The Family Attachment Center

Testimonials to The Family Attachment Center

My name is Diane Valdez. My husband and I are raising our three year old grandson,
Adrian. We have had him since he was 5 months old. We have legal custody of him and we
love him very much. He was extremely ill and neglected when he came to us. Adrian was
very frail and small for his age. He couldn't eat or drink more than an ounce at a time
because he had acid reflux. He would vomit constantly. His clothing had to be changed at
least 6 times a day. He slept for only an hour at a time, day or night.

Adrian seemed like a lost soul and my heart went out to him. He didn't smile a lot and
usually had a distant look in his eyes. He drooled constantly and had to wear a bib so that his
shirt would not be drenched. He wasn't able to sit up until he was 11 months old and walked
at 16 months. My grandson also had some anger issues. Even as a three year old he would
sometimes have the cry of an infant.

I met John Trentalange, Executive Director of the Family Attachment Center, by pure luck.
Really it was God's plan. John came to me before I ever knew that I needed him. After I
knew John for about 4 years, all of a sudden I had an infant grandson to raise. John offered
his expertise, his wisdom, knowledge, and compassion. John has worked wonders with
Adrian. Some of the sessions were quite emotional and exhausting, but I had faith in John.

Adrian is the same boy and yet a different boy in so many ways. He is a happy boy, he smiles
and he likes to cuddle. He is affectionate and he opens up a lot now. He no longer drools. It
use to be a constant battle to feed him, dress him or bathe him, but not any more. I know
that the change in his behavior and attitude will help him get through life and the everyday
challenges that he will face at home, school, and with friends, family and peers.

I have learned a lot from a little boy and his therapist. I will be forever grateful to John
Trentalange and the Family Attachment Center. John said something to me one day that
reminded me of this quote:

If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

Sincerely, Diane Valdez

Stacy was molested; someone we believed to be a friend of the family molested her. The first
initial signs were the reoccurring bladder infections, then the bed-wetting, regular now, not
because of being over tired or sick. Over time, little things became more apparent; her pride
in the way she dressed changed, she was less affectionate and less talkative. Her constant
singing seemed to have tapered way off. Thinking back, she didn't seem as 'happy' as she
used to be. She started to 'act out' inappropriate sexual behavior with other children. I
noticed a major decline in her personal hygiene and care for her hair, in addition to her lack
of attention to dressing "prettily," a habit she'd always maintained before, were major
factors. Negativity began to creep in and presented it through not only the change in how
she dressed but also how she felt about herself and others. Her self-esteem was affected -
,she didn't stick up for herself or think twice about being treated poorly by another child.
What ambition she had, seemed to have disappeared. She became whiny, difficult to please
and, while on the one hand seemingly obsessed with being overweight, her eating became
almost obsessive. Her schoolwork and grades were compromised.

During counseling, Stacy learned most importantly that she was NOT to blame for the
incident and the false guilt she felt was something she needed to cast off. She learned she
had not lost her talents, worth or rights to be treated appropriately. She learned how to act
in ways to defend and protect herself for any and all, who would 'abuse' her and most
importantly 'not' to accept such treatment, that is NOT ok. (FYI, as her mother, to aide,
encourage and strengthen her self worth, I enrolled her in Karate. To date, she has passed
her first test and has achieved her orange belt. She has also been accepted in the 'Children's
Chorale', two positive esteem boosting milestones for her! With diet, exercise and
encouragement she has lost 15 pounds of excess weight from the over-eating.

Stacy, coming out of counseling, has a much better opinion of herself. I'm increasingly
aware of her dressing nicely, paying attention to her hygiene and her hair. She wets the bed
less frequently, but still does on occasion. She is happier, and more affectionate again. She
sings too, but still not like she did yet. Her grades and schoolwork have improved
tremendously. She looks for ways to be creative. Since none of us succeeds all the time, she
is learning to handle disappointment very well and it isn't dampening her efforts. She
discusses inventive ideas on how to make money with me. She expresses her ambition by
thinking up ways and things to do to make money and looks forward to becoming old enough
to babysit. She talks about her plans for the future, how many children she wants to have
and how she'll correct them and teach them right from wrong.

