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Reviews

 Newest youth speaking youth motivational presentations – Ask me about “The Ladder” and “4 Life Words” recently “Fast Forward” and “Bent not Broken”

 

Elk Hart County Juvenile Detention Center Review (Goshen Indiana – March 18, 2015 (see news article under news tab from this visit)

Paula’s visits and presentations at the Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center are always welcome.   The residents at this facility, past and present, respond to her story and her words of hope in a connected and positive way.  Residents have posted on her wall/site/blog  long after they left JDC, to let Paula know how much she helped them.  Several others have contacted me, asking for a copy of her book or how to get in touch with Paula.  To have these kids reach out speaks volumes.  They remember her four words: Forgiveness – Adversity – Victim – Contentment.

Her latest visit was on March 18, 2015.  Before Paula started her story, she gave each of the residents and staff members a fun, pliable character made of pipe cleaners.  These “peeps” were not just something cute to hold on to – they were representative of part of what Paula was sharing with my students.  She told them that they are not “broken”,  just perhaps feel a bit “bent” at times.  And that, just as they may sometimes feel hopelessly and completely “bent”, they can also be “straightened” out again.  My students held onto their chosen peeps during her entire presentation.  (Many residents from her last visit have told me they still have their peep from Paula, or ask me if I still have theirs because they left it with me for safe-keeping. )

Paula’s message to young people is not just the story about her past.  It is about hope and resilience.  It is about never giving up or giving in.  It is about finding that mentor, that person in their life who can help these young people be strong.  People to help them follow their dreams.  People to help them move forward with their lives, no matter how many times they have to start over.

The teens begin to realize that before any of that can happen, they have to learn to forgive themselves for what they have done and forgive others for whatever that person or persons have done to hurt them.  These young people learn that adversity comes in many forms and fashions.  More importantly, adversity can be overcome. They learn  adversity is a part of life and, more importantly, it is their response that matters.

Paula asked my students if they have ever been a victim or, perhaps a victimizer.  Many respond they have been both.  It is evident that many have never thought of situations or life events in this manner.  (My students have expressed to me they never considered this aspect of life before.)

It is amazing to watch the change in each student’s body language as they respond to her story, her questions, and her answers to their questions.  The hunched shoulders straighten up, the fidgeting stops, and all eyes focused on Paula as she speaks and inspires.  The peeps they were bending or balling up start to get straightened and smoothed out again.  This is the time they start to comprehend how contentment can be a reality if they want it enough and are willing to put forth the tremendous amount of effort required for this part of their life to become a reality.

At the end of Paula’s presentation, she helped the teens release that victim who has been holding them back.  Paula accomplished this through her words, music, pictures, and mental imagery.  This release cannot be fully explained in words; it has to be experienced.  The emotional release was evident on each of my student’s faces.  Peaceful expressions replaced anxious looks and tears.

Paula – thank you for all that you do!  You are a wonderful lady, a special person capable of reaching so many youth who truly need some hope and guidance, and someone I am proud to call my friend.

I am sending you a picture of the peeps who are still hanging around JDC! My students keep them by their computers or wherever they are doing the school work.  The majority of the residents who have left took their peep home. Speak on, Paula, speak on!   Maureen Lorman Education Specialist Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center

RICHLAND CO OH DETENTION CENTER – March 12, 2015

Paula,  Your presentation to our juveniles in our Detention Center was wonderful. You held their attention so well because you “got into their heads.” You “got into their heads” because you have lived through many of the situations they are living through currently. You have been where they are and you have survived … not merely somehow, but triumphantly. Both boys and girls were very attentive to your message. You gave them hope that they, too, can prevail over their circumstances. Things may not be good now, but things can get better if they make better choices, choose better friends, complete their schooling or their GED, and set their hearts to do so … as you did. Thanks again for coming to our Detention Center and for sharing your life’s “adventures” with us … we will look forward to your next visit …Sincerely,  Ted Evans  Director of Victim and Volunteer Services, Richland County Juvenile Court

Erie County Ohio Juvenile Detention Center – January 16, 2015

Paula visited our facility yesterday January 16, 2015. I have never seen our youth so interested and engaged. They completely related to her and understood that she knew them. She saw their pain and struggles. She gave them hope that they too can have a happy life- and they don’t have to wait until they are 34! Kids that don’t typically speak up and participate wanted to for Paula. Her message was incredibly inspiring and my youth wished she could have stayed longer. We can’t wait to have her back again!  Josey Hargrove – Erie County Juvenile Detention Center

Elk Hart County Juvenile Detention Center Review (Goshen Indiana)

1/13/2015  Thank you so much for all that you’ve done.  In 2012 you came out the JDC in Elkhart, Indiana and told your story. It
was remarkable and helped me to get out of my abusive home. I now live back with my biological family and am attending High school at Elkhart Central. I’m also in the early college program earning credits in Ivy Tech. On my journey back to sanity I was at Paddock view residential center in Marion, Indiana for about a year and a half. The whole time I was there I read the book over and over. I also thought maybe if you had the chance you should go and give your story to the children there. It would be a great eye opener to many of the children there. I’ve also been wanting to come out to where you live sometime and actually see your horses and stuff. I wish we could have had more one on one time to talk. I would like to get to know you a little bit better.
sincerely, someone that heard you tell your story. LM

RICHLAND CO OH DETENTION CENTER

Thank you, Paula, for coming and speaking to the juveniles at our Richland County Juvenile  Justice Center. t is nice to have someone with your life experience who lives so near to us. I hope we will have many more opportunities to have you come to our Detention Center. I think that you used the term“getting into their heads” to describe how you were relating to our youth. You were able to get into their heads because you have been in many of the same circumstances where they currently find themselves. You know how and what they are thinking. You have been there and you have come through those circumstances. There is hope that they can come through, too. As you said, overcoming includes letting go of the victim within us and breaking free from the hurts of the past/present by means of forgiveness. These were powerful concepts that I also found myself applying to my life. You were not only influencing the youth but also the staff who were listening in.  We will soon be getting in touch with you to plan another visit by you to our facility.  Again, many thanks,  Ted Evans, Director of Victim and Volunteer Services, Richland County  Juvenile Court

 Butler Co OH Juvenile Corrections

A quick note of thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with our youth in the Butler County Ohio Juvenile Rehabilitation Center.  I appreciated the valuable insight ou provided to our youth and staff and for the opportunity to get to know you better.  Please keep up the good work that you do and thank you for the impact it makes.  Please find enclosed thank you notes from the youth and their thoughts on the take away from the presentation.  Sincerely, Thomas W Barnes, Superintendent of Corrections 

Clermont County OH Juvenile Detention Center

Thank you again for taking the time to come down last week and share your story with our residents here at the facility. Your story was truly an inspiration to both our residents and staff alike. On the day you came, we had several residents here that were currently involved in Foster Home Placements / Care. Your story was especially powerful and inspirational to them. The feedback I received back from both residents and staff alike was both positive and very moving, especially “The Ladder” presentation at the end. I think it’s wonderful that you are attempting to reach out and share your story with the youth we serve at as many facilities in Ohio as possible this year! Several of our youth wrote thank you notes / cards which are going out in tomorrow’s mail. Thank you again so very much for sharing your story with us!  Take care, Tom DelGrande / Superintendent, Clermont County Juvenile Detention Center

Warren County OH Juvenile Detention Center

The presentation (The Ladder) by Paula Kyle regarding her book “On the Edge of Unthinkable” was enjoyed by both the staff and the inmates in our detention center.  Ms. Kyle’s story is very similar to the stories of some of our juveniles in our facility, and so not only could they relate to her story, but they were encouraged and inspired by it.  Even those juveniles who have never been in foster care enjoyed her story of hope and forgiveness.  Our staff that was able to attend also benefitted greatly from her presentation.  Ms. Kyle’s goal to help troubled kids turn their lives around and not continue on the path they are on is commendable.              Tony Miller, Superintendent of Warren County Juvenile Detention Center

I thought the presentation by Paula Ann Kyle in regards to her book “On the Edge of Unthinkable” was excellent and thought provoking to both the inmates and staff of the our detention center. I believe it was helpful to the inmates because they can identify with much of the suffering that Paula had endured in her youth, normally Juvenile’s only find others who can identify with their struggles by befriending other inmates. Finding another who can identify with their pain is not uncommon; finding someone who identifies with their pain and somehow manages to escape it is rare, yet Paula did just that. Hearing Paula’s story allows them see that she knows their pain well, yet grew from it and went on to do wonderful things with her life, this offers a light at the end of the tunnel for many of them, inspiration to strive for a better life and a road map of how to get there. It shifts the mentality from victim to empowerment.

