Journey Breaks Free from Newborn Chemical Dependence

Journey was born addicted to methamphetamine and opioids, and was placed in foster care at only 6 days old. He experienced a variety of health issues stemming from prenatal drug exposure including delayed motor and speech milestones.

Journey and his foster family began working with Family Resources Coordinator Vanessa Hagerty and Occupational Therapist Shaun Wesen when he was 8 months old.

Journey’s mother shared, “I remember when Journey showed no interest in books and I was getting really concerned. Shaun gave us the idea to make photo books of people Journey knew. I loved this idea also because I added photos of his biological family members. Within weeks he was loving books and still does to this day!”

With Shaun’s help and great family participation, Journey caught up on his motor skills and no longer required OT services!

However, the next challenge was that Journey wasn’t using many words and was unable to say what he wanted. He would get so frustrated that he would melt down nearly every day.

He began speech therapy with Alie Lofgren in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. Virtual speech therapy with a not-quite-2-year-old was a challenge for all, but Journey eventually learned the routine and began requesting his favorite games and stories, especially Pete the Cat. But once SPARC was able to offer in-person therapy again, Journey’s language skills took off!

Journey’s mother said: “I love that Alie has created such a special bond with Journey, that when we pass by SPARC he asks about her. That makes my heart happy! She not only has helped him grow in his speech but has also given him a positive loving relationship from a teacher. I hope he carries this with him in his future.”

Journey was officially adopted by his foster parents Allison and Ian Brooks last summer, and now he not only shares their lives, home, and love, but also their last name!

Journey graduated from SPARC’s Birth-to-Three program on his 3rd birthday, and has transitioned to his local school district to begin developmental preschool. His SPARC team will miss working with Journey and his family. He is a curious, bright, and loving little boy and we are so proud of him.

Journey’s parents wanted to share their story with the community, to get the word out about the positive impact that being foster parents has had on their lives, and let other families know that progress is possible!

“Journey has been a part of SPARC since he was baby. We think it is important for others to see success!”