Meet JRI's Service Navigator

Our Navigator personally answers questions and talks with you about resources that may be available in the community to meet your individualized needs. If you have any questions about our programs or services, or aren't sure what you need, contact our Service Navigator, Rachel Arruda, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.

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Little Miracle

Attachment and Letting Go

By: Courtney Edge-Mattos

Mrs. M was gone for two weeks.  She cried for the first two days, then checked in with the respite parents regularly.  “Is she doing okay?  Is she eating?  How is she sleeping?”

Mrs. A, respite parent for Mrs. M's 13 month old miracle baby (born substance exposed at 26 weeks gestation, in the hospital for nearly three months before her release to our foster parent, Mrs. M) carried Little Miracle into the office, beaming with delight.  “She’s sleeping more, just getting up once or twice.  And she is starting to try to say names!”  Mrs. A had cuddled and loved Little Miracle for those two weeks.  They played peekaboo and clapping games while waiting to Mrs. M.  Staff cooed and chattered to Little Miracle, who watched with solemn eyes. 

Mrs. M entered the room while Little Miracle faced away.  She called her name softly, and we watched Little Miracle realize what that voice meant.  She turned, disbelief clear in her long-lashed eyes.  “Little Miracle, look who came home???  I missed you, my girl!”  Sunlight radiated from Little Miracle’s cheeks. Her feet paddled the air, her chubby arms reached.  Mrs. M scooped her up and Little Miracle leaned in, resting her forehead against Mrs. M’s, looking deeply into her eyes.  She sat back, looked at the room full of staff members, and clapped her hands enthusiastically.  She reached toward Mrs. A, one hand grasping Mrs. M, one Mrs. A, her caretakers, her safe people, her homes.  She grinned, nubby white teeth sparkling. 

In a few short weeks, Mrs. M will say goodbye to Little Miracle.  While she was caring for a family member and Little Miracle was on respite, the Department of Children and Families identified a forever family for Little Miracle.  She will move there.  She will hold no conscious memory of Mrs. M taking her home from the hospital, or the night feedings every two hours to get her weight up, of the walking the halls when she was fussy.  She won’t remember Mrs. A, either, who practiced Peek-A-Boo with a blanket and comforted Little Miracle when she missed Mrs. M.  But she will feel it.  She will always feel that she was loved from the beginning, that she was safe, that she was cherished and valued.  Hopefully her forever family will forever respect her first home, her roots, and will keep that connection, so that Little Miracle will know that her first home will always hold a placed for her in their hearts.

To our foster families who love so completely and let go when the time comes, we are in awe of your courage and your heart.  Thank you for the gifts you give. 

To learn more about fostering, please reach out to us today.  A child is waiting.  #FosterHopeFosterCare

www.jri.org/fostercare

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