The Lost Child

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D., Editor

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December 2007

In This Issue:

1.  Welcome
2.  The Lost Child 
3.  Renewed Hope
4.  Announcements

1.  Welcome

Welcome. This is the holiday season, the time for celebrating, renewal,
and hope.  When you look over this last year, what has touched you the
most? Did you get what you wanted? Or, would you have liked more to happen? 
How has this affected your intentions for next year?
What I received was different than what I had expected, even better. This can
also happen to you. Let me share my story.

The Lost Child

It was December 2002, and I was in Central Missouri, doing yet another investigation for an inmate on death row.  As an expert witness in human development, I had been asked to testify on the early childhood factors that impacted the development of his personality.

Was this person a monster, an evil person?  Or, was there another story?  As I saw all too frequently, there was another story, one of a lost child – a child that had fallen between the cracks of a busy, fragmented world.

The pattern was similar to many I had seen previously; poverty, broken family, school problems, shame, blame, and guilt. As in the rest of my investigations, the crime had been committed by age 18.  The child's most basic need, to be connected and significant, had not been met.  Instead, it had been replaced
with fear, anger, drugs, and crime. 

The choice now was death or life in prison. And, he was not the only one. The prison business is one of the fastest growing in the country.

I was concerned. Must it be this way?  No. We have enough information to do more for our children. It was then that I decided to shift gears, and use my background in human development and psychology to touch the hearts and minds of the community to effect a positive impact for change. 

3.  Renewed Hope

Over the last five years I reinvented my career.  I sought out advanced techniques to better access the early developmental emotional states and patterns. Then I delved in positive psychology, the study of character strength and virtue, and
in the skills needed for successful, healthy relationships. Finally, it all came together with a deeper understanding of the law of attraction. 

This year, my story is different.  Again, I was asked to serve as an expert witness
in Central Missouri, -- this time to reunite a child with the biological parent.

In the courtroom, faces were grim and pinched, grievances had been expressed, and the air was tense. An infant had been placed in alternative care and local groups had voiced concerns.  Children in foster care had died.  Immediate
placement of a child was not always better than the child remaining with the parent.

This time I was most grateful to be able to speak to the character strengths, virtues, and developmental assets present in the family -- generosity, perseverance, spirituality, and to me, the most powerful, forgiveness. 

The judge ruled in favor of including an evaluation of not only potential problems,
but also of the developmental assets, virtues and strengths in the home. This ignited a broader, more positive approach. The child was reunited with the biological parent.  

What touched me most deeply about this story was the power of the community to work together for good.  Once they were made aware of the bigger picture, their perspective shifted; instead of making complaints they focused on working together as a community in the best interest of the child.     

Our children are our hope for the future. Often, the voice of the child is hidden,
both within ourselves and within the children in our lives. Once it is honored
and expressed,and our higher ideals are acknowledged, the negative can be transcended.
We can build a new future. I hope you include this renewal in your intentions for next year.  Thank you for being my very best gift, the gift of being YOU.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

5.  Announcements

Women, would you like to experience more flexibility in your life, more peace at
home, and true wealth?  Then come join me for our workshop on Saturday afternoon, January 19th, 2008. 

“For Women:  Secrets to Wealth and Peace”

Call me at 314-729-2855 or visit:


© Copyright 2007 Alice Vlietstra. All rights reserved.

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Successful Relating