As a correction officer I benefited from Paula’s story because her story is a reminder that each of us has the power to influence these youth everyday, we have an opportunity to be role models to a certain extent by what we say, and how we say it; by our actions, and our willingness to listen to what they may have to say. Having a better understanding of the suffering many of these children endure has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift; it allows one to view these children with a bit of empathy and humility. Increasing these can only foster our ability to better serve as role models through our job as corrections officers.  Correction Officer Baldino Warren County Juvenile Corrections Facility

I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to hear Paula’s story regarding her foster home years.  The one thing that stands out the most to me is “The Ladder” statements.  Yes it was nice that the dog didn’t die, however, it was an awesome way of showing how we are used as ladders to help the juveniles who come through JDC.  It made me think about the ones that I have talked to and how they are just shy of reaching that ladder for the help that they need and or want.  I think the kids hearing about some of what she went through hit home for a few of them.  I also feel when individuals like Paula come in and talk to the kids that they can see that they are not alone and they can change their ways and be a better person in society and that everyone is human and we all make mistakes.  Correction Officer Ferrier Warren County Juvenile Detention Center

  Erie County Youth Detention Center – Sandusky OH –

Having Paula Kyle come tell her story to my kids here in the Erie County Juvenile Justice Center was remarkable and significant to so many of the youth who have experienced adversity or are going through the foster care system today. She was a profound speaker and mentor to a lot of the kids as she told her story through her eyes at age 12. Paula Kyle provided a reflective message to my kids here in Erie County on so many different levels because of her courageous story about her experience in foster care in Knox County, Ohio. It was so inspiring to watch my youth walking away from the presentation with a new sense of hope in their eyes and compassion in their hearts. Paula Kyle has a truly amazing story that should be shared with all facilities in Ohio who are currently working with children who are at-risk and experiencing some type of adversity in their life. Thank you, Paula for being such an inspiration to kids and shedding light on your trials and tribulations. You truly are a hero, in every sense of the word. Michelle F. Cook, Program Specialist   Erie County Juvenile Justice Center, Sandusky Ohio

Elk Hart County Juvenile Detention Center Review (Goshen Indiana)

Forgiveness – Adversity – Victim – Contentment. Four words the residents in the facility where I work were told to look up and define after Paula Kyle spoke to my class. Four words and their definitions, – written on index cards that residents still keep with them since they heard Paula’s story. “Write the words, say the words, use the words”, wrote one teen. Four words that have touched more than just four lives. Paula Kyle’s story, even so filled with sorrow and tragedy, is more about hope, It is about letting go of the past and believing that there is a future. My students were captivated by her presentation. One student, in particular, can still recall all of the details. He wrote the following: “I felt my whole body start to sweat, my heart started beating slow and fast, matching up with Paula Kyle’s heart. My eyes started watering but I said to myself – don’t cry. If she can go through foster care, I can finish going through foster care.”. Yes, Paula’s story is about hope. Her story is also about letting go of the victim within each of us. Paula created a visual about standing on a hill and each student actually unwrapping the arms of their personal victim from around their waist and letting the victim run down the hill to the pond – to be free. Another student wrote , “When she had us release our victim, I felt sad but yet so relieved and it feels like a ton of bricks lifted off my shoulders.”. Paula Kyle is a dynamic speaker and someone who truly cares enough to try to change the lives of children, regardless of their age, or history. She has to ability to reach out and touch each person her audience. I know she has touched mine.   Maureen Lorman Education Specialist Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center

Knox  Coumty OH Children’s Resource Center

To Whom It May Concern,   I am currently the Program Manager for The Knox County Children’s Resource Center located in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The CRC is a 20 bed co-ed residential treatment center for children ages 10-17 who have been severely abused and/or neglected.  The CRC adheres to a trauma informed care initiative that engages children in treatment that respects each child’s developmental stage as well as the nature and timing of their trauma.      During this past year, Paradise in the Sky has worked in collaboration with the CRC to promote trauma recovery through sensory based activities and animal assisted interventions within a safe and rustic environment. The children have had opportunities to interact prosocially with each other outside of the residential setting and learn how to realize their own potential using one another for support. I have found that each child has been enriched by their experiences and often use Paula as their personal inspiration for their own journey through trauma recovery.       Paradise in the Sky has been a rewarding and powerful sanctuary for our children to begin believing in themselves again, as well as trusting the adults in their lives. The Paradise in the Sky program has been an asset and enhancement to the CRC program given that the children interact and connect on a deeper emotional level that is observed through more positive behaviors and empathy towards their peers and caregivers. I wholeheartedly believe that this program is capable of helping countless other youth who are deemed “at risk” or who have already been placed in residential treatment programs or the juvenile justice system.     Sincerely,  Jerry D. Hartman LISW-S  Program Manager   Knox County Children’s Resource Center

Paradise Youth and Family Facility Reviews:

Knox County Youth Probation Department

I have taken clients to Paradise in the Sky and participated in events there with other youth. From these experiences I have learned that this organization promotes the development of positive social skills through horses as well as the other outdoor activities provided. Programs for at risk youth are limited in Knox County it is a valuable resource to have Paradise in the Sky in the county to provide a positive outlet for the children.  The clients I took on a day trip to Paradise are troubled and defiant teens which have behavioral and/or emotional problems. The teens had an experience different than what they are usually provided by their parent’s efforts, schools, and treatment programs and I believe left with a better idea of their self-worth and the value of helping others.  The activities my group participated in seem to increase the youth motivation and self-confidence throughout the day. For teens who are defiant or emotionally disturbed I could see this experience as giving them a new perspective that may allow them to work through their individual struggles and learn to build positive social relationships. I make this statement after a client and his mother spent the day at Paradise and came into my office socially engaged which was very unusual for them.  I am support of this organization not only for the support it may offer to the Juvenile Justice system in the county but as because of the equally support it could offer to the community as a whole. – Melinda Marmet, Knox County Deputy Director of Juvenile Probation

CareNet Pregnancy Services

To Whom it may concern, Paula Kyle’s Paradise in the Sky Youth Motivational Ranch – what a treat! Even though the ranch is located just a couple of miles outside of Mount Vernon, my staff, several clients and I felt like we had escaped to a beautiful ranch in sky country. The autumn colors were at peak and the views were phenomenal! The gorgeous tree-covered rolling hills were truly a feast for our eyes! Paula and Rich welcomed us so enthusiastically, we felt like we were a part of their family.  Each of us enjoyed taking a turn in the ring one-on-one with Casey, the horse. This huge, beautiful beast obeyed our commands and then came up and nuzzled our faces! All of the horses have unique personalities and seemed to enjoy interacting with people. It was great to see all the smiles on our clients’faces as they and staff relaxed and opened up! Paula captured each moment on film and gave each of us a keepsake DVD of the day. My clients were very touched by the gift of seeing themselves in a different setting!  As Paula told stories of how the horses were rescued and had overcome terrible adversities I could watch my clients relating. Paula and Rich have a real sensitivity and heart for hurting people! Also a wonderful knack for encouragement!  We had exciting jeep rides through the trails in their “beautiful forest”, interspersed with more photo opportunities using vines and other natural settings as frames.  We enjoyed playing with her friendly, Standard Poodle puppies and kittens too. What a wonderful and memorable experience! This shared experience helped us get to know each other in a whole new way!  Thank you Paula and Rich! I wish you great success!  Lois Carter – Executive Director, Care Net Pregnancy services – Mount Vernon, Ohio

Breannah’s  Paradise 8 years Medically Fragile (written by her mother Lori) 

http://youtu.be/Hpepkq_IlEE  (Breonnah in Paradise)

I am the parent to a very medically involved, multi complex child.  I received a random email about Paradise in the Sky several months ago.  At that time my daughter was enrolled in another equine facility that was a good distance away, wasn’t stimulating, extremely difficult to schedule class times, imposed financial hardship upon us, and most regrettably often was cancelled due to low census, staffing, and inclement weather due to no indoor arena/shelter areas.  We had to travel outside of town a good distance to get to the facility only to be turned away due to the above reasons.  Travel can be very stressful and inconvenient when one must already travel multiple times out of town each and every week for doctor and other appointments.

My heart sang when I opened that email and saw the beautiful pictures of the smiling adults and kids faces, green pastures, peaceful animals and rolling hills; that now I recognize as Paradise in the Sky.

Upon our very first visit to Paradise I witnessed my normally very shy, non conversational child openly speaking and making voluntary eye contact with both Rich and Paula.  She asked to see the cats, willingly wanted to go into the corral with the horses, listened carefully to instructions as they were given, made choices, and wasn’t hesitant with the dogs like we expected.  My daughter laughed and most important while we were there- FORGOT!!!!  She didn’t remember that she was sick.  She forgot about doctor appointments, therapies, the 27 medications that she must take multiple times every day, never once thought about her daily pain.  She never mentioned what she could not do, or how in most instances she feels significantly different than her peers.  She felt and acted like a normal kid again for those two hours.  She felt the magic of Paradise.  Her Paradise.

