When Rob and Shannon first came in for their intake I distinctly remember the strong smell of weed. True, it may have been his painting job producing the memorable scent, but it really could have gone either way. They shared their story of past drug use, children being taken away from them to be in the care of her parents, domestic violence and a great deal of dissonance in their current relationship.
She was quite talkative and tended toward “verbal vomiting”, spewing forth his failures and shortcomings, to which he didn’t say much at all. She was about 9 years older than him and seemed to have the “upper hand” in what was right and wrong in the way they related. In addition she was about 5 months pregnant.
The online relationship assessment revealed a lot of growth edges, especially in communication, conflict resolution, financial management and family/friends. They were conflicted and not very connected; however, both had a high degree of commitment to the relationship and were motivated to make it work. They saw their acquisition of relationship skills as key to getting their children back.
This precious couple completed 5 sessions of Relationship Skills coaching with an impressive degree of diligence and commitment. They were engaged in the program content during the sessions together and did their homework between sessions. It was fulfilling to watch them become healthier and better at communicating positively. They also were talking about seeking spiritual nourishment and praying together as a couple.
As we came to the end of what we had set out to accomplish for their couple relationship, which was now much healthier, they inquired about gaining proficiency in their parenting skills. So they completed an additional 3 sessions in the Parenting for Kid’s Sake program. They learned their interaction styles with the children, began working on the 4 C’s of parenting (Choices, Consequences, Consistency, Compassion) and got a much better sense of how to discipline effectively.
Originally it had appeared that reunification with their 2 children wouldn’t happen until April, 2020. They were quite excited to announce that this date had been moved up considerably and that visitation restrictions were being decreased. Those who were handling the logistics of their case were seeing major improvements. How fulfilling to see such a shift of momentum toward them being a family back together again.
In December Rob and Shannon experienced the joy of bringing another son into the world. The new family addition seems to be working well with the older 2 children despite fears that adjustments may not go well. The couple joined us at an Encompass Christmas Auction Finale and shared their story of how much they had benefited from relationship and parenting coaching. They were full of hope and celebration. How different from the first hour we spent together and we all saw a long uphill climb in front of them!
Rob and Shannon are the heroes in this story. Their motivation to be a complete family again had them investing time and energy into overcoming challenges and stressors that sometimes felt insurmountable. As their relationship and parenting skills coach, I count it a privilege to have been their supporter, intercessor and encourager as they took seriously what they were learning together.
Congratulations and hats off to an unforgettable couple! God truly met them right where they were, brought transformation and rewarded their diligence.
Executive Director, Encompass Connection Center