I still grieve at times for her lost innocence at such a young age. We've had the birds and
bees conversation a few years earlier than I would have liked, just so 'things' would be more
connected in her mind and she'd see that all things 'sexual' are not bad. I've definitely
become more protective, but not in an obsessive manner. We are still working on those
things internal that will effect and be reflected by her. I keep a closer eye on her attitudes
and moods and discuss them with her. Negative comments escape her lips occasionally, but
we look for ways to replace them with positive ideas instead. Encouragement, and praise
along with effort and positive direction from family, school and community will replace those
negative moments with successful, meaningful achievements she will treasure and hold on
to, that will in turn cause her to become a more compassionate friend, neighbor, sister,
daughter...a more generous, loving, stronger, supportive and giving individual.

This is the story about David. He enjoyed getting into things and being destructive. He would
dump out cleaning supplies, medicines, detergents,whatever was not literally under lock and
key. He could not be trusted alone, ever, for fear he would make a mess and possibly even
ingesting something harmful. He would destroy his toys and possessions, furniture,
whatever he could get his hands on - very little meant anything to him, his own or others. At
one point, we put a lock on his door so he couldn't get out, just to control the damage. We
never had a moment's peace. He would have bowel movements in odd places, like the closet
or in the laundry room, or put them into places they didn't belong, like toy boxes or
containers. One time he even painted the walls in his room with feces. He would also urinate
in bottles, toy containers, and odd places. Once, when his sister went to spend summer with
her dad, he set fire to the carpet in his bedroom. As he got older, he was very angry, hostile,
mouthy, disrespectful, argumentative, disobedient, disagreeable, fighting with everyone
about everything and still destructive. He destroyed two bedroom sets and two living room
sets. He failed even the easiest subjects in school, always disrupting classes with his acting
out. At one point the school wanted him tested to see if he was retarded or a "special ed"
case. He would steal anything and everything, money, food, toys, clothes...we tried putting a
house lock on our bedroom door to keep things safe, that didn't work either, one inattentive
moment and he stole the keys to the room. He lied constantly and nothing he said could
ever be believed. NEVER was a conversation good with him.

During counseling, with approved forms of discipline to correct 'negative/wrong' behavior,
David gradually made the effort to earn back trust (mainly to quit lying and stealing. There
were still 'some' issues but on a much reduced scale). He worked to improve 'some' of his
classes' grades; still, improvement was needed in many areas. He learned to control his
temper better, it yoyo-ed back and forth at times, as did the disrespect, disobedience and
mouthiness. He learned to talk, to share his feelings and listen to others' feelings.

David's counseling experience with Dr. John, as we call him, is, for the most part over, but
his ideals and lessons live on through David's new lease on life. A freshman in high school
this year, David is for the first time interested in and participating in a "team" sport - cross
country. He is also in JR ROTC, looks real sharp in that uniform! Now if things aren't done,
it's because a lot is going on or an accidental "slip" from memory not intentional or with the
intent to deceive or cover up the truth. We've tested him by leaving money out (accidentally
and on purpose) to "see" what would happen to it, and it "stayed" where it was or he
brought it to us. "Found this on the table, Mom, or in the kitchen, did you leave it there?"
He comes home on time. He negotiates to make arrangements if other things interfere with
his chores, that way he can do both, an unheard-of practice in the past. He has recently put
in for a job for 'after school' knowing school (grades) and track obligations come first.
Talking with him has become a pleasure. For the first time in his life he has told me he has
goals for his future.

The impact? Finally, the blessing, pride and joy a parent"should" feel toward their child,
rather than one of dread. A bright, ambitious young man who has become a hard worker,
understanding the need to gain back the trust he lost and willing to go that extra mile to
prove the trust given now is NOT in vain. Humorous, fun loving, whether working together
or just talking I am amazed at the change...welcome to humanity. Humanity, I give you

In the last months that my son and I have been going to counseling I have learned to
understand my son and my relationship with my son better. I have learned to have more
patience with my son and to know what are his real necessities. I never imagined how
important the little things are. John Trentalange has taught me that "so called" little things
in a parent's eyes are actually extremely important in the child's world and can have the
potential of doing serious and long term damage to the child. A little thing can mess up a
child. I know that we still have to go to therapy for now until time reveals more positive

Thanks to the Family Attachment Center!!

Magaly Sudduth
Name Withheld