You are truly the "Heart" of Heart to Heart. Without you, there would be no H2H Support Group. It was amazing we met (especially because you NEVER answer your phone!). For whatever reason, you decided to answer my call that day nearly seven years ago. It was really a call from a grieving mom, hanging onto the hope that a broken heart can be repurposed for good.
I treasure your friendship. And ... I am just one of many lives you continue to invest in ... kids, moms, dads, even the occasional grandma. You see possibility where others see limitations. You gather up the broken pieces of people's lives and infuse them with skills and insight and humor, for a healing opportunity.
You help to connect us to each other by example, by reaching into our lives, accepting us as we are, and inviting us to join you. You patiently (and occasionally impatiently) choose to endure the pain that comes from loving flawed people ... kids and adults alike ... even when it's hard ... even when you don't want to.
I humbly and affectionately remind you of what you already know ... to trust the future ... one day at a time. Yes, it is hard, but you and I both know from experience, that I am loved and I can relax and let go of things I can't control .... to use the people, circumstances, and events of our lives to grow good things in each of us (and each of our kids); love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.
I continue to trust that:
• You will become refreshed when you become discouraged and your heart is aching;
• You will be surrounded with faithful friends, who can trust as companions to walk alongside you and with whom you can safely share the burden;
• Your heart and mind will be filled with truth, goodness and grace.
I have love, and appreciation of all that you have done for D and I through Heart to Heart.
You are an amazing woman for believing in what you feel is right and following through by opening your home and sharing your knowledge. You have a will and strength that I so admire, and yet I cannot stay abreast of all that you do.
Even though my son isn 't any easier to live with, because of you, I have an easier outlook of the world. I also know that it takes time to heal emotionally. What a blessing you are.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you do. Your efforts with Heart to Heart and PCC have created opportunities for both families and kids to connect and better understand the issues that we all go through on a regular basis. Before I found Heart to Heart, I had felt very much alone in the world of adoption and more specifically, the issues that can come with adoption.
I had been searching for a support group for a while and had been unable to find anything. It was difficult to feel that there was virtually no one that understood what we were going through as a family, as a mother, and the issues that my son was dealing with.
I was tired of explaining to myself the situations, and was desperate to find someone who understood, only to be met with disbelief, misunderstanding, or acceptance ... but no full connection to the trials and difficulties that can arise when raising a child who to many seemed perfectly normal.
I remember the first time I attended Heart to Heart. I came back excited to share with my husband that I had finally found a place where other people got it; where I could feel comfortable sharing, and listening to all of the crazy things that we go through. I didn't have to explain or defend myself. Better yet, it not only provided community, but information and education on better understanding of our kids, ourselves, and improving our relationship and knowledge on how to better connect and work with our kids. Heart to Heart offered the two elements I really needed at the time in my life: connection and continued learning.
The benefit of your offering your time and wisdom on these issues that are so important to our families is amazing and very much appreciated. I have saved all the resource sheets from the meetings with my notes to revisit and share with others and they have been valued resources.
As I continued to attend Heart to Heart, I looked forward to the meeting each month, one which brought a sense of relief and renewed excitement in continuing to invest in learning about and working with my son. When I was able to join PCC, it was a second opportunity to delve deeper into my own development as a parent and gain additional tools to work with kids that had a myriad of issues. The sense of purpose that PCC provides is immeasurable. I am amazed constantly at the effort, love, and time you give to both the parents and kids. It is a testament to your character and love for children. As we continued to attend PCC, I found another path I had not expected to the degree that it developed a special connection with the kids while my son also received the help and connection that he needed. I found myself looking forward to my days that I was scheduled at PCC, I was excited to watch my relationship unfold with the kids as they began to be more comfortable around me as we got to know each other.
We had a long discussion not too long ago about how it felt amazing to watch your children emulate certain behaviors that are yours, knowing that it fully came from your actions and love as not biological connection created that bond.
All of this would not be possible without you - without your passion and willingness to push onward. While working with you on a regular basis, I watched and recognized the amount that you put into these programs for the parents & kids each day.
