Someone once described adoption as the process by which your family tree becomes an orchard – a fitting description for the Stribling family who own an apple orchard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After years of dealing with infertility, Rob and Stacia worried that they would never get to experience the love and joy of raising a family. Then friends of theirs became foster parents and convinced Rob and Stacia to take a chance on this beautiful path to growing their own family. Working with their county agency, the Striblings embarked on months of training and welcomed their first foster son, who would become their beloved adopted son, in February of 2013. A year later their son’s newborn sister also joined the Stribling family.
Over the last eight years, the entire family has engaged in the hard work of healing. With the help of C.A.S.E. therapists, webinars, and conferences, Rob and Stacia have unlearned neurotypical parenting practices and relearned effective ways to parent children from hard places, while their children have learned to process their feelings and to embrace their identities and their adoption stories. Their son discovered the healing power of animals and is now a budding equestrian earning ribbons at local horse shows. Their daughter prefers to process through her creativity – she loves to make art, to sing, to play the piano, and to dance.
With the help of C.A.S.E. therapists, Rob and Stacia have developed as advocates for their children, making sure that school staff understand their children’s unique needs, fighting for appropriate accommodations, and educating others on the realities of foster care and adoption. As a professor of education, Stacia has also infused her new knowledge of trauma and FASD into her courses for practicing teachers; she supports teachers to be trauma-informed in their classroom practices, to view student behaviors through multiple lenses, and to find ways to honor families in all their beautiful complexity. Most importantly, the Striblings work hard to honor the “orchard” by building and maintaining relationships with their children’s birth family so they can feel grounded in who they are and grow into their best selves.