It is my hope that this program will continue to grow with my child.  I would love to see the facility expand and include an indoor arena for year round access.  Hopefully; with increased funding, progressive marketing, word of mouth and the continued love that is bountiful and unconditional from Rich and Paula towards these kids that will all prevail in our local home – here in Knox County.  There are no limits in Paradise.  Sincerely Lorie Metcalfe-Frace

Mirium Schrock – Harrisburg PA  (Foster/Adoptive) Family 11 day visit to Paradise

Hi Paula,Thanks so much for the great time we had over the holidays at  your cozy cabin and on the farm with the horses. It was a much needed time for  my family and my sister’s families to relax and spend time together after a very  stressful year that included losing our mother in May.  One of the big attractions for 2 of us when booking the cabin  was the Paradise in the Sky farm that we felt would be a great experience for my  9 year old foster daughter Kayla and my sister’s 13 year old adopted son  Charles. Both children have had to face big challenges in their lives from  either abuse or from mental disabilities and we just wanted to give them a  chance to relax and enjoy themselves away from the daily struggle to feel “normal”.   The cabin was such an adventure for both children especially  since they both have been reading “The Little House on the Prairie” books by  Laura Ingalls. They got to pretend that they were living in “The Little House in  the Big Woods” and all the snow was just icing on the cake.  The trips to Paradise in the Sky were an adventure that the  children will be talking about for a long timeJ! It is easy to see looking back at the  pictures what an impression the farm had on both children. While they were both  a little fearful at the beginning and not sure what to expect, by the  2nd trip they couldn’t wait to get in the ring with Casey and go  riding on the cart with Rich. My 5 year old nephew Ashton who was able to come  on the 2nd day with us and was also very timid at the beginning until  he realized how cool it was to touch and command the horse and then we almost  couldn’t get him away from themJ….
It was such a great pleasure  and honor to spend time with you and Rich and see the love and care you both  have for these children and how you are both as excited as the children as we  watched them open and blossom under your encouragement and  training.   We wish you all the best in your future on the farm and pray  that all the goals you have to impact the children around you will come  true.   Regards Miuium Schrock – Foster Mom

Amy Senne, Foster and Adoption Family

Paula,
It has been over a year since we have visited you and Rich. We were so pleased to see how our children reacted. They were thrilled and although Britney was so very terrified she faced her fear and concord it. I believe that weekend we had with you and Rich was life changing and memberable for our children, especially Taylor! :) We love what you are doing there at Paradise! I encourage any family that has not been out to see your good works to do so!
We are looking forward to coming to visit again this coming summer!Amy

Becky Cales Hall & Kids – Foster and Adoption Family’s Reviews of  Paradise

Dearest Paula and Rich.
    I finally rounded the kids up on this snow day from school to let you know how much we enjoyed our visit to Paradise last fall. There was a lot happening on that special day. I saw joy, fear and protection from kids who are RADD kids. Seeing the concern for their Dad and me was a good feeling.( I agree with Stephen…BIG HORSES) They were worried about Dad and Mom! Progress!!!
So much damage has been done through the fostercare system to them. My anger has to be channeled into energy to get them all the help that I can find. We watch our kids not be able to fit in with the other kids.  We watch how they are excluded ,not just by there piers but adults also. They are the square pegs in this round world. Did I mention I love square?!  The day we came to Paradise I really did not know what was going to happen. Would they withdraw, hide or shut down to the unknown? You and Rich are so in tune with the spirit of these kids I think they feel it. If you said they could pick that big horse hoof up, they did it! If you saw a deep fear in their sweet eyes that says “I can’t” you assured them that that was OK too. They want to come back and so do there Mom and Dad. They didn’t feel different at Paradise. They were just kids having a blast. NO PRESSURE, this is when they can begin to heal. God calls us one by one to be of service. Some answer and some turn a deaf  ear . Thank you for reaching out to our precious children. We hope to see you soon. Thanks again for a family day we will never forget.  Sincerely Becky and Pete Hall   (See my three children’s recallections of Paradise below)
Dear Paula,    My name is Kristian Hall and I went to Paradise in the sky. It was fun riding the horses and the ranger. You and Rich taught me things I have never known before.It was a great experience. I’m glad I got to go last

Dear Paula, My name is Stephen Hall and I am 8 years old. What I like most when I came to your house was riding the Ranger through the woods. It was fun. Up and down the hills made me scared, but fun. My whole family laughed on the ride. I helped with the horses but I didn’t want to sit on them. They are really big. You said it was OK and I didn’t have to. I was glad. I liked training Casey in the ring. I could not believe he would listen  to me .  I liked my cowboy hat too. I want to come again.   Stephen
Dear Paula,  My name is Makayla Hall  I am 12 years old and I visited Paradise in the sky last year.
When I went there some of the things I loved was riding the horses,the puppies and  training Casey.
Also the horse hand shake with Casey. I think he likes me, and I like him too.
I felt relaxed and everyone accepted me for who I am. I didn’t feel afraid to try new things.I wasn’t afraid to be myself. I don’t always feel that way. Thank you for letting me come there. I hope I can visit there again.  Makayla Hall

Bair Foundation – Canton Ohio Conference Oct 6th, 2012 Review “Changing Kids Lives – One Child at a time”

Dear Paula, WOW!!  As I sat and listened to your story, I cried with you and for you. God continues to do a miracle in your life. For you to stand and put yourself out there to people who don’t even know you. Thank you for being obedient to God and sharing your life with us. I was at the Bair Foundation Conference this past Saturday Oct. 6th. I had a foster son for 17 months. He physically attacked me. He is no longer with me. He says he is working on things but I believe he is still trauma mode. I will be in Mount Vernon on Saturday Oct 27th. I will try to call ahead of time to be able to stop and see your facilitie. It looks sooo refreshing. God bless your faithfulness. a foster mom

Dear Foster Mom, from your note, you are still committed to this young man, in my eyes, you are a Bonnie.  She would have still  given the chance to hear this youth’s struggles even after one that might have done what this youth did to you.  Don’t give up on the kids.  So many need parents like you.  I will look forward to a visit from you.  God Bless, Paula

Hi Paula, I heard you give your testimony at the Bair Foundation’s Conference.  It was a privilege to listen to your journey and hear from someone who understands what it is like to be in foster care.  I learned more from you than I could have ever imagined!  Never stop sharing your testimony and how God brought you through such a difficult childhood.  I will always remember your forgiveness lesson and advice on foster parenting!  You are a blessing, I will not see children in foster care the same again.  :)  God Bless You Always, Sarah

A review from the Annual CASA Conference on September 27, 2012

My husband and I are CASA with Richland County, and were just at the State CASA in Columbus OH, my husband took your session and absolutely loved it, needless to say he shed a few tears when he was telling me your story. I have just purchased your book on my Nook, I am looking forward to reading it. I also understand that you came to Mansfield OH and spoke to our CASAs in May of this year I was unable to attend that session due to health reasons but I was told by the other CASAs you gave an excellent presentation. Good luck with your endeavors, I am also looking forward to the movie, I love your favorite quote, it is also one of my favorites. May God bless your work. Jo Ann Howard Galion OH

A  Family Retreat Testimonial with Therapist on Site at Paradise for a 2 day’s of intense counseling  (accomplishing 8 weeks of therapy for a family in crisis)

When my husband walked out on me and our 5 adopted children, I thought I could easily manage the changes we were being faced with.  After a few months, I realized we were in a crisis and needed professional assistance. Our counselor suggested a weekend therapeutic retreat atParadisein the Sky and I knew it would be beneficial.   On site accommodations were provide for our counselor while the children and I stayed  in a charming log cabin a short distance away.  Our counselor was able to provide multiple intense family and individual sessions in a unique setting.  Sessions that would have taken 8 weeks to complete were done in 2 days.  From the equine activities to our family sessions roasting marsh mellows around the campfire, we were able to open up about our pain, grief and feelings of loss. We left feeling refreshed, stronger and having more confidence to face the days ahead.  Paula, Rich and their staff at Paradise in the Sky were very supportive, knowledgeable and nurturing.  They provided an environment where we could forget our hectic life at home and focus on our healing process while being guided by our counselor.         Love~ Kim,Matt,Zak,Andy,Alicia and Eli

 National Foster Parent Association: Book Review, by T LaShawn Wallace

Hi Paula, here’s the review I posted for your book (we met at the NFPA conference in Chicago and you graciously gave me a copy of your book):

“I had a really hard time accepting his compliments. In fact, the first time he said something nice to me, it felt as if he had hit me.”
“On the Edge of Unthinkable” is Paula Kyle’s journey through childhood abuse and foster care, and the above passage is how she describes feeling when complimented by her foster father. Only a hurt soul could view a compliment as painful as the blows inflicted on her by her father, Dave. Through twists and turns that sometimes seem stranger than fiction, Paula describes her brokenness as she and her siblings are torn apart and placed into foster care following her mother’s death.
This book shatters the myth that once a child finds a forever family, everything will be OK. Even though Paula did not want to be adopted by her foster parents, Larry and Bonnie Ulrey, they were as close to a forever family as she would ever have.
And at age 51, Paula tells us that no, everything is not OK but it could have been worse without the love and unconditional support from her foster parents all those years.
“On the Edge of Unthinkable” is a must read for anyone considering fostering teens because it’s the unfiltered version of “The Blind Side.” Despite some modest publishing glitches, the message to foster teens and foster parents is as clear as Paula’s favorite powerful quote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
The chapter written by Paula’s daughter Christina was heartbreaking. To read about her struggles as she takes on the role of parenting her own mother offers a unique perspective on what happens to foster children who carry their demons into adulthood.
“On the Edge of the Unthinkable” provides a view into the volatile mix of mental illness and child abuse, and some misconceptions within foster care. This story is a testimony of Paula’s painful past through childhood and adolescence, and a testament to the patience of her seventh — and final — set of foster parents, the Ulreys, who opened their hearts and home to a broken child.
Paula’s book can be purchased on her website, On the Edge of Unthinkable, or through IUniverse, or Amazon books.

