Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Guests from Miracle Meadows
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR000099A
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to addictive behavior.
00:05 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:10 Welcome to "Celebrating Life in Recovery."
00:12 I'm Cheri your host and today I'm gonna introduce you
00:15 to a whole group of folks from
00:16 Miracle Meadows School and I love them.
00:18 It's the best program ever. So come join us in the cafe.
00:50 Hello, you know, today my guests are from Miracle Meadows
00:54 and it's one of my favorite places to go.
00:57 I go sometimes and do week of prayer or just,
00:59 you know, hangout with the kids there.
01:02 And this is a alternative school that looks at at-risk issues.
01:08 You know, anger, drugs,
01:11 rebellion all that kind of stuff.
01:12 And I could so relate to these kids. It's amazing.
01:15 You're gonna meet a lot of them.
01:16 Before we go there, I'd like to say,
01:19 Gayle, thank you for coming on the program.
01:20 Thank you for inviting us.
01:22 Gayle, you are the founder of Miracle Meadows
01:25 and you guys have been running for,
01:26 I think you said, 25 years.
01:29 Next year. Okay.
01:30 And I'm a co-founder. My husband I founded it together.
01:32 Okay, awesome.
01:34 And so I want to know, I'm looking at you
01:36 and you look just so sweet.
01:39 And, you know, we're not easy kids.
01:40 You know, I--you know, we're just not easy.
01:43 We're angry. We're rebellion.
01:45 We're doing all that kind of stuff.
01:46 Whatever led you to working with our rescues?
01:50 Well, actually there's some truth.
01:53 I never thought to rebel against my mother.
01:55 I was an oldest child of a single mother
01:58 and my husband same way,
02:00 we just never thought to do the rebellious things.
02:02 We couldn't make sense of it even.
02:04 Why would anyone do this to themselves?
02:05 So you just did the right thing.
02:08 Most of the time-- to be honest with you
02:10 if you want to know my-- I was--
02:12 my birth father tried to rape me at three
02:14 and that started a whole series of thing.
02:15 My mother left him. So I had my own damage.
02:18 I came from a family that was very angry.
02:22 My mother's had-- there were six children there.
02:26 All of them died of alcohol related except her.
02:29 She didn't touch anything.
02:31 There was adultery, incest,
02:34 the whole nine yards in the family.
02:35 So you even had like all of this
02:37 generational stuff just following you.
02:38 Yes, that's right. But my mother stopped it.
02:41 She was like the lily
02:43 in a cesspool kind of like thing. Right.
02:46 And probably several things were really important in my life,
02:50 my mother first off and then coming to know Jesus Christ
02:56 and becoming a Seventh-day Adventist
02:57 really was a big deal for me.
02:59 It changed the direction of my life.
03:01 But even before that,
03:03 as a young person growing up in poverty
03:05 we didn't have an indoor toilet until I was in college
03:09 and we didn't have car until I was in college.
03:11 Wow, so a lot of people don't know
03:14 what it feels like to when you say in poverty.
03:17 We don't think of--you know, we think poverty is,
03:21 you know, we may not pay our bill this month
03:24 but you're talking about no toilets, all those things.
03:26 Yeah, I'm talking also about
03:28 getting to where we didn't have food
03:31 at the end of the months.
03:33 And we didn't have a lunch program at that time
03:35 in the school so my mother wouldn't send me
03:37 to school without--send us to school without lunch.
03:39 So we didn't go to school sometimes.
03:40 So it was a poverty time for sure.
03:46 And, you know, basically when I looked
03:50 at group of little kids one of the things
03:53 that I really was attracted to were kids
03:56 who were the dirty, kind of rejected, sort of kids.
04:01 Is in a sense you knew what they were feeling.
04:03 Yeah, I have some identity with them. Right.
04:07 But I was very goal oriented because I knew my education
04:10 was what it was gonna take to get me out of where I was at
04:14 and also mission-minded.
04:15 And I chose to become a nurse.
04:17 But I always knew that I would adopt kids
04:19 or that I would work with kids
04:20 because that was really, really important to me.
04:23 And when I married my husband,
04:27 it's kind of funny because he-- I wanted to adopt our kids
04:31 and he wanted to have birth kids.
