Catch up on what’s currently happening on showhope.org. Show Hope is a non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals and communities to meet the most pressing needs of orphans in distress by providing 1) homes for waiting children through adoption aid grants, and 2) life-saving medical care for orphans with special needs.
We know some readers just said “Amen” in their heads, if not actually out loud.
No matter the context or circumstances, the difficulty of parenting is true across the board. It’s hard, but absolutely worth it. And the specific stories of the children our work impacts can be unique. Many children who come home through adoption experience trauma and early-attachment injuries. This means that the healing process parents work to shepherd their children through can be complex and challenging to navigate.
Thankfully, you are not alone on this journey. There are communities of parents all over the world to offer support, encouragement, and advice. Hopefully, you can find a local community through your church that supports the needs of your family day-in and day-out.
There are also a number of books, articles, and other resources that provide research-based, practical help.
Here are four resources you won’t want to miss.
The Connected Child
Much of our work in Pre+Post Adoption Support is owed to the incredible life and work of Dr. Karyn Purvis, and this book is the cornerstone of it all. “The Connected Child” is beloved by many in the adoption community, and considered a trusted guide and place of help.
In this book, Dr. Purvis, Dr. David Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine seek to help parents of children impacted by early trauma build healthy and connected relationships so that healing can occur. Called “A tremendous resources for parents and professionals alike” by the National Council for Adoption, we cannot recommend this book enough.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) is the motivating force behind the work and resources of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU. The Purvis Institute has put together a number of resources for learning the basics of TBRI, and this DVD series is a great place to start.
The Healing Families DVD Series combines expert analysis with real-life examples to teach practical skills to parents and professionals. The lessons are broken up into sections, which make this series great for busy parents who may need them the most. Through the course of these seven DVDs, you’ll gain an understanding of the foundational elements of TBRI.
Published in 2010, “Wounded Children, Healing Homes” addresses the reality of unmet expectations that many have experienced in the adoption journey. Early-attachment injuries create unique circumstances, and working through these circumstances doesn’t always go as planned.
This book offers encouragement, validation, and solutions for some of the challenges of parenting. Many have found glimmers of hope in its pages.
In partnership with Empowered to Connect and the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, Show Hope presents the Empowered to Connect Conference once a year. This two-day event features some of the leading research and teaching on attachment to educate parents and professionals who care for children impacted by adoption and foster care.
Along with the in-person event, a live simulcast is offered through hundreds of sites all around the country, and even internationally. Wherever you are, you can bring this teaching to your community. Every year we hear new stories of how this conference made a meaningful impact in the lives of children and families.
Meet Jay. This lovable little boy can melt any heart. The nurses and nannies dote on him, and he soaks it all up! Jay will be 2 years old this spring, and he is excited to start preschool soon. He already loves to sneak in and join his older friends for songs and playtime. He enjoys mimicking the teacher and older children when they say their numbers or recite the alphabet. He’s determined to keep up with the other children, and we know he will do so well in class.
Even though Jay is an active boy, he loves to spend time cuddled up in his nanny’s arms. Anyone would describe Jay as cheerful, and you can often find him dancing in the hallway or driving around toy cars with his friends. Whenever someone walks by, he’ll usually give them a friendly “hello” or “bye-bye” while blowing a kiss.
Jay lives at the Care Center in Beijing. He came into our care when he was only a few weeks old, and we have loved watching him grow into a wonderful and cuddly toddler. Jay was born with a urinary tract condition, but nothing stops him from keeping up with all of his friends.
Thank you to everyone who helps provide care for amazing kids like Jay. You make a meaningful impact in their lives and help provide the space for children to thrive.
Will you join us as we pray that Jay will continue to do well in our care, and that he would soon know the love and nurture of a family through adoption?
We’re so excited for you to meet Kevin! He’s a bright, kind, and wonderful boy. Kevin came into our care when he was 6 months old, and he’s kept us smiling ever since. He now lives at the Care Center in Beijing.
Kevin recently celebrated his fourth birthday, and it was such a fun party. He and his friends played with bubbles (always a favorite) and balloons, ate lots of Funfetti cake, and made birthday crowns to wear.
It’s easy to love Kevin, and his heart is so full of love in return. He gives big hugs and sweet kisses. Whenever a friend is feeling a little down, Kevin is quick to help cheer them up with either a hug or tickle. He is almost always smiling.
When Kevin began preschool last year he was shy and quiet, but he has since broken out of his shell and let his personality shine. He is learning his colors—yellow is his favorite—and he’s also learning his ABCs, and more. Craft time is a favorite of his, and he is great at listening to his teachers during circle time.