Indiana Association on Adoption and Child Care Services

Dear Paula-It was amazing to hear your story at the adoption conference on July 27, 2012. It is truely awesome to hear all of the events in your life that you and your sisters were able to overcome. Your story was truely inspiring and is something that I believe that a lot of our tweens and teens within the system need to read to see that people can overcome any circumstance. I believe that a lot of the foster parents I currently work with could learn so much from Larry and Bonnie!!  I just finished your book and it is about to make the rounds within my office. Thanks again for helping us think about what we do from a different perspective!!  Dawn :)

Agape Youth Services – Dayton Ohio Sat, 7-28

You are so brave to share your story. We attended a training session of yours on Saturday at Agape for Youth and left with the confidence we can make a difference in our kids lives like your Larry and Bonnie. Thank you for the inspiration.Sincerely,  Donohue and Gabriella Baker

CASA VOLUNTEER INSERVICE TRAINING – MANSFIELD OHIO

Thank you so much for telling us part of your story tonight at the CASA in service. I must say you kept my attention. This was by far the most interesting in service we have had. Looking forward to reading your book. Thanks again, Peace be with you.  Tonya Hampton

Bucks County PA 3 day Conference

We invited Ms. Kyle to come out to Bucks County Pennsylvania after hearing her speak at a conference in the fall. Ms. Kyle was with us for three days and the experience far exceeded our expectations. The first evening Ms. Kyle met with over 75 foster youth ages 14- 21. This group does not engage easily with someone they do not know. The youth were riveted to their seats and seemed to be hanging on her every word. It was amazing to watch their facial expressions and see the connection that was being made. The following evening Ms. Kyle was scheduled to attend our Annual Foster Parent Dinner but not till 6 pm. It was suggested to Ms. Kyle that she could enjoy the day relaxing. She would have none of it and insisted that she spend her time talking to other youth who could benefit from hearing her story. Ms. Kyle then went over to the Youth Detention Center and spent an afternoon (free of charge) with those youth. Ms. Kyle spoke then spoke at our Foster Parent Dinner which is held to honor our foster parents and the service they provide. Ms. Kyle spoke of the importance of her foster parents in her life and how they changed her life. It was inspiring for the foster parents to hear the impact these folks made in her life and actually changed the direction of her life. The last day Ms. Kyle provided an all day training to staff, foster parents, providers, and volunteers. It was wonderful. Attendees commented that they were so glad that they came to this training. Clearly they too were touched by Ms. Kyle’s story and learned how the “system” saved her life. It was a well organized and provided a great deal of information about what specifically the professionals and foster parents can do to reduce the trauma children experience when removed from their home. All child welfare agencies could benefit from this training. It was an inspiring and uplifting experience.  Virginia M. Trea, LSW, ACSW  Placement Manager  Bucks County Children and Youth

Elk Hart County Juvenile Detention Center Review (Goshen Indiana)

Forgiveness – Adversity – Victim – Contentment. Four words the residents in the facility where I work were told to look up and define after Paula Kyle spoke to my class. Four words and their definitions, – written on index cards that residents still keep with them since they heard Paula’s story. “Write the words, say the words, use the words”, wrote one teen. Four words that have touched more than just four lives. Paula Kyle’s story, even so filled with sorrow and tragedy, is more about hope, It is about letting go of the past and believing that there is a future. My students were captivated by her presentation. One student, in particular, can still recall all of the details. He wrote the following: “I felt my whole body start to sweat, my heart started beating slow and fast, matching up with Paula Kyle’s heart. My eyes started watering but I said to myself – don’t cry. If she can go through foster care, I can finish going through foster care.”. Yes, Paula’s story is about hope. Her story is also about letting go of the victim within each of us. Paula created a visual about standing on a hill and each student actually unwrapping the arms of their personal victim from around their waist and letting the victim run down the hill to the pond – to be free. Another student wrote , “When she had us release our victim, I felt sad but yet so relieved and it feels like a ton of bricks lifted off my shoulders.”. Paula Kyle is a dynamic speaker and someone who truly cares enough to try to change the lives of children, regardless of their age, or history. She has to ability to reach out and touch each person her audience. I know she has touched mine.   Maureen Lorman Education Specialist Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center

I don’t know if you reminder me, I was at the Juvenile Detention Center in Goshen Indiana.  Thanks for coming and talking to us.  You changed my life. Colin

Hey Paula, I’m from Bucks County Children and Youth,  (PA) and I had a chance to meet you at the Bucks County Church, and at the Spring Mill Manor.  I was one of the girls presented with a scholarship.     I’ve been in foster care for over 7 years, and luckily my sister and I never were split up. For a really long time, I thought the system was the bad guys and there was know reason my siblings and I weren’t aloud to be home with our parents. But this past year I finally realized that I honestly don’t know where I would be if I never was taken away.  I told my parents a couple months ago I never wanted to speak to them again, because I believe for what they did they were selfish, and very inconsiderate.  What they did to us, and how they were never there, and still believing they’re doing everything right, and never did anything wrong!  This is the best time in my life, the first person in my entire family to graduate high school, getting accepted into a college that is completely paid for, and moving out into my own apartment with my boyfriend. There not happy for me at all, they never once congratulated me, or even asked when the date of graduation was.  To me this means a lot, and I let them know that, but they still don’t care.  I really want to tell my story too, you helped me realize that. Megan

YouthBuild Columbus OH Community School – Review from School Vice Principal

Hearing Paula Kyle’s story and testimony  was a reminder of how blessed we are as a people. Many times we overlook our blessing. Paula’s story served as a reality check for many constituents. Here is a lady that went through so much abuse and never gave up. She is not a victim, but a vessel sent by God to liberate those who are in bondage. I appreciate the time spent with Paula, and can not wait to purchase her book for my personal library.  Mr. DeShannon C. Butler, Sr., M. Ed. Vice Principal Youth Build Columbus (OH) Community School

YouthBuild Columbus OH Community School – Review from Instructor

Thank You Paula Kyle, your story is sad and inspirational at the same time. I was drawn to tears a few times during your presentation at YouthBuild Columbus Community School. I have known you for 25 years and I still get emotional when I hear the things you suffered as a child. Knowing some of the challenges you faced as an adult makes me appreciate you more. You have overcome so much and your spirit of hope and helpfulness is inspirational to all that you come into contact with. Our students were the quietest I have ever seen them for over 2 hours and they were engaged during question and answer sessions. Your story will touch the lives of people who have also suffered as children and adults who help the children who have been dealt a less than desirable lifestyle. Young adults will find a renewed sense of hope when they hear of the atrocities you lived through and they look at and listen to you now, having turned your life into a positive outcome. You are a role model and I believe you will succeed in helping others turn negative situations into positive outcomes. Stay true to your endeavors and I look forward to continuing to grow with you as a friend and to participate in your growth as a speaker and role model to young people everywhere. Thank You again for giving our young people hope.. I am hoping that you will come back to speak at our school every year. I have had many requests from students to get a copy of your book to read so I am glad we were able to purchase some of your books. Sheri Trice, Leadership Development Instructor

Letter: ‘The toughest job you’ll ever love’

Many thanks to The Lima News for the excellent coverage of Paula Kyle, an advocate for foster children and foster care.
Kyle’s story of abuse and neglect is all too common. Being a foster parent exposes you to what my mother used to call, “A picture of life’s other side.”
She calls the family who adopted her “heroes,” and rightly so. I am sure this family did not see themselves as heroes, just everyday people who were blessed to have this young lady walk through their door and into their hearts. Kyle correctly calls them, “heroes.”
Foster parenting is like what they say about the Peace Corps … “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” Fostering is not for everyone, but I am mystified that there are not more who do foster parenting. It calls for a heart being enough to include children beyond your biological children. What a blessing it is to tell two teen girls who say, “We’ve been told many times how worthless we are,” that they are of great value and are loved and wanted. What a blessing to hear a teenage boy say, “You’re the only people who ever loved us.”
I wonder how many other Paula Kyles are out there, looking for and needing a hero?
— Pastor Robert King, Spencerville

We were so fortunate to have Paula come to our high school. She met with 3 groups of students and gave her inspirational message with openness, passion and a sincere desire to help. Our students were touched by her message and were excited to read Paula’s book. She is a unique person, not just because of her incredible story but because she can connect with anyone. She is not about performance but about meeting people were they are on their own life journey.  Vince Walsh-Rock Downers Grove South High School, Downers Grove IN

 

Dear Paula, Without better foster parents, we will NEVER have better outcomes for foster kids.  Speaking as a former foster child myself, I’ve noticed as an adult that many current foster parents want a Road Map regarding how to be the best foster parent possible. Thank you, Paula, for giving it to them……Lisa Dickson, Founder and Communications Chair, Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, www.fcaa-oh.org

Paula is proof that the human spirit can rise above given circumstances.  In spite of her abusive past, she is able to pull out nuggets of hope to those she comes in contact with.  Hers is ultimately a story of hope and encouragement rather than despair. Paula reads her audience well and uses integrity while sharing her story.  My students felt connected to Paula and she willingly stayed after her presentation to answer questions in more detail.  The day after Paula visited was our Reading Day to celebrate the end of the nine-week grading period.  Several of us were hooked into her book.  Students read with a heightened degree of interest because this was someone that they had met and cared about.  Goshen IN, 6th grade class teacher March 18, 2012

 Dear Paula, Thank you so much for coming and speaking to our school. I know that you had a large impact on our residents. We talk about you and your story every day. We make sure to set aside special time in class to read a chapter of your book each day. We are only on Chapter 3, but so far we have really enjoyed reading your story.
Thank you for taking so much time out to spend with our kids. So many times, they have difficulty visualizing themselves in the future. They struggle with where they want to be, what they want to live in, what job they would like to have, and who they want to be. Hearing your story and seeing how successful you are gave them so much hope. Again, Thank you so much! Mrs. Edlund Bashor Children’s Home Goshen, IN March 18, 2012

Paula, Thank you for sharing your story at Goshen High School this morning.  You speak with an authentic voice to the issue of childhood trauma. While your own story is heartbreaking and the trauma you endured incredible, you shared it with a sense of hope and resilience.  You are an inspiration.  You give voice to many others who have yet to find their voice.  Thank you.  Candy Yoder, President/CEO CAPS – Child and Parent Services Elkhart, IN March 14, 2012

The 2011 35th annual…  Family Resource Planning Convention held in Harrisburg PA featured Paula Kyle, Author of “The Edge of Unthinkable” as the Keynote speaker. Paula was the first speaker to not only open and close this conference but she also provided several training seminars to Foster parents and case workers during the conference. Below is just one of the many reviews she has received from attendees that had the opportunity to hear Paula speak.

