Fostering Hope - Trauma & Resilience


Michelle and her husband Dan became foster parents years ago. They adopted two children who are now adults. In October 2013, they began fostering with Chambliss Center for Children. Since fostering with Chambliss, they have had two placements which both turned into adoptions. They have also provided respite care on numerous occasions.

Children who enter the foster care system have experienced trauma. Some more severe than others. Michelle and Dan foster because they want to help these children who have had significant hurtful experiences developresiliency and hope for their future.

Michelle has a Master’s Degree in Social Work.  She is certified to teach PATH (Parents As Tender Healers), the foster parent training curriculum. Because of her education and experience fostering, we asked her to share her thoughts on trauma and resiliency.  


Children coming into foster care need parents who are willing to learn about how to effectively parent a child who has experienced trauma and loss. Trauma may take many forms, including neglect, abuse, abandonment, violence between caregivers, natural disasters and accidents.

A child who has experienced trauma is always "on alert". Their behaviors are a direct response to this. As a foster parent, we are blessed with the opportunity to not only work with the child, but to also work with the birth families. These families are broken (or maybe cracked). They need our support and encouragement as well. Many of the birth parents have themselves experienced trauma and do not have the skills of how to help their children as they cannot help themselves.

It is important to learn about how "triggers" can affect a child's response to what we might see as a normal event or even just a mild irritant.

As a foster parent, if we are open and willing to change and learn and grow in regards to how we interact with and parent the children in our care, they WILL grow, blossom and become adults who are empathetic and positive contributing adults in our community.

One of the best ways to strengthen and provide a safer community is to take responsibility in the outcomes. Our children are our outcomes.

Click the following link to learn more about Parenting After Trauma:



Children come to us with a tremendous amount of resiliency. They are able to overcome the trauma they have experienced. They can become even stronger for it. For a very realistic depiction of trauma and resiliency, watch the movie, "ReMoved". It demonstrates the many aspects of what a foster child experiences and how they can heal. They show the trauma, triggers, the resilience and hope of a girl, Zoe, and the foster mom.

“ReMoved” Part 1 -

“ReMoved” Part 2 -


If a child has hope, they have resiliency and a future. We as foster parents have the opportunity and privilege of further developing resiliency and hope for a child and their future.

If we as members of our community are not willing to reach out to the children and families in need, our community will not flourish and grow. Our community will become riddled with hopelessness, violence and other poor outcomes. We cannot say, "Someone else will do it". Those "Someone elses" are already doing it and we need help! We need more "Someone elses". We need people to invest in their future.


There are many ways to assist in foster care. Not only being a foster parent, but there is a need for churches and communities to surround and support foster parents. If you would like to learn more about fostering or how you can help, please contact us at 423-693-2580 or email

Taking The Leap!

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Welcome to Chambliss Center for Children’s Foster Care Blog! The purpose of this blog is to express the need for loving foster homes in Chattanooga and the surrounding southeast Tennessee counties, share personal stories from some of our current foster parents, allow readers to hear from youth being fostered through our program, provide information to the community on our transitional living program for youth aging out of the foster care system, and spotlight some of the wonderful staff we have at our agency who make caring for the community’s most at-risk children their top priority.

To kick things off, we asked some of our current foster parents why they decided to take the leap in to fostering. We hope their stories inspire you to foster the future of a child.

I thoroughly enjoy the wonder of youth as they discover the world around them and having launched my own children into their lives some years previously, I found that I really missed watching that spark in their eyes when they finally understand something, watching them grow as they become amazing young people. I have served as a youth and adult pastor for years and have laughed with a large number of young adventurers as they found delight in their lives. I think wanting to watch that close-up again led me to consider fostering. I still have so much love to share and there are so many children in need of reliable adults who can teach valuable life skills in an environment of healthy love.

I have worked on multiple levels with children from daycares, to elementary schools, to children's ministry. All have their rewards and difficulties on different levels. I once overheard a teacher joke one day about the amount of curriculum she was expected to cover throughout a school day, "I guess we will just have to take them home with us!" Although she wasn't serious, it struck a cord with me. "We make great progress, then we send them home and they lose everything we've worked on", commented another teacher. I wasn't thinking in the same academic terms as the teachers I'd overheard, but I was thinking. What if...what if we could take a hurting or broken child home, even for a short amount of time? What if we could do more for a child than just complain about things I couldn't change? What if we could actually focus on ways to help? What if we could show unconditional love to the child that needs it the most? The "what ifs" turned into "let's do"! Our minds and hearts were opened. With equal parts of excitement and uncertainty my family took the leap into fostering and have been forever changed by the incredible experience.

In 2013 our middle son was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma cancer. Although he fought bravely, he was taken from us in February 2015. My husband and I felt like we still had love to give and, our remaining son had handled his brother's death relatively well so we decided to sign up for PATH classes. My husband wasn't quite sure about it but we decided to try it out with the understanding that we could do things on our own time line with no pressure. As we continued the classes, we began to feel more excited about the possibilities and were encouraged by the availability of support in the process. We are currently in our 2nd placement and, while it has challenges, knowing that we could be a small ray in sunshine into lives that may otherwise be pretty bleak keeps us going.