“Ale, this process with Strong Families has been so different, because for the first time in my life, I am being given dignity, not shame,” the mother of eight spoke with deep gratitude. “I feel heard and understood by medical professionals, in my time with God, with your staff team, and I understand now I have every right to fight on behalf of my children and learn information about each of them.”
Ale Castro, Back2Back staff and Strong Families Coordinator, shared this recent conversation with a Strong Families mom. “She is the mother of eight children,” explained Ale. “Seven of her eight children have spent some point of their lives in a children’s home, and whenever she revealed that information to doctors, therapists, or government workers, she was dismissed and often shamed.” She was a mother reunited with her children long before the Strong Families Program existed in Monterrey, and was navigating it alone.
Their family officially joined Strong Families when the pandemic hit Mexico and they offered one of the oldest daughters an option – continue to pursue your education, but live with your family while you do it. “They both started crying,” shared Ale. “‘We never thought this would be a possibility,’” they shared.
From there, staff invested deeply with her and her family, developing individual plans for each child, identifying what areas of the 5 Point Child Development Plan each of them needed, and they supported her through every step of the process. One thing that made this family unique is the drive their mom has had even before joining Strong Families. “As soon as her kids returned home, she put them all in therapy, she started therapy, she got tutors for her children – she was advocating on behalf of her children all on her own,” shared Ale. After joining the program, she shared how much of a relief it was to have the follow up with staff. “It’s amazing to have people who believe in me, who I can ask questions to,and to have a space where vulnerability is encouraged has been life changing,” she told Ale.
She is a mother of eight, and she is the chief advocate for each of her children; her instinct is to see their needs and find a solution – she doesn’t wait to be told what to do, she just figures it out, knowing she has a safety net of support in the Strong Families staff team. “It is a joy to go with her to meetings and appointments and say, ‘this is a restored mom, a restored story, and she’s in need of help,’” explained Ale. “We love being able to advocate on her behalf to assure she isn’t shamed due to her children’s past.”
This is both the power and the abounding hope of the Strong Families Program – it allows, when it is the safest option, for children to flourish in their own homes, alongside their biological parents and siblings; it allows mothers and fathers to understand their voice matters and their children need their advocacy for success; it allows a family to grow together, in a unified goal.
Please join us in prayer over the many families within the program – that each parent would harness their voice for positive family change and that every child would come to understand how loved and known they are.