Hi Paula- we met at the Pa Resource Conference last month in Harrisburg, Pa. We had several foster parents and agency personnel who attended. We were all awestruck by your presentation. The staff who attended were all seasoned staff with an average of 22 years of experience. Without exception we all felt it was the best training we have attended. I believe our staff (many who are very young) could really benefit from hearing you speak.  Please know you are making a profound impact on the foster parents and staff and I can only imagine the impact on the youth who have the pleasure of hearing you speak.  Thank you.  Ginny Trea, Harrisburg, PA  

Having Paula Kyle share her personal journey through the foster-care system of Knox County, Ohio, with my social work students was one of the most significant class sessions of the semester. Paula told her story from the voice of her twelve-year-old self, transporting each student back to the day Paula and her sisters walked up their driveway to meet their caseworkers and to face the realization that their family would be separated forever. Paula’s transparency brought many students to tears and inspired every student to believe that in the midst of adversity there is hope. Trudy Singletary, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Mount Vernon Nazarene University

Dear Paula, Thank you Paula for coming in to speak to my English class at the Mt. Vernon High School about your story.  I never really knew about foster care until I read your book.  I can only imagine how this type of story has changed your life as well as others who may or may not be in foster care, for the better.  I know surely that is has changed my perspective on foster care, and children who have been put into it.  Our family friend and her husband are foster parents; currently they have adopted two children and are fostering three younger ones.  Since I have read your book I have been trying to make those children’s lives better and the foster parent’s chaotic days less of a hassle however possible.  Weather it is by babysitting them for a few hours, cooking dinner for them, or even just by being their friend.  Once again, I want to greatly thank you for writing this book and continue to tell your story.  Sincerely, Brandon

Dear Paula, Just finished reading ON THE EDGE OF UNTHINKABLE; What a interesting life story. I was thrilled to know that every thing worked out good for you. My wife and I have been foster parent’s for fourty years. We are still doing care and have in our home now, a 17 year old girl.Have fostered over 70 children we hope to go a few more years. Just to read this book that so vividly show’s what some children have to endure in life. Thank God for the family that gave you a chance in life. This book should be put in every foster home and every agency.      Pastor Wilbert and Betty Lowe

Listening to Paula Kyle opened my eyes, it let me see a part of reality I knew a very little about. When she was talking about her story I couldn’t help thinking how strong she has been and how she found a way to learn from her own past to help other people. I have to say I was almost crying when she told us what she had to live when she was a little girl, this is something I can’t even imagine, and I admire her for how she did everything to protect her sisters. As I said, I knew a very little about foster care system because I’ve never got the chance to learn about it. I’ve just read a book, a beautiful book about a girl that lived in an orphanage until the age of 18 and then she started her own life living on the street, until a florist discovered her talent in knowing how to communicate with flowers and making flowers compositions. At the end of this book, the author said that she wanted to tell this story to help the children that needed a home to let them know the others how their life is. She would give some money to help the foster care system.  Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I thought the speaker Paula Kyle was very good. I know it’s hard to talk about things like that. She rubbed off as a very strong, confident person, sure of herself and not caring what people thought of her. It was a very moving story and a good example of not just how horrible the foster care system could be but also how beneficial and that’s important. It was really encouraging to know there is a successful person who has been in foster care. I’ve been in it them since i was 5 and it gives me hope that maybe I could succeed, and still do something with my life. It also shows how people have misconceptions of foster children thinking the reason they are in foster care is because they are bad. I really liked her speaking at our school and I think it would be a good thing for others to hear. You may share this with her if you like. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

Paula Kyle’s story was unimaginable to me, coming from a typical family with two parents and a sister, that all gets along very well and spends a lot of time together. I tried to put myself into her shoes while she was telling her story but I couldn’t. I felt so bad for her the entire time she was speaking, it really made me value my home life and family even more. I thought she was a very good speaker and as you said kept everyone in that auditorium eyes on her the entire time, so enthralled with her story. Paula Kyle is very brave to stand up in front of everyone and say what she had to go through as a child, how she was abused mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel that if everyone knew more about foster care, they would be more understanding and supportive of kids in foster care struggling. Her story of overcoming those circumstances was inspiring and really makes me more aware of how thankful i really am for my family and the importance of also being a supportive foster parent maybe in the future to help out a child. You may show this to Paula Kyle  Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

To Paula Kyle, Thank you for coming in and sharing your story with us. It inspired me to begin to write again. I also gained better knowledge and understanding of the whole foster care system. Some of what you said I could relate to, because I as well grow up in very Military type home, with several family members in the military. I remember what is like growing up in a very strict home with harsh punishment for disobedience. I’m glad that you shared your story to give people a better glimpse of what it would be like in that type of environment. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

Paula Kyle’s presentation and visit was astonishing. Her story was wonderfully reflective through the changes she has been forced to go through in her life. I know a few kids that have been and are still in Foster Care and it was great to hear her make a clarification to everyone about what Foster Care is really all about. Her story touched my life and I’m sure many lives around me, and I appreciated her taking her time out to come and speak to us. Through her, I learned just how important a family is and how it impacts your life, whether it be positive or negative. Family is the institutions in which we are suppose to be able to go to for comfort, support, help, and love. However, since Paula lacked that for the first several years in her life, she was unable to grasp the concept of what a family is suppose to be. But the revolution she overcame was phenomenal, and I’m so glad to have heard her story. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I thought that Paula Kyle’s speech was very outstanding. She was able to express her horrible past and was glad to know that when she did this she was helping out other kids to have a voice. Kids being able to hear what others have been through have an easier time maybe looking for help. Throughout her life I wouldn’t have been to go what she went though. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012
I would have tried every way to escape. I wouldn’t have been brave as her to take beating like she did and did everything she could to save her sisters. I think that after she got into the foster care that did everything it could to save her a healthy future. What she said was very important and set an example for other being go through this to not deal with it and look for help. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

Paula Kyle gave a good, interesting speech. Her speech was so good that I was into it, which normally I get bored and start falling asleep. I didn’t expect her speech to be the way it was. There was definitely some intense moments when she was talking especially when she was talking about her family as a kid. I could never imagine living this way. I didn’t really know much about foster homes, or any of that kind of stuff. After this speech I learned a LOT about foster homes. I am now interested in reading her book, since I’ve heard what it’s mainly about.  Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

My reflection about the guest speaker (Paula Kyle) made me realize that how kids that go through abuse in their homes can make themselves blend in the crowd. When she was talking about her abuse by her military dad gave me the shakes and how firm her dad was towards them. When she mentioned that she technically did not belong to him, it made sense that he would be so destructive upon them. Even though they were children I think the psychological aspect of the dad was no longer the same since he had to kill and abuse other people in his job. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

The dispositional factors that he had to go through during the war made him become the person that he turned out to be. As for Paula she agreed that his conditions made her strong as a person but since she grew up with that set in mind she believes it is healthy. Her dispositional factors made her accept the abuse from her dad. Being surrounded by the military is also a factor why it seems to be normal. Nature and Nurture is what influences us a kids and sticks with us as an adult. That is why I think the twins ended up being rebels even till this time due to the type of household they ended up being raised in. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I had a friend that went though foster care when I was in 8th grade. She was my best friend and when she told me she had to go I didn’t understand until I got older and realize what it was. The whole time she was gone I understood that it was for the best and hopefully when she comes back she will be ok. I was really touched by her story and I got so mad when her step mother would abuse them because no child should go through that and it affects me the most because I love kids. In my future I plan to work with kids. Overall the speech was great and her story was powerful. It could really influence other kids to believe. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I really enjoyed that Paula Kyle came to speak with us. I assumed I’d be bored, but when she started telling her story I was captivated by what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe her father and his new wife. What I admire her for taking a stand for her sisters and cowering away. She’s one of those people that no matter what you do to them they will not break, even if they look it on the outside, her willpower to protect her sisters got her through the life no child should have to. Through all the suffering she endured, the day her mother died she took her life into her own hands and started to make a change. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

When I first saw Paula Kyle I would have never guessed that when she was growing up she was a foster child. After listening to her story it really changed my perspective on the reasons for kids being put in foster programs. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

This book was interesting but hearing Paula Kyle was totally different. It made me actually know what foster care is and how it develops throughout the years. I’ll never stop thinking how strong she is and how she took all this strength to help other children that had a family that could not take care of them. Because being adopted doesn’t mean you are a delinquent or you cause trouble, more often is that your parents cannot take care of you. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I think that the speaker, Paula Kyle was a very inspiring person. I learned what foster care was. I had a little clue as to what it was, but it makes so much more sense now. When she was telling her story, it was heart-breaking hearing all the things that she’s gone though. My eyes even watered a little. She’s such a strong, admiring person, she took her past and learned from it. She didn’t even care about her own life, just about her sisters, which most kids her age wouldn’t do. I couldn’t even imagine going through what she has gone through. It makes me feel blessed that i have a family, like i do. Goshen High School, Goshen IN March 14, 2012