04:32 So we turned out to have
04:34 three adopted and three birth kids.
04:36 But yeah, we got into this
04:41 by just doing foster care on the side, kind of,
04:46 we call it our hobby. Yeah.
04:47 Because I was nurse educator and he was a pastor,
04:51 fulltime, for the conference.
04:53 And we--our county was desperate for homes for foster children.
04:57 So we had this big farm and we decided to take in--
05:01 and our first ones were extremely damaged, very damaged.
05:06 And then-- And that's a lot.
05:07 You know, to me--to me what's interesting is a lot of work.
05:10 It's a lot of--you have to be consistent.
05:13 You have to, you know, really,
05:15 you know, you have to pay attention to what I'm doing
05:17 because if you don't, I'm gonna end up
05:19 getting myself in trouble.
05:21 And so we're not kids that you can
05:22 just kind of here's a crayon and here's a coloring book.
05:25 Is that we need a lot more structure.
05:27 And so you guys were willing to do that.
05:29 I just want to kiss you on the face for that.
05:31 How good are you.
05:32 Well, we were doing what we liked to do, though.
05:34 That's like kissing somebody on the face for knitting
05:36 because they like to do that.
05:37 But, you know, that I think is amazing to me that you liked it.
05:40 So what was the pay-off for you? Changed lives.
05:44 Okay, so then when you got to see
05:45 that it actually made a difference,
05:47 that it was enough of a pay-off.
05:49 Yeah, and or even just giving a kid
05:51 a chance even if they don't choose.
05:53 You're sad when a child doesn't choose to change
05:55 because it's all about their choice in the end. Yeah.
05:57 I can't force anyone to change their life.
06:00 And you're sad about that
06:01 but there's a satisfaction you gave them an opportunity
06:04 they may not have had before.
06:06 And that-- that's important because
06:08 I can tell you it's never the money.
06:10 It always cost us dearly to do that.
06:12 So we were have-- when we started this
06:15 we actually took our first troubled youth in Loma Linda
06:18 when we were there doing graduate work.
06:20 And she happened to be my younger sister,
06:22 10 years younger, who is in really serious trouble.
06:25 And we went to training natural and logical consequences
06:31 every week, parenting, because Bill and I did not--
06:34 we just never occurred to us to disobey
06:37 because we were older kids and just responsible--
06:39 I can't imagine that. I know.
06:41 Because, you know, so I'm like a middle child,
06:44 right, in a dysfunctional home.
06:45 So not only am I gonna disobey,
06:48 if it doesn't make sense I'm gonna be loud about it.
06:50 That's not fair. That doesn't make sense.
06:52 I'm not doing it.
06:54 And so I'm gonna be the one that's running away.
06:56 I'll be the one that sounds like they're always louder
06:58 because I really voice my opinion.
07:01 But I love the kid.
07:03 They're just smiles and they know everything's wrong
07:06 but they're gonna do the right thing anyway.
07:08 I wasn't--I wasn't always quiet about it.
07:13 And, you know, I even expressed to my mother
07:16 that I didn't feel she was being strict enough
07:18 with my younger sister,
07:19 you know, as a teenager growing up,
07:21 a young girl growing up and then as a college student.
07:23 But we took training and that really set
07:27 the foundation for knowing kind of how to handle behavior
07:31 in what they call natural and logical consequences,
07:34 you know, how to make it better.
07:35 Explain that to us because I think even a lot of parents
07:39 now-a-days really need to know what that means,
07:42 natural and logical consequences. Yeah.
07:44 It's not punishment and it's basically linking
07:50 the consequence to the offence.
07:53 For instance, if you do a sloppy
07:58 job of doing dishes then you say "well, you must need practice.
08:02 So I think I'll have you do dishes for the next 2 weeks
08:06 or until you're gonna do them 5 times right."
08:08 And once you've done them three times or five times
08:10 right then I'll know that you know how to do it.
08:12 You're on your way, okay.
08:13 You don't have to do dishes anymore.
08:14 It's linking the consequence to the natural cause.
08:18 Now sometimes you can't let the natural cause happen.
08:23 Your child runs into the street without a ball,
08:26 you know, chase the ball.
08:27 You're not gonna let the kid get hit by a car
08:29 because that's what naturally happens.