Heart to Heart and PCC are testaments to the value you provide to parents and their children. I think that it is always with hope that we do something of value in our lives, something of meaning of real importance where we can make a difference. For many, they spend much of their lives searching for that meaning, but you have it in abundance and it is something that we get to watch happening each day at PCC, at home, and Heart to Heart meetings.
Thank you for your passion, your time, your knowledge, and love for our kids. Most of all - thank you for allowing me to be a part of that.
Although we haven't had many interactions, I know that you have had plenty of interactions with my daughter. I so admire the way you can work with these kids day after day, and still love them and show them your love.
Your heart is full of compassion and empathy, and I strive to have that more in my everyday life. I've watched you go through so many hard things this year and continue to do hard things at home. Thank you for not giving up on these kids.
Thank you for helping us to be a better family.
All my love,
You have given much time, mental, & emotional support to advise to many parents and children ... and you never seem to run out! I appreciate your expertise and love that you have for so many. It has not gone unnoticed. We are all better because of you.
What can I say to the one who has been there for me SO MUCH in the last four years? What can I say about somebody who has been with us in a journey that only another adoptive mom can understand ... REALLY understand at a heart level, PLUS understand from the wisdom and experience? What can I say to a woman who has been so much more than a friend? To say, 'thank you ' seems too simple, and to say you were there for us is a gross understatement. You were instrumental in saving our family, our sanity, and our children from even more heartache. What I learned, felt, and experienced with you, cannot be measured.
It was a friend who said to us, "You 're moving to Sacramento? Then you need to learn who Carla DeRose is."
I thought, "I need to learn another person on this journey?" I was tired of learning to know new people, therapists, respite care providers, friends, therapeutic moms, pastors ... all who were supposed to have answers.
I eventually got a hold of your phone number. I called - no answer. Called again - no answer. Called again - no answer. I left a message, no call back. I told myself, "Oh well. I really don 't care who this DeRose lady was anyway."
I started researching Sacramento resources to support foster and adoptive families. I found Heart to Heart, a support group in Roseville, directed by none other than that Carla DeRose lady again! I thought, "She's an adoptive mom?"
That - was a lot more appealing than some therapist or trained respite care provider who had never actually LIVED with these children. Nobody else really GETS IT like another adoptive mom ... that's the one thing that I knew well. A small seed of longing to meet you was planted.
When we moved to Sacramento, I interviewed prospective attachment therapists, one after another. When we finally found one, I asked her if she knew any respite care providers close to Sacramento, she said, "You need to go to a Heart to Heart support group meeting. There you will meet Shauna Davis from Citrus Heights. I think she will be a good match. She'll be at that meeting."
In the spring of 2010, at Valley Springs Church, a slightly gray-haired woman sat beside me. I assumed that she was another adopted mother. When she introduced herself, she said, "I'm Carla DeRose ..." I was astonished. I didn't know that this DeRose lady directed the support group!
I interrupted (sorry, Carla!) and said, "I've been waiting to meet you for a long time!" We talked about how the parents in the group are there for each other when respite was needed.
That's how I met you, Carla. I have learned to know you over the next few years as our daughter spent more and more time at your place. She has seen many professionals come and go, but none have had the same level of personal interest and commitment that you have. That personal interest and commitment that has meant more than any other therapist, respite care provider, and adoptive mom could give me. You were always committed to communicating and working through all misunderstandings between myself and my daughter.
I am awed to think about much your life has touched ours and our daughters ... then I think that we are just one family, and you have been the same to many more families and children, which makes me in awe even more.
My Beloved Carla;
There is so much that I want to say, so much that I could say ... but how to write it down clearly so that you can hear my heart in these words?
Your presence is our lives has been invaluable & irreplaceable. We love you so much and are thankful for everything that you have taught each of us. It is beyond listing, the number of things you have taught our family. We would not be where we are today without your help and guidance.