I enjoyed hearing about Paula Kyle’s story. I think that the speaker’s story was sad and her life seemed terribly hard at a young age. I thought it was horrible how her father and step mother treated her and her sisters. Also I find it amazing how no one would ask if something was wrong when they saw them full of bruises. If that were to happen now there would be a total different reaction. I think it’s terrible and sad that parents like that could exist. But I’m glad that the speaker was strong enough to survive and her sisters too .It must have been a terrible childhood to be scared of someone hurting you all the time. Although I’m very sad her little twin sisters had to stay with her abusive father. No child deserves to be treated like that. I’m glad at the end she found a true family in the foster care system; a family that actually cared about her and

Here are some reviews from the Southwest Ohio Independent Living Summit conference held in Cincinnati Ohio . This is a workshop conference put together to help the foster youth transition from foster care to independent living. The youth learn so much from these conferences such as interviewing for jobs, enrolling into colleges, the Job Core was present, and many other volunteers helping the youth in their transition. Lisa Dickson, Communication Chair, for the Foster Care Alumni Association of Ohio, sent me the following reviews from my workshop:    Paula Kyle’s workshop: Adults reported that this was an excellent presentation: “Felt very moved during Paula’s presentation”…”I enjoyed Paula a great deal”… “Loved the speaker and content: how parents receive their foster children.” Youth also said it helped: “Learning that I’m not the only one who has been through hard situations.” Paula Kyle’s workshop:  I am proud to say that I am a Foster Care Alumni, and that I can do my part in helping these youth transition into the wonderful young adults that they are. Several of the youth sat on a panel to help the other youth, in the audience, understand what it is that they feel others should really know about resources available to them. This was a very humbling experience listening, and watching the reactions on the other youth’s faces as they spoke. This was a wonderful experience for me, took me back many years. Thank you Lisa Dickson for your hard work and dedication to these youth, your genuine love and concern always touches my heart.  I wish in the 70’s we had Lisa Dickson’s that would go that extra mile in these transitional years.  For anyone reading this that might be interested in attending the  next one on October 29th in North Canton, Ohio please go to the Foster Care Alumni website on the last tab of this website to see more information.

One of my first caseworkers was Jeannette Pelton!We really enjoyed hearing you speak tonight at the Delaware Office. We appreciate your time. We have had some wonderful (and not so wonderful ) experiences in foster care. We have learned so very much from our “kids”. Best wishes to you will all that you intend to do in the future. Thank you for shining a bright light on foster parents.  Marsha Clark, Foster Parent  Delaware Village Network

Hi Paula, It was a real blessing to hear you speak at the OFCA conference. I hope that some day the children that have passed through our home will be able to say that we have made a difference for them, just as your fosterparents did for you. My life has been touched by you and your story. Amy Senne.”. Foster Mom

Paula, I was in the Ohio Family conference last month and the highlight for me, was you.  As we fight for the children, we wonder if we really matter, I especially have been asking myself that very question.  As hard as your story is, and as terrible as it was, God used it to urge those of us ready to give up that we do matter, we do make a difference. You have regenerated our group from Trumbull County, and I wanted to say thank you. We are hoping that you will be our speaker for our “Rising up” luncheon. I have all your information to give to the agency…God bless you Ms. Paula. If you come to our area we have a great porch for you to relax on.   Sincerely, Becky Hall, Foster Mom

Paula, I am very appreciative of the work you have put into your life and healing process, Paula, as well as the creation of this book. Mostly, I am grateful for the courage it takes you to share your story. I hope our paths will cross again soon! Deepest peace to you — Tracy Cooksey, Foster/Adoption Mom

Paula, I met you at OFCA and just wanted to say that I was so touched by your story and the encouragement that you give to foster parents to keep fighting the fight on behalf of all God’s children that need us in a time of turmoil. Your description of The Ulrey’s has encouraged me to be a better Christian foster parent. Please pass that on to Mr. Ulrey. Admist the evil in the world your story is one of hope for those involved in every aspect of when kids come into care. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story with the world. It’s a story that needs to be shared and I’m glad that you had the courage to stand up for the good in the world. We need more like you. I’m from Trumbull County and I hope that we can make arrangements for you to come to our area. Have a blessed day! Melanie Reese

Dear Paula, Thank you for sharing your memoir with me – it was very touching and insightful! I hope this is a testimony to help others in “the system” and “working in the system!” Thanks again! God Bless!  Simone Moore

Dear Paula, Thank you for sharing your incredible story with me. I have been very moved by it and the certainty that you are not alone in your pain. I look around my classroom and ache for the children whose stories I don’t know. I knew Bonnie Ulrey years ago at Lakeholm Church. She was a beautiful soul! I will be praying for continued healing for you and your family. God Bless, Cheri Murphy

Paula, Thanks for talking to us. Keep with your mission. Help us to be better in what we do. Linda Moenter, MSW, LSW, Department of Job & Family Services Children Services Division Dayton, Ohio

Paula, Thank you for your trip here to Albany, New York! Your presence and speaking at our Foster Parent Awards Dinner, 1st Annual Foster Care Awareness walk, and our Agency was an inspiration to all of us. It truly helped us to appreciate and realize the impact we play in our foster children’s lives.   Albany New York County D.C.Y.F.

Paula, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for you taking part as keynote speaker, in the 46th Annual Foster Parent Banquet. Your life story truly touched a lot of people. I wish you much success as you start your book tour. I will definitely keep your name and number in my files for future events.  Best regards, Daryle L.Cobb, Communication/Community Outreach Specialist Franklin County Ohio

Paula, Thank you for speaking with our group of prospective foster parents, meeting with our Agency staff, and for being the Keynote Speaker at our 2010 Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner. Your presentations are poignant, very compelling, and straight from the heart!  Wishing you much success in all your future endeavors! The Foster Homefinding Unit of Schenectady NY County Dept of Social Services, Carolyn Williams, Tracy Toscaro, Debbie Van Alstyre, Terry Durent, Janice Corker, and Patricia ZychHi

Paula, Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us. I believe the audience was spellbound. All of the workers and foster parents said they were so touched with your story. I especially noticed a couple of our teenage boys who were adopted, paying close attention and I saw a softness in them that I haven’t seen for a while. It was so good for all of us to hear, and be reminded of why we do what we do! I left with the same warm feeling and I am so glad you felt welcome. I think everyone left with a smile! I would like to give some thought to your offer to speak to some of the foster children. Our foster, adoption and kinship families meet monthly, and during that time we provide children’s activities. I think it would be fantastic to have you come and talk to the children, especially our older Independent Living Group. Thanks again! Pamela Barnette, Foster Care Program Coordinator Guernsey County Children Services

Dear Paula, I have not been to such an inspirational event as we had last night in a long time. THANK YOU! I too smiled all night and have continued to do so ll day today. The lessons you taught us are invaluable and yes we would love to have you back. We get our youth and foster families together a lot, so I would like to see if we could coordinate something to fully capitalize on your presence. I will be in touch soon! God Bless for sharing your story.   Kelly Lynch, MSW, LISW-S, LICDC, Executive Director    (2010 Foster Parent Appreciation Awards Dinner Guernsey)

Dear Paula, Thank you for your presentation on April 13, 2010 to the Children Services Division, Adoption and Foster Care Resources Department. The strategic sharing of your experience of being neglected and abused, abruptly taken from your family, multiple foster care placements, separation, loss and finally the road to healing was very enlightening to our staff.  Working in this field we often forget or cannot comprehend the deep life shattering effects our practices can have on the children we work so diligently to protect. You shared some simple things that remind us to take care of the hearts and lives we touch everyday.  As an adoptive and foster parent recruiter, and trainer, I’m also motivated to work harder to to prepare caregivers who can truly meet the physical and emotional needs of our children in care.  If I can be of any assistance to you please do not hesitate to ask.  Sincerely,  Alma Nelson, L.S.W., Supervisor Montgomery County

Thank you for sharing your life story with our foster parents and agency staff. Your message was the highlight of a wonderful evening of appreciation. It is important for your audiences to hear about your struggle and the special people who came into your life to mold you into the successful person you are today. Wishing you continued success as you inspire youth in foster care and those working in child welfare.  Sincerely, Gregory Kahl, Communications Supervisor Richland County Children  Services.