08:30 So you have to build in something
08:33 that is more of a logical, natural and logical consequences
08:36 is what they-- a logical consequence would be,
08:39 you're struggling to play safely with your ball
08:41 so the ball will stay back here for a while until you figure out
08:44 how you're gonna play safely with it,
08:46 you know, or something like that.
08:47 So you ended up going to school, learning those kind of things,
08:50 starting the foster care
08:53 and then open it up a kind of a high school.
08:57 Well, our-- we were doing foster care
09:00 and treatment foster care and our Conference President,
09:03 Herb Broeckel and our Educational Superintendent,
09:05 Larry Carter saw the change in the kids,
09:09 the state kids in our lives
09:11 and their lives in our home.
09:13 And, you know, we even could recognize that.
09:16 They would be climbing the walls literally
09:18 and totally out of control
09:19 and then they would just be transformed kids after,
09:21 you know, it didn't happen overnight, of course.
09:23 And they came to us in '87
09:26 and said would you consider doing this for the church.
09:28 And I want to say to-- because you know
09:30 this but a lot of our viewers don't know this.
09:32 But some of the transformation on the kids,
09:34 these are some incredibly talented, gifted children
09:39 or individuals and so when you see that change
09:42 and when somebody gets to wake up
09:43 to their own value it is incredible to watch.
09:46 It's exciting to watch.
09:49 And I think that if you haven't been around
09:52 at-risk folks and seen that
09:54 you might look at their problems more than their giftings.
09:57 Well, we've often said through the years
09:59 when Bill and I work with the kids,
10:01 almost all of our kids are gifted in leadership
10:03 and if they're not leading for good
10:04 they're gonna make a difference for the wrong.
10:06 So you just have to get them started.
10:08 And I so understand that one. Yeah.
10:10 There is nobody that's junk in our school.
10:13 They're very talented.
10:14 And I think that's also the excitement
10:18 is to if they can get their lives turned around
10:20 then they're going to really
10:22 make a difference in the world. Exactly.
10:23 And we want them to make a difference positively. Yeah.
10:27 So we prayed about it for a month
10:28 and then we decided that we would do the school.
10:31 And it was not something that
10:32 Bill and I'd ever thought we would do.
10:34 It was not in our plans.
10:36 So--but now that you had it running,
10:39 what kind of programs did you set up
10:42 and why did you set up those programs?
10:43 Because you have a very successful school.
10:47 When we started out 25 years ago
10:49 we're really right now-- the board asked me to come back.
10:53 I had been retired for a while, about 6 years
10:54 and asked me to come back as an interim director.
10:57 And one of the task was to bring our school
11:00 up-to-date with new research
11:02 and the stuff that we've been learning
11:05 that's a better approach in some ways
11:07 but also to look at our population more carefully
11:10 in terms of a group of related behaviors that are linked to
11:17 neglect and abuse in the first from conception
11:20 to the 3rd or 4th year of their life.
11:22 Because why does that change somebody?
11:24 You're talking about the importance
11:26 of the first few years. Yes.
11:28 Medically this is termed reactive attachment disorder.
11:32 And we have--when a child-- when a parent calls me
11:35 and they have a five, six, seven-year-old child
11:37 that needs to be-- or eight, nine, or ten-year-old child
11:40 that needs to be at our school,
11:41 first thing we ask them is if they're adopted.
11:44 Most times we'll get a yes.
11:46 And then we ask them-- excuse me--
11:49 what was happening in the first three years of their life?
11:52 Excuse me just a second.
11:57 And if we determine that there was neglect by the--
12:00 the adoptive parents report neglect or abuse
12:05 then we can be pretty certain that what basically happens,
12:09 a reactive attachment disorder is a medical diagnosis.
12:13 But we've tended to label these kids at our school called VELD,
12:18 Very Early Learning Deficiency. Right.
12:21 We're not talking about learning disorder.
12:23 We're talking about a deficiency that means it can be just like
12:26 if I'm deficient in multiplication tables,
12:29 I can go back, re-address that and learn them. Right.
12:32 And in our experience kids can go back
12:34 and re-address those and learn them.
12:36 And not only that, the world experts also see that.
