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Tiana, strengthened, achieves goals and plans for success

August 2, 2013
Tiana (right) with her mother, Tina, and father, David.

Tiana (right) with her mother, Tina, and father, David.

Tiana’s parents hoped for the best, but they didn’t know what to expect.

Tiana was returning home from a residential facility, and they weren’t sure how her behavior would be. Before, it was bad.

“I’d say very bad,” Tiana, 17, said.

She was physically and verbally aggressive, wasn’t doing well in school and had thoughts of hurting herself.

Tiana’s parents had adopted her at 8 years old after being foster parents for three years. Tina, Tiana’s mother, said she didn’t know what was going on with her daughter.

“She internalized everything,” Tina said. “And she was so aggressive and angry at everything.”

But something happened at the residential facility. Tiana called it her epiphany.

“I had a friend at the place I was staying, and I helped her when she wasn’t doing well. And she always talked about how she wished she had this and wished she had that, and she deserved them,” Tiana said. “And I realized, I had all of those things, and I was taking them for granted.”

A good home, loving family and support system every child needs to succeed. At that moment, Tiana resolved to change.

Youth Villages Family Intervention Specialist Georgia Dugger worked with Tiana and her family for a few months.

“Tiana had a perfect situation for success,” Georgia said. “She couldn’t ask for better support and a foundation to build and develop herself.”

They worked on anger management and coping skills and managing frustrating situations. That included crocheting, reading, playing games and creative writing.

“Tiana is the one who did this,” David, her father, said. “We got a different child back.”

Tiana graduated from a small local school and plans to attend a local college for her first year or so. She will also be attending a youth leadership summit this summer. And while the family and Youth Villages certainly made a difference in Tiana’s situation, Tiana made the significant step of deciding on her own to change.

“We’re very encouraged,” Tina said. “Most children don’t go through all of this and come out the other side with a desire to keep getting better.”

Tiana’s very strong-willed and independent. Tina said Tiana learned how to take her personal strength and put it in a positive direction. Tiana’s earned her parents’ trust again. She’s changed her eating habits and has lost almost all of the weight she’d gained while she was in residential care. She doesn’t have specific plans for the future, other than going to college and continuing to improve.

“You can’t just stop getting better,” she said.

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