Empowered to Connect

On Friday and Saturday, Laura and I attended Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect Conference. Though the actual conference took place in San Antonio, our church here in Nashville was one of hundreds around the country (and world) carrying the simulcast.

The focus of the conference was how trauma impacts the brain, and how foster or adoptive parents can help the brain overcome these developmental setbacks to create healthy attachment.

There is so much I could say about the conference, but honestly, we’re still processing it. We haven’t even talked to each other about it very much. What I can say is that I will never look at my students the same way, and I feel more prepared to handle whatever needs a foster child brings with them. [^1]

The conference was led by Dr. Karyn Purvis, who wrote “The Connected Child,” which I will definitely be reading now. Her way of speaking about complex neuroscience made it accessible, interesting, and most importantly, gave hope that we can make a difference in the lives of hurting kids.

Another book this made me want to look into was “The Out-of-Sync Child,” which discusses sensory processing disorder. This was spoken about during one of the talks at the conference, but was there was so much information, I want to go back through the topic with a book.

So though I am no authority on raising a foster or adoptive child, I would highly recommend this material and conference to anyone. It was very real about the types of behavior you can encounter, but gave practical tools to help heal the relational wounds children have encountered.

A Quick Update

With the launch of this blog and finally telling everyone about our plans to foster and adopt, we get a lot of questions about how things are going and where we are in the process. I thought I would take this chance to share a few things that have happened since we last posted.

First, we finished our PATH classes on Monday!

For the last 7 Mondays, we have spent 3-4 hours in classes being trained to be foster parents. With me having 4 hours of grad school on Tuesday nights, these classes were excruciating for me (well, really it was some of the people in the class with us). However, the content was good, and we learned a lot about the process involved in fostering. But now we’re done, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

The next step is the home study. We were told that approximately two weeks after finishing PATH, we would be contacted to schedule this. There will be 4 meetings (two with us as a couple, and one each individually). From what we can tell, this will take us into June.

We’re looking at being eligible for a placement by mid to late June. This is just a guess. It could definitely take longer, but we’re not thinking it will be sooner.

One thing we have learned recently about the process is that specifying an age is not quite as specific as we had originally thought.

Our first understanding was we could simply say we want to take in children ages 5 and under, and DCS would honor that. What we now know is that the ranges you can choose from are 0-12, 12-18, and 0-18. We do not have to say yes to every placement, but if we do not accept a placement within 10 months (or so), there is a possibility our house could be closed.

So, right now we’re having to re-shape our plans and prepare for a child up to 12. This would not be our preference, but we really do feel called to fostering at this point, so we are trusting God to bring the child(ren) into our family that need to be there.

We’re busy trying to get a bedroom together that would appeal to either gender at any age, and I’m working hard to finish out my first year of teaching well.

We will continue to share here as things process.

Thank you for all of your support and prayers. We appreciate it so much.

[^1]: I know I will never be completely prepared to handle whatever needs a foster child will bring into our house, but I feel like I have now been given a real, proven set of tools to help.