12:40 What's really-- what was said for years
12:44 is a lot of people felt like you couldn't. Oh, yes.
12:46 And so when--even when I first went back to school
12:49 because I'm one of those kids, I went back to school
12:51 and I'm looking at attachment disorders
12:53 and bonding disorders and all of what
12:55 I read was pretty dark, pretty discouraging.
12:59 And I remember God telling me is "don't read this
13:02 because I am bigger than these issues." That's right.
13:04 And so now what the studies are showing
13:07 is there's definitely a deficit.
13:08 You have to learn this, but you can.
13:11 And you can be successful in the learning.
13:12 So I love your program for that reason.
13:14 Well, we are really right now, Cheri, in a process
13:18 right as we speak today, this very day
13:21 our staff is embarking upon an intense month of training
13:25 because the approach needs to be
13:27 a little bit more directed towards some of those things.
13:30 For instance, we've often had a group of staff
13:33 that manage the dorms, okay.
13:35 Right. So we hire dorm staff.
13:38 And they would be with--
13:39 just kind of help manage the group, right.
13:42 Now we understand that there needs to be a coach.
13:45 And the students need to have their own coach.
13:48 And the coach is going to work on--
13:53 and they say the first task of an infant is trust.
13:56 And I think all these tasks get really blended together
13:59 so you can't just go I learn that
14:01 when I go to the next one. Right.
14:02 But love belonging, the trust issue to know
14:09 that you are valued, that holding that baby
14:12 and looking into that baby's eyes consistently
14:14 through the hours and the day, up at night when you're having
14:18 to feed them and they are crying and walking with them,
14:21 that infant cries because they're either frightened
14:25 or hungry or cold and wet.
14:27 And someone gets up and meets their need right now.
14:30 And if you have a parent, a mother figure
14:32 this--the critical person that does the teaching of those
14:36 learning tasks is a capable, consistent, caring,
14:42 and strong protective mother figure.
14:44 And the mother may never lay a hand on the baby.
14:47 She may never abuse that baby
14:49 but let's say she's in a domestic violent situation.
14:52 She's terrified and the baby is getting cigarette burns
14:56 on them or smacked around or the mother is afraid
14:59 to go to the baby because the abusive spouse
15:02 says don't go in there.
15:04 Let that baby cry or I don't want you--you know,
15:06 whatever and so the baby doesn't get care.
15:09 The babies appear to have a mother rage.
15:11 They tend to be really angry at mothers,
15:15 especially at any mother who would step in
15:17 and try to be the mother.
15:19 And so we have babies--students come in who cannot--
15:25 they may be okay with the dad
15:26 but they have a hard time with their mother.
15:28 So they have to re-learn that.
15:30 They have to go back and to do that it takes a strong person
15:33 who's gonna provide the consistent mothering
15:37 and facilitate the attachment and the learn of trust.
15:41 These kids are very into being in control.
15:44 They will dismantle the whole world and be in control.
15:48 And they do go to unbelievable extremes.
15:51 There is a YouTube video that describes
15:54 this called a "Child Rage."
15:56 And if anybody wants to go and read that
15:59 or look at that it describes this kind of kid.
16:02 And we have always had them.
16:04 We just didn't know what they were.
16:05 What's really, you know, talking for an advocate
16:09 for the child or for the kid that learns that is that
16:13 it feels like the only way that they could actually survive
16:16 and they're having to be in control
16:19 and nobody's gonna really take care of my needs
16:21 so I'll take care of them.
16:22 And so it's really being able to bring that child around
16:25 to where they can relax
16:26 and give that authority back to the parent.
16:31 Yeah. What I tell a parent is your child can learn more trust,
16:37 give up control, feel that he or she belongs,
16:42 then a spastic cerebral palsy child
16:45 in a wheelchair can get up and walk. I love that.
16:47 This child is doing what makes sense to it from its infancy
16:51 when no one was there for that child. Right.
16:53 Or was not there consistently and left them confused
16:57 and bewildered and unable to really give themselves
17:00 to trusting and being able to relax in the world
17:03 and enjoy and laugh and know that all was safe
17:06 and all was well because mom and daddy or even just one momma
17:08 has got my back and I am safe.
17:11 Well, of course, they're gonna grow into this kind.
