Hi, I’m Gail, and I am glad you are here. You are most likely here because early childhood trauma has entered your life through your foster or adoptive child or children, or because you work with children who have come from hard places.
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 five year old. It wasn’t until our family adopted internationally that I understood the need for support for families who have put everything on the line for the sake of giving a family to a child or children who needed one. In 2005, I had little reason to think that my life would be turned upside down. I thought that we could bring our 6 year old Russian orphanage raised twins home and, with a little cultural sensitivity and lots of love, easily blend them into our family of 5 birth children.
But for children who come from trauma backgrounds, the idea of family can be skewed toward difficulty forming attachments. “Family” rings hollow until meaning is given to the word, through nurturing experiences. Family is still the best structure to lead to health and healing, because family is God’s plan. 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 actually hurting my sons, so I began a journey to seek 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. This is what I want to share with you.
The Connecting Space is for parents and caregivers who want to bring more connection to our children and healing in our 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 other families 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 and this is the bedrock of what I teach, because it is at the heart of the Gospel message that 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 BA in communication from the University of Tulsa, with an emphasis in 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 through many lay courses, including ancient 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 on-line 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 graduated with a Master of Arts Degree from Concordia University, St. Paul in Family Science.
I am not a counselor and I do not offer counseling. I am not a therapist and I do not offer therapy. I am a Family Life Educator, coach and facilitator who can help you draw on your own family strengths to combine with my training to support you as you parent your foster or adoptive child who came from a hard place.
The sidebar to the right of every page on this website highlights a little bit of my personal experiences, which I hope show that my greatest ‘qualification’ to be a support to you is that I am a parent just like you.
Please contact me to find out how I can come alongside of 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.