Tonight's special guest is ShirleyAlexis Johnson-Brady from Bellingham, Washington, a returning and active NAASCA family member. Originally from Oklahoma, Shirley is a survivor of various kinds of child abuse and the founder of several early childhood trauma and adoption related support groups. A victim of abandonment 3 times as a child and a Native American of Cherokee genealogy, she was first abandoned by her birth parents in 1973. At just one and a half, Shirley was diagnosed as suffering from the effects of severe starvation, malnourishment and neglect, and was not expected to survive. She later enduring an abusive but failed 6 year adoption from age 3 to age 9. This ended in a painful termination due to the abuse and daily isolation from human contact. Transferred to the Pacific Northwest, she was re-adopted at 12 into a home with a pedophile and alcoholic father. After a year she was able to convince her adoptive mother to divorce him. At 14 Shirley entered into crisis response and support programs meant to promote her own healing. But she found many of those who were supposed to help her hadn't a clue how treat her. She says, "I learned as a teen that I needed to identify my emotions. I began writing a journal, which I continue to do today." Volunteering with other high risk teenagers was another outlet that finally connected Shirley to the world. She'd never bonded with a human being as a child. She writes, "My endeavors gradually became my life's daily purpose in accordance with the response I began receiving early on from adult survivors of abuse."
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