Kevin came into our care with needs stemming from congenital heart disease. He is a brave little warrior, and it’s our greatest hope that he would soon come to know the love of a family through adoption. Will you pray with us?
Laranda is a beautiful 3-and-a-half year old who lives at our Care Center in Jiaozuo.
Her smile lights up a room, and her wonderful personality brings us joy. She’s so kind, and loves to cuddle with her nannies.
She can often be found exploring a room in her walker—she’s very curious about the world around her. Laranda was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy, but she’s resilient and strong. She has physical therapy several times a week, and it’s helping her to grow stronger.
Laranda came into our care when she was less than a month old, and she’s been making us smile ever since. It is an honor to be able to provide care for her, and we’re grateful to everyone whose giving makes such a huge impact on her life, and the lives of the other children in care.
One important way you can join in this work is through prayer. Will you pray with us that Laranda would soon know the love and permanency of a family through adoption? That is her greatest need.
Monty is an incredibly happy little boy. He is 3 years old, and we love watching his fun personality grow.
Monty absolutely adores his preschool class, where he has been working on fine motor skills and much more. He loves placing small pom-pom balls down tubes, or sorting blocks into matching colored cups. He’s so smart!
Monty recently discovered how much he loves finger painting, shaving cream, and Play-Doh. He enjoys each one, and the messier he can get, the better. He helped paint new art to hang at Maria’s Big House of Hope, and he was so strategic and creative with each stroke of his paint brush.
One of Monty’s favorite things to play with is bubbles. Whether he’s outside, bundled up on a chilly day, or inside with his friends Abraham and Marvic-Valentin, he giggles and laughs when the bubbles pop!
Little moments of joy like this can make a big difference in a child’s life. The opportunity we have to play with, care for, and love the children under our care is a great privilege. Monty is a joy in our lives, and it’s such an honor to care for him.
Will you pray with us that he would soon be able to join a loving family through adoption?
She brings so much joy to those around her. Rylynn is a very active and happy little girl. She turned 3 years old this past summer, and she’s growing beautifully. Rylynn came into our care when she was just 6 weeks old, and we’ve been honored to love and care for her ever since.
Rylynn was born with a visual impairment, so she attends a school during the day that helps her develop skills she needs. One of her favorite parts of the day is putting her shoes on and strapping on her duck backpack to head out to school. She is giddy with excitement when her nannies tell her it’s time to go! During school she loves to run and play tag with her teachers.
Rylynn has always loved to jump and dance. Whenever someone holds her hands, her face lights up as she spins and dances around, usually on her tip-toes. We love her big, bright, and beautiful smile! As Rylynn grows older, she is becoming more independent, and her resilience is big, just like her determination. She shows her independence in the way she is learning to do things on her own, but she hasn’t outgrown snuggles from her nannies.
Rylynn is never short of curiosity. We are proud of how she is learning and growing. Will you pray with us that Rylynn would very soon have the opportunity to grow and blossom in the love and stability of a family through adoption?
The first time I heard Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) taught and explained by Dr. Karyn Purvis, it was almost too much to process.
I was overwhelmed by the flood of information and the strategies I needed to immediately incorporate into my family. We were in a desperate place, and though I finally felt tremendous hope, I also knew that it would be easy to slip into a sense of defeat when I considered all that needed to change in the days ahead.
But let’s take a quick step back. What is TBRI?
TBRI is a holistic, attachment-based, and trauma-informed intervention that is designed to help meet the complex needs of children impacted by early trauma. This approach was developed by Dr. Purvis and Dr. David Cross, and is taught every year at the Empowered to Connect Conference, presented by Show Hope. The conference seeks to equip parents and professionals who care for children impacted by adoption and foster care.
Many people can feel overwhelmed the first time they hear about TBRI, just like I did.
I didn’t like the ways I was interacting with my children, and I finally had a new framework for communicating with each of them, but I was afraid. After learning from Dr. Purvis, I realized I needed a few simple truths to remember when I returned home and stepped back into the day-to-day challenges. I needed a way to remind myself to feel empathetic when my first instinct was frustration. So I made an effort to choose a few things from the conference that would be pivotal for me, and worked to remember those. As they became ingrained in my mind, it became easier for them to influence my responses.
Since then, many years have passed, and I have heard the information presented countless times. But my strategy has not changed.
I listen for a few key takeaways at each conference. Sometimes they are lists, while other times they are concepts or quotes I don’t want to forget. The 2017 Empowered to Connect Conference served as another beacon of hope in my personal journey, and I find myself returning often to three of the truths I learned that weekend.