I am Paula’s niece, her sister Terry’s daughter. I never knew much about my mom’s childhood, she never wanted to discuss the details. Anything I ever heard was hush hush. However, after my aunt really started to work and finish her memoir I began to understand why. I never had any idea how horrible those times were for them; my mom was always very careful to ensure that my sister and I never experienced that kind of pain, loneliness, and despair. She has always been very protective and incredibly sensitive to our needs. I have often wondered how it is possible for people who have lived through such traumatic events to rise above them and succeed in life. It would have been so easy for any of them to just throw in the towel; yet you can see from reading this book that not one of them did. My two aunts went on to start their own families and live happy lives and my mother managed to marry a wonderful man and create a career for herself. I cried at times while reading certain sections of this; the thought of people I love going through this kind of turmoil so early in life made me feel physically ill. The sad part is, they weren’t the only ones. It is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this book is to give hope to everyone out there who can’t yet see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s there. You will find it one day. Aunt Paula and Aunt Sharon and my own mother did. It wasn’t easy, but with the knowledge that you are not alone it is possible to do anything. I am even more in awe of my mother after reading this book than I ever was. She is the strongest woman I know, and I know that she would give all the credit to her faith and God pulling her through. And it’s true – by God’s grace she is who she is today. God put certain people and events into her life to get her here. I for one could die happily with the knowledge that I turned out even a tiny bit like my mother. Whatever your circumstances, at least take one thing from reading this memoir – you ARE NOT alone in your struggles. Thank you Aunt Paula for being brave enough to share that through writing your story – I love you!  Andrea Mills

My name is Jacki and my nephew (who got it in his school) brought home your book two days ago, and I have to say, I dont read, but everyday after work I just could’nt put it down. I have been to two foster homes when I was young my father and mother were both alcohlics and I watched as he beat my mom all of the time. One day we were all at a friends house and I went out side to tell my mom something and my dad, which is my step dad since I was two, shot my mom right in front of me.They took me and my sister away from my mom. We had a very rough life as well, I could go on for hours. Anyway what I wanted to ask you is, do you ever wonder how you stay so strong? I pretty much raised my two sisters, and I was raped at nine, and the horrible things I have went through. I dont drink and don’t do drugs and I did it so my 4 kids would never see that. I wanted them to have a life I never had. Yet I have stayed strong and never got to let it out. How did you do that cause I stopped beliveing in god when I was 9? So how do you really cope? Thanks so much for your time and for writting the book.I am going to tell everybody I know to buy it.Thanks again. Jacki

Hi, my name is Angela Bland. This book really got to me bacause I went through some of the stuff you did. So I was wondering on how you made it through all of this. I never really told anyone about my life but you seem like a really nice person to talk to. Please get back to me. I didn’t go through seven foster homes but I was in one and also beaten really bad. I guess this book really got to me because it teaches me that I can help all those kids out there that are going through the same thing you and I went through. It helps me know that not all parents are bad. There are some good parents out there somewhere. I just hope that these kids going through the same thing will find a family that loves them and will take care them. Not be mean and beat them all the time for no reason. I just want to thank you for helping me figure out that im not the only one who has been through the same thing I have, andt o help other people instead of just helping myself. Angela

I am from Mrs. Daileys class, here in Mount Vernon….Just wanted to say, that the hardships that you went through were staggering to my knowledge….I will never feel the same in a long time… I always thought what I suffered through with my own father was horrible as it is…..and it still is…. but the terror that you had to wake up to every day….. that is just so irrevocably horrible…..I can’t even fathom it….and even after you got away from your father, your life was still on the path to the inferno…… I mean, when I got away from my father, life was hard, money was rough, but I got through, and I was lucky…..I just wanted to say, that its amazing that you went through so much, and are still here today, to share your story with others. Sincerly, James

Dear Paula, I am a student at Mt.Vernon High school, you came and talked to my english class. The teacher is Mrs. Daily. I am very pleased with this book; it was one of those books where you start it and you can’t put it down. You have a wonderful story that should be heard and could change the lives of many children. I think you have so much potential and you are one of the strongest people I have ever met. I could not even begin to think, if your story was my life. I give you so much credit for talking and sharing your words of wisdom with young children and teenagers so they know that they have hope if they are in the same position as you. I was astonished on how much courage and faith you have. I will never forget this book and will share it to many of my friends. Thank you for your words of wisdom and faith. Sydney

Dear Paula, your book touched me, as I kept reading and reading a started to think, wow this woman is like superwoman for getting threw this kinda stuff. When you got seperated from your sisters, I felt the lonleynesss through out your words and I kinda understand how it feels to get seperated from my sisters too, but i got lucky and moved in with my cousins. i just wanna say thanks for showing me it will get better with time. –teddy

Dear Paula, I am a part of Ms. Dailey’s class at Mount Vernon High school. I thought that you wrote a very good book and I can’t believe that your father put you through all of that.

Dear Paula Kyle, I am apart of Rita Dailey’s class at Mount Vernon High School. I have read all of your book and wanted to say that it is a very good book. I think that people who don’t fully understand any thing about foster homes should sit down and read your book. I was very surprised when I sat down and started reading the book. It draws you in as a reader to make you want to read more. Just wanted to say that I liked your book, and I would recommend it to other people, and thank you for coming to our class and explaining you book to us.

I am from Ms. Dailey’s class… I think you are one of the strongest people that I have met in my life. I am so happy for you that you are strong enough to tell your story to people all over, not just Knox County, but all over the world. Many people would have kept all of the horrible events that happen to them, just to themselves. Normally I don’t like to read unless it is a really good book, but I sat down the night of that day you came to our school and read half of the book without stopping. I am so happy that you decided to write a book about what happened to you, it showed me that my life isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Thank You Paula!!

You came to my school a week or two ago and told my class a little about your story. From what i heard and saw in your face and actions as you told a little about your story through pain of physical and mental torcher, i could tell this was close to hell for you. And when i think of the saying that there’s always someone out there who has it worst than you, i could hardly believe there could be someone out there that fits the saying when i heard this story. Some of the things Dave did was very cold and heartless i feel he didn’t care to much about others, but himself. Like how could you just give up your three girls? I’m sure you asked that, like did he not care at all? Did this man have feelings?  Anyways, Lynn. She is a perfect decripiton (in my eyes) as a worthless step mother. The things she could do to a little child. Like making you say stuff about your mother, swinging you by your hair, like cutting your hair short after being nice to you. Who does things like this to children. Its sad but it shows children raised by mothers like this, phsyical and mentally stressed to the max, end up in prison or going crazy.  But i see that you got out, and are doing pretty good. This is an example of, “It’ll get better.” Because, by the looks of  it, you are doing so much better. but Thanks for the story. Really enjoyed it. Keep sharing.-Bolten

You came to Mount Vernon High about a week ago or so and shared your story with us. I then went home that night and read your book from 9:00 to 12:00 and it reminded me a lot of my family and what had happened to me. It also made me realize that a lot of what I went through might not have been so bad compared to what had happened to you. When I was born (I was an “accident”) my dad became really violent with my mom and coming home more and more just plain out drunk. He’s really violent when he’s drunk also. And over little things like not shutting the bathroom door he would become enraged and slam me to the floor, no matter where it was, and make me do it himself. All the while I couldn’t breathe, but I would always try to fight back. So when I turned 7 I went into the custody of Wayne County Children Services. I was moved to my grandparents for 3 years. My grandpa was the same way, except he never drank. We lived on a farm and went to church every Sunday. He always overworked me and made me do a lot of work I wasn’t comfortable doing. He had me driving tractors and mowing when I was 8, plowing fields sometimes and driving the four-wheeler around. Whenever I did something he didnt like he would usually grab my arm and squeeze it leaving a bruise. When my 11th birthday came I moved back home. It wasn’t any better, by that time I just wanted to be left alone and be away from my brother and sister always screaming and yelling and my mom and dad fighting over stupid crap. So I would play online games all day every day, never doing my homework failing every class. My dad would always tell me to get off the computer and when I wouldn’t listen I would be thrown on the floor and thrown down steps. I would always fight back, punching, kicking, throwing heavy stuff, picking up pipes. The police were always called by my mom, usually 32 times in a month sometimes twice a day. Eventually they got tired of it and blamed it all on me and put me in Juvenile Detention. I was in and out of there and then finally I was in for 4 straight months. After I was released I was back in foster care. My first foster home was a very good one. Edith and Richard. They were very down to earth, and old couple, but very loving and understanding. But I was removed from there for what reason I didn’t know and moved to a respite home for a week. after there I was moved to hesterville with Pat & Art. I was really mistreated there by Pat, she would always turn stuff around on me and my foster brother to get us in trouble with Art. But after complaint after complaint from me I was removed after a year. They never have started actually taking foster kids, just respite kids. Then I was moved to one in wooster. They were very nice Ann and Dave. Dave was a manager at Ryan’s Restaraunt. After 6 months they just dropped me in my home again…. that lasted about a month (this was my Freshman year) i got into another fight with my dad and my mom was going to call the police, I knew I would go back into foster care so I tryed convincing my mom I would kill my self so she wouldn’t call, but it didnt work. So they put me in akron childrens psychiatric care….which was retarded, I didn’t even belong there at all. From there I went to Akron in a group home. I started drugs and everything after I was moved into a ghetto foster home. From there I moved to the CRC grouphome  here in Mount Vernon. It was a true experience for being there over a year. And now finally i’m in Corey’s home in my Junior year. I really dont know when i’m going home, but I want to. Me and my family get along fine now. But your story was sort of an inspiration to me to just ignore the bull crap and go home. But i’m glad im not the only one that has experienced things like what you went through. But thank you for sharing your story with all of us, im sure there is more people that need to know about this kind of stuff all around to make this world a better place.  Coty

It was a pleasure to have Paula Kyle visit my U.S. Literature class and introduce her book, On the Edge of Unthinkable. Paula’s story is compelling, and her presentation is very moving. The students seemed anxious to begin reading the book, which was somewhat of a surprise to me, since many of them are reluctant readers who read below grade level. When I assigned the first chapters of the book, I fully expected to get the usual comments, such as “Do we have to read this book?” “Will you read it to us?” “It looks boring!” etc., but instead, the students began reading immediately and read in absolute silence the entire 50 minute class period! I was both pleased and surprised. This is a great book for raising awareness about the plight of foster care, and I would especially recommend it for at-risk students and reluctant readers. Rita Dailey, English Department Chair

Paula has an incredible story to share with people about her life as a child in the foster care system. With great clarity, she takes us into the system she had to maneuver as a lost child, and her truly heroic attempts to find her siblings brought tears to my eyes. She reminds us that the human spirit is not easily quenched, that one kind word can give hope needed for a child’s survival, and she holds all of us accountable for how we look at and treat our children. I would highly recommend this book to people interested in becoming foster parents, to college students who are studying social work and to parents -sometimes we don’t know what we do to those we love. Jeanette TFW Pelton MSW LISW-S Mt Vernon Nazarene College Professor

