A Strong Mother Perseveres
Petra, a mother of two young children, suddenly lost custody, when her ex-husband’s involvement in child pornography was identified by authorities. As soon as she learned of the sexual abuse, Petra’s number one priority became protecting her children. With the support of family therapist Denby Toci, and Child & Family Service (CFS), Petra was able to work through the initial complexities of her circumstances and reunite with her children. Through her and her families path of recovery, they found ways to process the trauma, and developed a sense of hope. Now, Petra passes on these lessons to other parents that are trying to put their families back together again.
When CFS was first notified of Petra’s case, Denby became the family’s therapist. Immediately, she could tell that Petra was on a mission to get her kids back. A combination of Petra’s perseverance and Denby’s prompt action made it possible for the family to be reunited after only six days. The process was remarkably quick because Petra put protecting her children above all else.
This was just the beginning of a long journey of healing. Denby was instrumental in helping the family understand what had happened, how it impacted each person differently and how to build strength and resilience for the future. It was during this process, that Petra recognized that her family was able to move through this difficult time in their lives; they could grow, change and even thrive.
Petra received more from CFS than hope, she felt empowered to go back to school and became a marriage and family therapist. Two years later, when she applied for an internship, there was no question in Denby’s mind that she was a perfect fit. With her warmth, empathy and a powerful testimony for CFS services, Petra’s work as a therapist for domestic violence and sexual abuse came naturally. She continues to work at Child & Family Service on Hawai’i island, sharing her strength with clients and the community.
When she has the opportunity to share her experience, Petra recalls, “I learned so much through this whole process in terms of what I was capable of. You have to take one step forward at a time, have hope and faith, and believe that you can make real change.” To this day, she brings what she learned from personal experience into her work.