At six years old, Ben had experienced a life that no child should ever have had to endure. Ben was born into a world of violence and abuse, where he remained there for his first three years of life. Ben and his siblings witnessed extreme levels of abuse from those who should have been taking care of them. They had been deprived of the love, safety and security that every child deserves.
Ben came through the doors of Dandelion Time this year with his adoptive mother Sally, as a detached, withdrawn little boy who found it impossible to trust and connect with anyone or anything. Ben struggled emotionally and physically, he recoiled from touch and refused eye contact. Sally expressed that he only displayed emotion when entering the world of virtual reality of computer games.
Sally and Ben came to us and began to build a connection that was so evidently absent in Ben’s life previously. Guided by our therapists, Sally and Ben spent a lot of time with our baby guinea pigs. Sally demonstrated to Ben how important it was to make them feel safe and secure. Ben began to hold the tiny, soft babies in his arms and feeling them snuggle into him for warmth and security whilst he fed them dandelion leaves. Through this we saw Ben begin to develop a sense of empathy and a strong urge to take care of and nurture these new lives we had. He worked with Sally each week on their new hutch, ensuring they had a “comfy, cosy nest” to sleep in and stay warm.
During their time here, Ben and Sally gradually worked to bring down the barriers that Ben had installed to protect himself. After a few weeks Sally told us that for the first time since having Ben come to live with her, she had finally “felt hope” for their relationships and Ben’s future. When Sally and Ben’s time with us came to an end, Ben had taken some huge steps forward, he was more engaged at home and school, and began to trust the people around him. His relationship with Sally has gone from strength to strength and Sally recently wrote to us to say that Ben “now gives me hugs for the first time in his life”.
This is a composite case that is indicative of our work, names and images have been changed.