This is the best placement I’ve ever been at. After so many years of being bounced around from placement to placement, not knowing how long I would be there and worrying about what I would do that would make them want me to leave… I wish all kids who need a place to be could come to ACH. I recommend it. 10/10. – Serena
I was kinda scared when I first met the horses, Buddy and Little Bit.
It’s risky to love, to care, to open your heart.
I’ve been around horses before, but not these horses, and I didn’t know what to expect.
Each child comes to Amarillo Children’s Home with his or her own backstory, own open emotional wounds, own learned responses and own challenges.
We had to be careful and gentle. Horses have to feel safe, or they’ll just leave. We had to be respectful to the horses – to listen to what they were telling us with their behavior. And we had to be open and not closed off to them so they could build a bond with us.
We risk rejection, we risk the strain of dealing with severe behaviors born of trauma, we risk the grief of loving kids who choose hard paths and working towards healing with those who will return to hurtful situations. It’s hard. Pray for our people. In spite of the risk, we must remain vulnerable to effectively do the work we’ve been called to. We risk love every single day to fulfill the mission.
Horses want to build a bond, but sometimes they’ve been hurt. Buddy had been through lots of owners, so he’s nervous to trust new people. He wants to care and to be a companion, he’s just scared. If I had been aggressive and tried to force him to like me, I would have frightened him away. I had to give him time and not push too hard. I had to be patient and respectful.
There’s no quick fix, no 3-step program to bonding and restoration. We, too, must be patient and respectful – we push for growth, but read our kids carefully lest they retreat and regress.
Before I could ride him, I brushed him and talked to him to reassure him. I layed my head on his side and breathed with him so he could learn I could be trusted. It was amazing.
Not only do we risk, but we teach our kids to do the same. Risk-taking is vital to growth, to becoming a resilient human. It demands courage to leave a comfort zone, and it requires hope that the end result will be worth it. We provide opportunities for appropriate risk, and we cheer our kids on to pursue that which will lead them to a full and joy-filled life.
When I first came to Amarillo Children’s Home, I was not patient or respectful. Now, I think patience and respect are some of the most important skills in life. Impatience just brings frustration and anger. Patience can help you get through every- thing. Waiting in line for your favorite ice cream? Patience. Even a conversation is patience – listening to understand. That’s respect, too. Respect helps you form relationships with others and treat others the way you want to be treated. I’ve learned all that here. I hope this place is around for another 100 years. I’m so thankful for ACH. This is the place I needed to be in order to become the person I’m supposed to become.