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Your Gifts Paid Forward

Have you ever felt alone? Like you’re having to take on the world all by yourself? This is how Roy and Tina Caton felt in April 2018.

Tina and Roy have three children, Taylor (15), Troy (14), and Tara (12). All three children are adopted and are biological siblings to one another. On April 9, 2018, their daughter Taylor was hospitalized for non-epileptic seizures (PNES). She was in and out of the hospital for weeks as they were trying to figure out what was causing them. Taylor’s experience with PNES included dissociative episodes where she would unconsciously wander off without any knowledge of where she was.

At one of the hospital appointments, Tina was given a list of names to contact to get therapeutic help for Taylor. Some numbers on the list were no longer active, or they didn’t take their insurance. Others would say they couldn’t help someone with PNES or would say “no” because they didn’t have any experience with it. That is, until Tina called Rebecca, one of Thornwell’s Building Families Specialists in Greenville, South Carolina. “Rebecca was so bold. She told me from the beginning she didn’t have experience with PNES but that she was willing to walk with us.” Tina shared that they researched things together and learned about Taylor’s diagnosis. “Thornwell was there for us when literally no one else was.”

Your gifts make it possible for us to be there…when no one else is.

The Caton family began working with Rebecca in July of 2019 and completed the Building Families 15-week program in October. Tina recalled one of the greatest gifts of Building Families was that the specialist came to their house.

One doctor told Tina that taking Taylor to all of these appointments, doctors, and therapists was causing Taylor to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and separation anxiety. Taylor was even disassociating in the car on the way to appointments because of the stress. But as a mother, Tina just wanted to help her daughter. When Rebecca shared with Tina that she would come to their home, Tina felt “this intense comfort and relief that this was going to work.”

Through their time together, Rebecca helped Taylor to identify how and when her body was signaling a seizure event. Rebecca also equipped Taylor with a box of sensory items to help her cope in those moments. Rebecca also introduced Taylor to journaling. “Taylor hated it in the beginning, but now she does it every day.” This is a tool that has continued to help Taylor and her mother, especially in moments when Taylor finds it hard to communicate. She can always draw or write in her journal.

Rebecca also worked with the siblings, Troy and Tara, whose lives were being turned upside down because of Taylor’s medical situation. They were expressing their difficulties in different ways, but Rebecca worked with each of them, one-on-one, to work through their emotions and teach them tools for coping.

The Building Families Program truly impacted the entire family, even Tina and Roy. The fear and unknown of Taylor’s diagnosis was keeping them up at night. “Rebecca would pray with me, cry with me, and learn with me. She was there for all of us.”

The family has since discovered that Taylor’s PNES is due to pressure on the brain caused by a growth hormone. Even though the Catons were finished with the program, Tina reached out to our Building Families staff to let them know the progress of Taylor’s situation because she knew they were in this together. “If it can help Building Families serve another family like ours even better, it will be the cherry on top.”

This isn’t where the Caton family’s story ends. This summer, Tina reached out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Bowers. Troy is part of the Young Marines program and has to log a certain amount of service hours. When they began thinking about the possibilities of service, Thornwell came to mind, and they recognized there was no better mission to serve. Now, through his work with the youth program at the Greenville Woodworkers Guild, Troy is making a set of cornhole boards for each of our cottages in the residential program in Clinton, South Carolina.

At a time when the Catons didn’t know what to do, when no one was interested or seemed capable of helping them, when there wasn’t a space that understood the intricacies of adoptive children, Thornwell was there. “I give all the glory to the Lord for answering our prayers and leading us to Thornwell. I pray regularly for Thornwell to continue to be an instrument for His Kingdom.”

Thank you for believing in a mission that is changing lives and paying it forward. Because you care, families are healing and giving back. Thank you!

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