SHERIDAN — Amber Van Dyke grew up in a diverse home and has since created her adult home to look similarly. As a child fully integrated into a mixed family of foster and adopted children, Van Dyke understood firsthand what it means to be raised with children needing guidance outside of their birth parents.
Van Dyke moved from being raised in that environment to following closely behind her mother’s footsteps, working with children and in behavioral sciences.
Her career work before starting Hope Adoptions and Consulting, LLC, prepared her with mental health and behavioral health education and a positive support system through Van Dyke and her husband’s local church family.
The couple adopted a couple of their children and followed it up by facilitating adoption support services through the First Baptist Church, providing services to families not readily available to the Van Dyke’s when they first adopted.
Van Dyke’s current adoption business supports families before, during and after an adoption — a service many agencies do not provide and one Van Dyke believes to be the most essential to having a successful adoption experience. Trauma, Van Dyke teaches, permeates all adoptions, from infants to older adolescents.
“For some people it’s a lifelong struggle with all the different emotions that are associated with that,” Van Dyke said about dealing with trauma in adopted or foster children. “Trauma can happen clear back to the beginning of conception.”
The biggest struggle personally for Van Dyke’s family is working through traumatic pasts of her children before they even became part of their family and the effects trauma has had on them physiologically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally.
“That has been the biggest struggle and how to help lead your child to a place of healing in all of that,” Van Dyke said.
The businesswoman and mother has been a pioneer in bringing that kind of education and support to adoptive families to Sheridan. In addition, Van Dyke helped coordinate and provide support for Summer of Hope, a program that brings a group of adoptable children from a foreign country to stay with potential adoptive families for a few weeks in the summer. The children learn and experience a different culture from their own and, ideally, would meet and stay with their future parents.
The Van Dykes live in eastern Sheridan and live a lifestyle filled with ranching lessons, 4-H projects of all types and traveling with Van Dyke’s husband’s business.
Van Dyke and her husband utilize their skills to teach children life skills and therapeutic methods through animal interaction and care.
“It’s a fun blend of all of that, but even the rural lifestyle has been an amazing piece for my children and their healing,” Van Dyke said. “It’s been a really piece. I wonder what we would have done if we’d had to grow up in town. How would we have survived if we lived in town?”
The growth and support of Van Dyke’s business and family could not have been done without her strong, deep faith in Christ, support from family and their faith community, and her impact continues to touch families throughout Sheridan County and the region.