Carla, you have taught me to have fun and pick my battles, not to be so locked down to the "perfection" of the program or parenting method we are using. You have taught me that it is about Love and engagement and fun and wooing. You are so good at that, even when you don't feel like it. Even when you might be tired or grumpy or just letting down, you always revert to fun, engagement and love so beautifully. It is not easy for me to do that.
We always love people who love our kids. You have given more to my kids than anyone else on earth. And that is priceless. The love you have offered our family has been a life raft sometimes.
I know this year has been ... frankly ... hellish. There is nothing I can say to you that you don't already know. We all have a lot of faith in you! I am sorry that it is hard, and I am sorry that the cost is sometimes high.
Thank you for all that you do.
Even though we are relative newbies to PCC, we very much appreciate and treasure the knowledge and insight we 've gained from you already. Your experienced perspective, honesty, and humor have truly been a balm to our weary souls this past year. Many, many times, as we 've faced a challenging situation with one of our kids, something we learned from either you or Charlotte helped guide our response ... and the situation was made better as a result!
We know we 've got a long way to go, but the journey is much less daunting knowing we have amazing knowledgeable resources like you available to us.
Thank you for all you do, and for the last impact you have on families such as ours.
Words cannot fully describe the amount of gratitude and respect we have for you. The love and support you have so winningly and fervently given is a testament to your inner strength and character.
The seemingly effortless grace and unconditional love you display for the PCC kids, parents, and volunteers continues to impress and amaze us. Mary Poppins Drill Sergeant falls short of your abilities to reach within us in an amazing and therapeutic language.
We have learned so much from you, even by observing a group therapy session & observing your approach has put so many of the puzzle pieces together. You 've given us a more realistic & rational view of the bigger picture.
On a daily basis, you demonstrate your love with your perseverance, devotion, and commitment to healing broken children.
We love you, respect you, and appreciate you more than words can say, and more than you 'll ever know. We hope we can give you even a fraction of what you 've given to us. Bless you & your family.
Where do I begin? How do I adequately say anything that could even come close to what the feelings in my heart are for you and all you have dome for my both my family and me personally?
I am truly humbled by your giving and loving spirit towards families and children who are struggling. We will be forever grateful for your love and example to our family. You have give us the tools to help our family succeed.
You also saved our family, as we were on the verge of splitting in separate ways. You gave us new hope.
"Don't tell your community how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your community is!" - Unknown
"When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless." - John Gardner
We have been through a lot of stuff, some good and some challenging but you have always been there to help and support us and we couldn 't have done it without you. It is true that I was el wimpo when we started and I regularly got my butt kicked by my little butt kickers. I had no idea how horrible it was until you started teaching me some new parenting skills to handle my kiddos. I 'm so glad I made some progress. Thank you for that.
I do have so many fun memories working with you. I appreciate you and your family for sharing your time and expertise with us. I enjoy working and talking to you each and every day. You have become such an important friend to me and I hope that I am that friend back to you.
Thank you for taking the time to teach me how to be stronger and have better parenting skills to help my kids progress. Thank you for the wonderful meals and having our family spend time with yours during holidays and evenings. We love you and are glad that you and your kids have become part of our family here.
Your generosity and commitment are inspiring. I came to you with nothing, just a broken woman with a couple of broken kids. All the king 's horses and all the king's men couldn't put this group back together again ... by no fault of yours, we just couldn't do it but you sure have tried and given it your all!
You have been the great blessing in my life and I thank you.
You must have some idea of how valuable you are to all these parents of adopted children.
Your remarkable memory, your supportive nature, your wonderful inclusiveness, and of course, your quick wit and humor are sustaining to all who listen.
I am just a Grandma but I can easily see the assistance and hope you give to parents and their children; yes, even to grandmothers.
Thank you, Carla for what you do.
You are loving, nurturing, caring, resilient, and I am glad that I received help from you. Whenever I am feeling sad or angry, you are always there to comfort me, and you know exactly how I feel, which is amazing! You are just an amazing person and I love you. I am so thankful that my mom found you to help take care of me for a while.
You taught me about 'stranger danger.' You are very special to me!
Love, your friend,