1. Frequency, Intensity, Duration
When I find myself talking to other parents about behavior and meltdowns, they often assure me that what I am experiencing is normal. But research shows that children affected by early trauma experience dysregulation that occurs more often, is stronger in intensity, and lasts longer. Remembering this reality helps me to have empathy for my children and focus on their needs in the most difficult moments.
2. Seeing the Need Behind the Behavior
Before my children were a part of my family, they learned specific behaviors as strategies to have their needs met. Often, these strategies were not learned under the most healthy or ideal circumstances. This means it is important for me to respect the role these learned behaviors played in their lives, and to understand when and why they find it necessary to use them again.
At the same time, I need to remember that it is my job to help my child learn new strategies and to use their voice to express their needs. While this concept was new to me, it is so relevant to loving my children and seeing the needs behind their behavior.
3. The Birthright of Every Child
Regardless of a child’s origins or actions, they have a birthright. They deserve to feel safe, to have a safe adult that listens, and to have their preciousness reflected back to them. Every child is made in the image of God, and deserves to know this. It is an incredible privilege that God has given me the opportunity to be that person for my children, and I never want to lose sight of my role in their lives.
It’s a lot harder to live according to these things in day-to-day life than it is to learn them at a conference. But by thinking of them often and continuously re-learning them through books and attending the Empowered to Connect Conference, I have become a better parent in my family’s journey toward healing and attachment.
And the great thing about TBRI is that my three takeaways may be totally different from yours. All of our situations are unique, and TBRI offers so much.
There is always more to learn.
This year’s Empowered to Connect Conference is April 13-14, 2018, in Oswego, IL. There are hundreds of live simulcast locations around the country and even internationally. Learn more about the conference here.
We’d like you to meet Amos. At almost 6 years old, he is excited to learn about the things around him. As soon as he finds something new, he turns it over, looks at all sides, and then sees if it can open or stack. If it can, he lines everything up and makes sure it’s perfect!
He uses that same attention to detail during craft time in preschool. He loves to paint, glue, draw, or put together just about anything. He’s recently learned how to master the scissors, and enjoys crafts that require their use.
Amos was born with spina bifida and a hearing impairment, but that doesn’t hold him back from sharing his talents or loving others with his kind heart.
This school year, Amos has had the opportunity to attend a private preschool class where he can practice sign language with his teacher. He’s learned how to ask for food and water, say please and thank you, copy signs for animal names, and ask to play with Play-Doh—which is his favorite pastime. His nannies have all learned a few basic signs to help him continue to learn how to communicate. We’re all so proud of how far he has come, and how much he continues to learn!
One of Amos’ favorite things to do is attend parties. Whether it’s a pool day in the summer, a fall festival, or one of our monthly birthday parties, Amos is always there with a smile on his face. He’s never one to turn down a cupcake or candy, and he especially loves it when there are stickers involved. Amos has such a fun attitude that you can’t help but smile when he flashes his grin toward you and wheels over to play.
This month we are praying for more opportunities for Amos to grow his communication skills, and, more than anything, for him to soon know the love and security of a family through adoption.
We’ve had so much fun celebrating Christmas at Maria’s Big House of Hope. Our days have been full of Christmas crafts, caroling, baking cookies, and even a live Nativity scene.
Each of the children who attend preschool has a stocking, and they get a new treat in it every day. Checking stockings quickly became a favorite part of their class time! Whether they reach in to find a sucker, a pack of stickers, or a little toy, they are giddy with excitement. The preschool classroom is full of Christmas crafts like a handprint wreath, paper chains, a Christmas tree, and a Nativity made from their footprints and handprints.
One of our most fun (and a little bit crazy!) memories of this season was our live Nativity, complete with a Mary and Joseph, three wise men, three shepherds, two sheep, two donkeys, a cow, and an angel. The children were hilarious as we herded them in front of our manger scene and tried to snap their photos. They looked adorable, and our angel stole the show as Mary adored, hugged, and kissed all over baby Jesus.
A favorite Christmas tradition at our Care Centers is caroling to each of the rooms. The kids love to crawl over the guitars, and they dance and clap along with the music. It’s so fun to watch Christmas songs bring them joy.
We’ve also had the chance to make a fingerprint ornament with each child at Maria’s. Lots of them giggled whenever we squished their little fingers into the clay dough, and now the ornaments proudly hang on our Christmas tree. Each of the children is such a delight, and we love being able to celebrate with them.
Thank you for playing a part in these children’s lives, either by prayer or support. You are making a difference. It is such a blessing to care for them and to know them, and this wouldn’t be possible without your support. We’re soaking up every bit of this Christmas season as we make memories with each of them.