As we have interacted with foster and adoptive parents through the years, there is one theme that comes through loud and clear – Help! Because of our own experiences, we know that even though there are what we call “Disney World adoptions”, many of us struggle in our journey of parenting children who have faced separation, rejection, neglect, and/or abuse. In the past year, we have asked many families what would be most helpful and the overwhelming response has been the need for support, relevant trainings, and a place to find encouragement and families with similar experiences. We heard you and have organized relevant trainings over a variety of topics.

Trainings are held in Mechanicsburg, PA and are open to any foster, kinship, and adoptive parents. These free sessions will each be taught by experts and professionals; those right in the midst of adoption and foster care. Sessions are held on Saturday mornings, 9:00 – 11:00AM at Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Church (1050 S. York St., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055) with snacks, a speaker, Q and A, and time to connect, encourage, and support each other. Certificates will be given at the end of each session for foster parents who wish to submit these hours for their mandatory training. Please check with your agency to see if these topics/hours will qualify.

Please spread the word; tell your caseworker(s) and fellow adoptive/foster parents. We encourage you to bring close family and friends who would benefit from a better understanding of the needs within your family, and of your children from hard places in particular. Your guests will benefit from the speakers and participants as they hear stories of others in similar circumstances. We have found that for single parents, it is especially helpful to have at least 1 or 2 people who can walk this journey with you so invite your family and friends to join you.

Below is our 2018 schedule.  Please check back for updates.

January 27 – “Legalities of Foster Care and Adoption”, Speaker: Rachel Thiessen

February 17 – “Kids and the Internet”, Speakers: Dr. Kevin Barnes, Pediatrician and Susan Vigliano, PEACE Promise – We’re in an age of technology unlike anything humanity has ever seen.  There are some aspects of technology that are beneficial and have taken us to new levels and places of connection and information that are wonderful. At the same time, there is a whole new access to things that are harmful, like pornography and instant access to perceptions of social acceptance.  As foster and adoptive parents, it’s important that we’re informed and leading well.

March 17 – “Living in the RADish Patch, Part 2”, Speaker: Regina Fike – Last year Regina began to teach us about RAD and how she and her family were able to love and connect with foster and adoptive children in their home. She is back by popular demand, continuing the conversation.

April 21 – “Maintenance for Resilience and the Long Haul…The impact of Compassion Fatigue on Foster and Adoptive parents”, Speaker: Toni Shearer – Compassion Fatigue is a serious condition that is preventable. However, most people who are at risk for and suffer from Compassion Fatigue neglect the most important intervention to address this culprit which is themselves. Those at most risk for Compassion Fatigue are those with desires to help others. It is hard to create a life of self care, yet it is essential to being an effective caregiver, role model and support for children in care or adopted into your homes. This training will introduce participants to Compassion Fatigue, recognize how to identify it, and strategies for minimizing the risks for us and our partners.

May 19 – “Why Do Biological Parents Matter?”, Speaker: Pamela Haddad

September 22 – “Children from Hard Places and the Brain”, We will listen to a recording from the 2017 Empowered to Connect Simulcast and follow with discussion around tables. This training will give you insight into why your child behaves as he does and how you can help him move from the “downstairs brain” to the “upstairs brain”.

October 20 –  – “We Didn’t Know What We Didn’t Know”, We will listen to another recording from the 2017 Empowered to Connect Simulcast and follow with discussion. We can probably all say that we went into foster care or adoption, not knowing all that we needed to know. Let’s encourage and uplift each other as we learn and walk this journey together.