“Choosing Peace: One Orphan’s Guide to Healing from Trauma”
By Shalita O’Neale
IngramSpark, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-7347084-0-0, 142 pages, $15.99
Being successful in life isn’t easy, but by a young age, Shalita O’Neale was on her way to success despite the challenges of her early childhood. In her new book, “Choosing Peace” O’Neale shares the story of losing her mother at a young age and being raised among family under very challenging, traumatic circumstances. Ultimately, she ends up in foster care, transitions to adulthood without permanency and begins to build her own life at college and afterward. The book is less about her experiences in foster and kinship care than it is about her learning who she is and building a life that recognizes how her early years have impacted her, but that she can take ownership of.
“Choosing Peace” is an interesting look through O’Neale’s journey and the things that she took away from her experiences. In one chapter, she shares, “I realized as an adult, I was looking at everyone and everything through the lens of UNs,” including unwanted, unlovable, unprotected, untrustworthy and unselfish. Her self-worth, or lack thereof, was tied her childhood experiences. As an adult, she has had to undo this type of thinking and rebuild her life to be a reflection of what she wants.
The book is a quick read and nice window into the world of a former foster youth who has overcome much to make her life what she wants. Each chapter includes notes and journal reflections with guidance on how to implement some of the changes in your own life. “Choosing Peace” is definitely worth the read for foster, adoptive or kinship families, as well as current youth in care.
— Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel
– – –
Fostering Families Today magazine is the most comprehensive foster care, adoption and kinship care magazine offering resources, expert opinions, practical advice and information on the latest evidence-based best practices for supporting children and youth who come from traumatic backgrounds. Subscribe to our foster parent magazine today or contact us about agency group rates.