionalization, multiple foster placements, maltreatment, and/or neglect.
It wasn’t until our family internationally adopted that I understood how feelings of happiness at adopting can co-exist with feeling like my world just turned upside down.
In 2005, I had little reason to think that with a bit of cultural sensitivity and lots of love, I couldn’t easily blend two 6-year-old Russian orphanage-raised twins with five birth children.
But for children like mine who came from trauma backgrounds, the idea of family is often skewed toward difficulty forming attachments. “Family” rings hollow until meaning is given to the word, through nurturing experiences.
The family is God’s best structure to lead to health and healing. But our family suffered for years not understanding the effects of early trauma on the twins, and I continued to parent them the way that I had always parented, which was a little heavy-handed and controlling.
Yes, traditional parenting was hurting my sons, so I began a journey seeking interventions for them that would build connection, not keep them in fear from their past.
God’s Word lived out, and neuroscience research on the effects of trauma and loss are where I have found the most help. These insights are what I can share with you through print and e-books I write, blog posts I create, the presentations I give, and parent coaching I offer.
The Connecting Space is for parents and caregivers who want to bring more connection to your children and healing in your families, in God-honoring ways.
My hope is to take what I know – a combination of my personal good and bad experiences of parenting, add to that the specialized education and training I have received, and bring it to you, who are looking for answers that don’t leave God out of the solution.
It is said that children who have relational trauma can only be healed through relationship. This is the bedrock of what I teach because at the heart of the Gospel is God wants a relationship with us.
We can not parent well where we have not walked ourselves as children of our Heavenly Father. We love because He first loved us. We bring healing to our children because He first healed us.
There is hope and healing for your child, your family, and your self. I know you are weary. Let me help.
My Academic Credentials: I received a B.A. in communication from the University of Tulsa, with an emphasis on organizational cultures. I then had a career as a behavioral counselor and later as a family law paralegal before I became a full-time homeschooling educator in 1995.
Since 1999, I have studied old and new testament theology, including ancient near east biblical culture and thought. I have acquired advanced training and trauma-informed education since 2010 while maintaining a large family household and home educating my 7 children through to high school graduation.
During this time, I completed a post- BA certificate program in Child Development so I could learn more about the normal developmental stages of childhood and adolescence.
I have taken numerous online courses in neuroscience to more fully understand the effects of early trauma on the developing brain, as well as courses in Fetal Alcohol Affects. I am trained as a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner, I am trained in the ALERT Program for Self-Regulation and I am a Registered Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator.
In 2018, I graduated with a Master of Arts Degree from Concordia University, St. Paul, in Family Science.
Please contact me to find out how I can come alongside you as you continue to provide hope and healing for your children coming from hard places.
Me and my granddaughter, enjoying a sweet, connected moment.