17:13 This makes total sense.
17:15 And now our staff is having to re--they're having to learn
17:18 to look at this differently and how to handle this.
17:20 Now the stuff that we do for kids like this
17:23 is just good healthy parenting though it is not
17:26 normal parenting necessarily for a person.
17:28 They just say okay, well, this is how you do it.
17:31 When a child comes in that's normally attached
17:34 it's a little bit different story in terms--
17:36 it's just--you don't necessarily have to focus
17:38 on some of those things.
17:39 But it doesn't hurt those kids because
17:41 we're talking about consistency.
17:43 We're talking about loving and valuing.
17:46 We're talking about being there for them,
17:49 being the person, showing them that
17:51 the person can discipline you and still love you
17:53 and that is a shame-- taking away
17:55 the shame base and all that stuff.
17:57 Every kid can use that.
17:59 But especially we are having to become better
18:02 at that for the sake of the large number
18:05 of these VELD kids, these very early learning
18:07 deficiency kids that we have on our campus.
18:09 Even I would like to look at-- we're gonna break
18:14 because I want to meet some of the kids because
18:16 I just adore them and the struggles
18:18 that I think some of these guys have from really early on,
18:23 you know, is amazing to me.
18:25 So I want to meet some of the kids but I want to say,
18:27 you know, for you and just for your opinion for somebody
18:32 that is not a good parent or hadn't had parenting themselves,
18:38 I know that you would suggest that they learn because
18:41 this is a critical time, that it's important
18:43 that you--whatever it takes,
18:45 stand up and really fight for this child.
18:48 And there are some excellent
18:49 how-to manuals out there for parents.
18:52 And they're almost always adoptive parents
18:54 because they've been-- the children have been taking
18:56 either out of orphanages r they've been taken away
18:59 because they're drug addicts or whatever.
19:02 We have a couple of VELD kids that come
19:05 that have a birth parent involved.
19:08 But yeah, there's some excellent resources.
19:11 They're coming out now.
19:12 Even though it's a very, very rarely diagnosed disease--
19:16 amazing--not disease, diagnosed.
19:17 They don't look at it as a condition, then diagnose it.
19:19 They get it all mixed up with bipolar
19:23 or oppositional defiant disorder.
19:24 Yeah, it's--it is related to what happens
19:27 in those first years of life and if you can identify neglect,
19:31 just nobody has to abuse the child,
19:33 just neglect or abuse in those first three years of life
19:38 and they--the diagnostic book goes up to five
19:41 but usually--because it's when the neurons are laid down,
19:44 the actual brain neurons are laid down for trust in all,
19:47 empathy and a conscious and right and wrong
19:49 and remorse--they often don't have any remorse.
19:52 No--no--they don't care about what they do to people
19:55 and often called as you mentioned
19:58 to me childhood sociopaths.
20:00 No, no, I guess that was someone else that said that.
20:02 That's what they are and it is true.
20:04 The first books written out said there was no help for them.
20:07 They were beyond help.
20:08 But we know now that they aren't.
20:11 And praise God, God has brought these kids to us
20:15 and we are--our staff is really committed
20:18 to seeing them through.
20:21 You--you--it took you years and lots of missteps.
20:25 We are hoping to shorten that time
20:27 so that they can get on and live that abundant life
20:29 that you have in a quicker time.
20:32 We're gonna go ahead and break in
20:33 and meet with some of the kids.
20:35 I love them and I want to say, you know,
20:38 I love how Gayle talked about that.
20:41 All the research now says that, you know,
20:43 these are deficits, learning deficits early on
20:45 that can be re-learned and that people can step out of those.
20:48 God told me that almost immediately
20:50 when I first fell in love with God and was doing some changes.
20:53 He said "just surrender all this to Me.
20:55 I am actually going to be your parent."
20:58 And so like any recovery program the first thing
21:01 is to acknowledge that you have some huge issues.
21:04 And sometimes society acknowledges
21:05 that for you but then surrender to God and learn.
21:08 And so when we come back I'm gonna
21:10 introduce you some of the kids and pray for them.
21:13 I mean, just put them on your prayer list
21:15 for the rest of their life.
21:16 It will help. Amen.
21:17 We'll right back. Thank you.