Having met Paula only a few years ago, but knowing of her for over thirty years, I am proud she was able to put down in words something that had to bring back some very tough memories for her. Her book touches our hearts in our family as my wife’s mother was Paula’s mother’s sister as mentioned in the book. Both Paula’s mother Dorothy and my wife’s mother Rita were taken from us at a young age. They were both remarkable women who tragically died young but left us with some of their hopes and dreams through the kids they left behind. Paula proves that it is possible to recover from the most difficult circumstances and go on to be strong and successful. Congratulations on a most interesting book Paula. Good luck. Michael Martin

A truly moving book written from an incredibly honest perspective.  This was an eye-opening experience for me as I have no experience with the foster care system and what can take place.  The book is written from a personal point of view that really allows you to connect with the author and how she was feelingat the time. Definitely a tough book to put down once you start reading.  Joe Loudenslager

I sincerely commend you on your courage and strength to survive all that you encountered as a child and to then have the inner strength to share this with others. You are amazing! I read this as a mom and current foster parent and found it to be such an encouragement. Children come and children go and I often wonder if we are actually making a difference in their lives. We share our faith, love and guidance with them, but often times feel like we are continuously climbing mountains. This Christmas, we were blessed with a visit from a young man who was part of our family for about a year. What a gift! I applaud you and your sisters for sharing your experiences in the foster care system. I also applaud Bonnie & Larry for being such wonderful, loving and dedicated parents. Thank you again and I wish you much love, peace andhappiness! Wendy

This book touched me in so many ways. Like so many that have read this book, I could not put it down. The part that amazed me is how different the families were that took Paula in. Out of the seven familes that she stayed with, one really stood out. Larry and Bonnie Ulrey. They welcomed her into their home and treated her like their own. The part that I thought was really neat was that Larry never called her his “foster daughter”. He always referred to her as Daughter number 2 which had to make her feel special. Some of the other familes that she stayed with seems to be very uncomfortable and not welcoming. A foster family is a very serious and important role to play. The goal is to give that child the best care and love possible and the Ulrey’s definitely accomplished that. I cant imagine being a child going through a difficult life and then to be placed with familes that don’t seem to really care about you. Everyone knows what its like being somewhere feeling like you don’t belong. Imagine being a little child feeling like this with people you don’t even know. The Ulrey’s seem to be model foster arents. They made a commitment to raise Paula the best they possibly could and to keep the 3 sisters as close as possible. At the time, Larrys employer was transferred. He gave up that opportunity and retirement in order to try to keep the sisters together. That showed true commitment and the “difference” compared to other families she encountered. They understood how important the sister connection was. Paula is an amazing person and I believe without the Ulrey’s in her life, things would be different. They gave her the tools to become the person she is today. She gained the hope to be something better than the obstacles that she faced as a child. Kellie Cosgrave

I started reading this book and I could not put it down. I started & finished it on a Sat afternoon. Paula is one of the nicest people and to know the things that she has been through makes me sick to my stomach. She has come so far and should be so proud of herself. I loved having the other perspectives in the book. It showed the situation through different eyes and how a horrible situation like this affects everyone involved. I think that anyone who wants to be a foster parent has to read this! The more we understand how we can better the foster care system and the children involved in it the better everyone is… the children, the families they become a part of, their children, society,etc! I thank Paula & her family for taking the time to share their experiences. I know it had to be a very hard decision and an even tougher one to sit down and relive the horrible memories. I hope for forgiveness and peace for Paula and her family…. and believe that what comes around goes around! Shelby McDaniels

On the Edge of Unthinkable is an amazing and remarkable story about perseverance and the will to survive. This book should be a requirement for college students thinking about going into this field of study, those already in the field and those contemplating being a Foster Parent. I give the author alot of praise for making her life so transparent so that others can learn from her experience. On the Edge of Unthinkable is really UNTHINKABLE! It is unimaginable how three sisters could be DELIBERATELY kept apart at a time when they needed each other the most. What is really amazing to me is that as much as these three sisters love each other, their relationship is explosive when they are all together even today-some 30plus years later. How can an agency that is supposed to be helping children help these children better reconnect with each other? My hope this that this book can teach caseworkers, foster parents and anyone who works with these children how to do this. Another incident in the book that stands out in my mind is when her Foster Dad had all the adoption papers written up because he was so sure she would say yes to his proposal of adoption but she said NO! The first thought most of us would have is WHY NOT? You finally have parents who love you unconditionally! How ungrateful! But once the author explains why, you come to easily understand why being adopted doesn’t necessarily mean the perfect life. You’ll have to read the book to really understand the complexity of it all. Jeanine Brienzi

What I got from the book as I can remember it is your real mom was a great woman. Just like a lot of people these days did not see a way out did not know how to deal with it. Then how could a person who just came into your lives hours ago treat you like that. That lady obviously had some serious brain malfunction. Does not matter if you met hours ago or not. Your whole lifetime you should never be treated like that. Was a relief when I was reading you and your sisters were walking up the driveway and there were 3 different cars. Did not know what to think besides who knows where this path is going to lead, but it could not have been much worse than the one you were in. Never thought that a program of the government could have been so beneficial for you. Good to know there are people out there like Judith. HELL OF A LADY!! I like her. Must have been weird always picking up and going new places, I can relate though. I was always with my family but we constantly moved and that made me numb to the world. Then one day you got a place that could not have been better for you. When reading how Bonnie and Larry were with you, came an unbelievable amount of comfort. Don’t really have any other words for it than they were Perfect parents. With what I read if all parents were like them we would have a wonderful world. Glad you and your sisters made it through. Christopher Trice

This is a must for parents that want to foster or that want to work with children. I grew up in a Childrens Home in the 50″s until I graduated and now work in a treatment facility for teenagers. I read this book and could not put it down. All foster parents should have to read this book before they even consider taking in children. This was written from the heart and from someone who had been there and knows from experience what it is like to be in foster homes. Maybe after they read this, they will change the way some people think they should treat “foster children” and start treating them just like their “own, like the Ulreys did. God bless families like the Ulreys. Thank you Paula for writing this book, I know how hard this had to be, but with people like you, maybe our kids will have a chance. Debbie

I met Paula almost a year before I had the opportunity to read her memoir. I can honestly say that I was in total shock while reading about her, and her siblings experiences, both before and after entering the foster care system. Paula is living proof that caring individuals can make such a difference between a good outcome, or devastation.  Paula’s book touched my heart at many levels. There are so many of us with problems that stem from our childhood experiences, drugs, alcohol, physical, sexual, and mental abuse. So many of us that fall through the cracks by our own choice. So many of us that forget that no matter what happened to us, we have the choice to change our lives. I am amazed and inspired by a woman who encountered so much, and overcame so much. After reading this memoir and knowing the genuinely kind, fun, caring and responsible person that Paula is, has given me so much hope for my own hurdles. And a friend who knows how to cross them.  Thank you Paula!  Tina Spencer

I applaud you for your strength and courage to share your story to help others know that they are not alone. You have made a tremendous step that will reach out and touch the hearts of others like Bonnie and Larry, opening the eyes of those who read and begin to learn that they too can make a difference for another hurting child. I believe your book will carry this legacy and continue to help many, even those yet to be born into similar atrocities! As my friend, I have always hurt for you and prayed for you knowing only some of what you were forced to endure. After reading your book, I am sad that my friend had to endure all that you did. But I am so proud of you… you rose above to overcome, you have made a better life for your children and yourself. And, you didn’t just stop there. You persevered to share “your story” to make a better future for others you don’t even know. I am proud of you and I am proud that you are my friend! Mary Bogner

Paula I am thankful it was my doctor who’s office you came into and blessed me  with a copy of your book. I applaud your courage, brutal honesty, and triumph in
this book that you have shared with so many. Being an adopted child your book  brought out the feelings of not belonging, not feeling good enough, and even not
being worthy of love that I have struggled with for years. I am truly greatful  for the decision of my birth mother who at the age of 15 decide that she could  not care for me and made the most selfless act a mother can do. My adoptive parents always showed me love the best way they knew how, but everyone makes  mistakes as I know now being a mother of two. Some decisions my parents made left me with a wall up that guarded all of the bad and the good from entering my life. Feeling disconnected from my adoptive mother still presents a struggle for me and my daughter’s relationship to this day, I have a lot of trouble being affectionate with her, among not trusting females at all. I had the need to constantly be in a relationship stemming from my dad’s move to Texas when I was in grade school, I yearned for male compainionship and still feel as though it makes me complete to have someone. It is a catch twenty two though I wont let myself be vulnerable and do not trust completely. Your book made me realize some of the self destruction that I have put on myself all these years and that I can control my reaction, and how I chose to learn from my experiences both good and bad. I will begin the search for my birth family in November this year Chicago has changed its adoption laws where adoptees can request a copy of there original birth certificate which may or may not have identifying information on it. I know this may not make all my problems disappear but the need to at least try is overwhelming. Just seeing a picture of a relative that may resemble me is huge, perhaps just a name. I just want to know where I came from there is a sense of loss I carry and feel completely alone at times. Thank you Paula I dont want to write my life story on your website, but am thankful you walked into my office that day and shared your story which I know will and has touched numerous lives including my own. Much success and happiness to you and your family.  Sebrina Thompson