You are not alone!

The journey with kids from hard places can be dark, scary and often overwhelming. But you don't have to tackle the journey alone! We continue to discover multitudes of great book, video, internet, and organizational resources which can help each of us be the kind of healing presence with hurting children that we long to be. 

What makes a great resource for caregivers of formerly abandoned, abused and neglected kids? Of course families and individuals each have their own unique approaches. But we've found that the resources that best support us in our journey with kids from hard places are those that are

  • compassionate

  • empowering

  • non-judgmental

  • trauma-informed

  • research-based



prezentari de la summitul alianȚa romÂnia fĂrĂ orfani 2018

Mercy Ministries presentations from the “Romania Without Orphans Summit 2018”

“Intervenții Corporale ale Tinerilor Proveniți din Locuri Defavorizale” [Body-Based Interventions for Youth from Hard Places]

“La Ce Te-Ai Gândit?! Întelegerea Comportamentului Adaptiv - Creșterea Eficacității a Intervenților Copiilor cu Trauma” [What Were You Thinking?! Understanding Adaptive Behavior: Increasing the Effectiveness of Interventions with Traumatized Children]

“Tineri Orfani - Fiind alături de cei care nu și-au găsit un cămin permanent” [Young Adult Orphans - Walking alongside those who have not found their forever home]



the body keeps the score

"Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma," by Bessel van der Kolk, 2015

This is essential reading  for anyone dealing with complex developmental trauma. In this book, Bessel van der Kolk - one of the pioneering researches in the field of trauma - shares insights from 40 years of observing and treating trauma. He combines theory, research, interventions, and personal experience to explain the necessity of a body-centered approach to trauma recovery. Ultimately an empowering work, The Body Keeps the Score references dozens of interventions that have positively impacted the outcomes for children and adults who have suffered from both PTSD and complex developmental trauma. 


the connected child

"Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family," by Karyn Purvis and David R. Cross, 2007

Drs Purvis and Cross synthesize the latest research on trauma and years of first-hand experience working with kids from difficult backgrounds to bring hope and practical insights to parents and caregivers of children from hard places. The authors explain the changes that complex developmental trauma creates in the brain, causing a cascade of difficult behaviors and emotional needs that traditional approaches (such as behavior modification) are often unable to adequately address. With a backgound understanding of the biology of trauma, Purvis and Cross construct an approach that addresses core shame and overwhelming fear that drives so many of the difficult behaviors of abandoned and abused children. The authors guide caregivers in constructing an environment of felt safety and deep connection that become the foundation for true healing. In addition, Purvis and Cross address the necessity of addressing the emotional needs that caregivers of difficult children will inevitably face - an aspect of parenting that many families may not have given sufficient attention to when they began their journey. 


from fear to love

"Parenting Difficult Adopted Children," by B. Bryan Post, 2010

Post presents a compassionate parenting paradigm - tailored to the needs of children with trauma backgrounds - that has the potential to transform troubled children and their parents. Post explains how overwhelming stress drives problematic behavior, and why it is that adopted children have such difficulty dealing with these stresses. With the understanding of how early trauma damages a child’s developing nervous system, parents can begin to see the underlying fear and unconscious stress responses that drive difficult behavior. Post outlines a three-step intervention process that allows compassionate adults to help dysregulated kids grow in their ability to calm themselves and to make good choices.Much more than an attempt to address surface behaviors, Post’s approach offers the opportunity for deep healing for troubled youth. Post asserts that positive relationships are the key to healing, making this a hopeful—as well as practical—book for struggling families. 


Healing developmental trauma

"How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship," by Laurence Heller and Aline Lapierre, 2012

This is one of the few books available that focuses in a comprehensive way on adults who are dealing with the affects of their own complex developmental trauma. Levine and Lapierre write from their background as clinical psychologists who see distinct differences between the needs of those suffering from PTSD and those dealing with developmental trauma. To address the unique challenges posed by dev trauma they focus on the compromised capacity for connection that results from a history of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. Their approach (the Neuro Affective Relational Model - NARM) helps adults work in the present (rather than becoming stuck in the past) to become more aware of dysfunctional patterns they have unconsciously developed to deal with the pain of chronic dissociation. Their approach is somatically-based and is designed to bring to awareness the many strengths, resources and capacities that each person has available from their own life experiences to begin to a live a fuller life that is more connected to others


Video Series


The healing family series

Texas Christian University, Institute of Child Development

The series produced by the TCU Institute of Child Development under the guidance of Karyn Purvis and David Cross contains practical tools and real-life examples for families and caregivers who want to bring healing to their children who have suffered complex developmental trauma. Experts in the fields of neuroscience, trauma, and attachment explain how trauma changes a child’s brain, impairs attachment, and affects language, sensory processing and coping skills. The Trust-Based Relational Intervention – TBRI – model presented in the videos provides a path to establishing felt safety for the hurting child and building healing connections that can change outcomes our children. 


counting the cost of the journey

by Karyn Purvis with Empowered to Connect

Dr. Purvis explains the joys and challenges of adoptive parenting, urging those considering the journey to take into careful consideration the investment in time, attention, resources, and a commitment to personal growth necessary to bring true healing to children from hard places.


Organizations and Websites

karyn purvis Institute of Child Development at tcu

Book and video resources based on the TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) model. Also information on trainings available for professionals who work with children affected by complex developmental trauma.


Attachment and Trauma Network, Inc

Special events, resources, trainings, support groups, blogs, and advocacy work related to families of children with attachment and developmental trauma issues.

Do you have another great resource to share?