ATN Angel: Gail Trenberth

In celebration of ATN’s 2016 Angels in Adoption award, we’re profiling ATN members who have helped ATN win the award — and who have themselves been Angels to families and children.

by:  Nancy Spoolstra

Gail TrenberthOne of the FIRST angels related to attachment and trauma issues was Gail Trenberth. Gail founded the Attachment Disorder Parent Network in the early 90’s, although it wasn’t a planned launch! Gail was invited to the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about Gail’s struggles with her daughter, and after the show Gail was inundated with desperate parents looking for answers and support. I had 3 struggling adoptees under my roof by the time I first heard the words “Reactive Attachment Disorder.” The Internet was in its infancy, so I don’t really remember how I found out about Gail, but I clearly remember the first time I called her. I think we talked for well over an hour. I didn’t ask if “now is a good time?” for her to talk to me…. I just exploded with words and frustrations and tears and intense emotions.  Years later I would remember that fact as it became my turn to be the voice at the other end of the phone line.

I had the privilege of serving with Gail on the ATTACh Board of Directors in the late 90’s, and it was at that time that our organizations merged. Gail had invested significant amounts of time and energy as a one-woman show for nearly a decade, and she was running out of gas. She knew “her” parents would be well cared for by ATN and she was happy to step back. It was with the same comfort level that I handed the reins to Julie Beem and allowed myself the luxury of stepping back. I will forever be grateful to Gail for being the first Voice in the Wilderness for “our” families and for being there for me in SO many ways.

Can you think of someone who has been an ATN Angel? Join the celebration by sending us your nomination here:

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