CLAIMED AND LOVED

Sarah Collins

Sarah Collins, ASAP Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor

Harmony’s ASAP (Adoption Support and Preservation Program) provides therapeutic and support services to parents of children adopted from foster care. ASAP therapist Sarah Collins recently shared this story, the client’s name has been changed.

Debbie, the mother of two birth children and two adopted children, struggled with the concept of claiming. Claiming she would say, like the way you claim your bags when you get off an airplane? To her, the idea of claiming an adopted child was that of routine, logistics necessity.

In the beginning phases of our work together, her belief was that the adoption process itself should be claiming enough. After all, she had taken these children into her home when they had nowhere to go. “Isn’t it obvious to them that I claim them?” But through gentle, purposeful, and thoughtful leading and encouraging, she was able to understand claiming in all its glory. Debbie’s aha moment came to her four months into treatment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon when, during session, her youngest adopted daughter came hopping through the yard where we were chatting wearing her mother’s sunbonnet and garden shoes, both of which were entirely too large for her 7 year old body. “Look at me Mommy,” her daughter exclaimed, “when I grow up I wanna be a super tree fixer . . . just like you!” and she disappeared just as quickly as she came.

Debbie appeared perplexed by the comment at first, but a look of happiness, then guilt, washed over her face. She said, “Huh, never thought of myself as a super tree fixer . . . Isn’t it amazing how the little things make us who we are? I have been ‘claimed’ and have been ‘claiming’ right back all along through the little things. Our favorite thing to do together is prune the bushes and trees. How surprising that we have shared a claiming ritual together that I had no idea was that important to her and totally escaped me until this second.

To commemorate the occasion, Debbie and her daughter planted a special Azalea bush right in the front of the yard and named it Claimed and Loved . . . so that they may cultivate it together for many more years to come.

Learn more about Harmony’s ASAP Program (Adoption Support and Preservation Program)

Published on March 29, 2012 by .
Posted in Adoption

THE CHANGING FACE OF ADOPTION

Pam Wolf

Pam Wolf, Founder and CEO of Harmony Adoptions

The face of adoption has changed. The kids are older, the impact of abuse and neglect is more severe, and the scars left behind by emotional and physical traumas are deeper than ever before.

For kids, adoption begins a journey of healing. Adoption provides a forever family, a safe and loving place for children to face their demons and slay their dragons. But all too often, the adoptive family has very little understanding of the child’s history of abuse and how this impacts their family. Many families are not fully prepared to provide the complex care the child needs. The family’s road to health and well-being is riddled with challenges, and each year hundreds of families across the state turn to Harmony for the professional treatment they so desperately need.

Harmony Adoptions has redefined what treatment, support, and education mean to adoptive families. Our post-adoption services program is nationally-recognized, evidence-based, and the most comprehensive in the country. Less than 1% of the children we work with go back into foster care compared to a national rate of 10% or higher. What we do at Harmony works, and it makes a difference to the children, the family, and the long-term health of all of us in Tennessee.

And yet, there is still so much more we can do. Each year, far too many kids came back into foster care because their adoptive families gave up on them. These are kids we were not able to serve. Last year in Tennessee, over 700 youth aged out of care with no plans, no family, no future. Almost one third of the homeless people in our state report spending time in foster care, and 25% of Tennessee’s prisoners were formerly in foster care.

Each year, hundreds of children begin their adoption journey, leaving foster care for their forever family, and each year hundreds of Tennessee’s precious children are left behind, waiting for a family to call their own. As the needs of Tennessee’s children continue to grow, Harmony must respond to meet these needs.

Harmony’s next chapter is dawning at the base of the Smoky Mountains. Here in a rustic woodland setting lies the property once known as Camp Montvale and the ideal location for Harmony’s expansion. The 364-acre property includes cabins, a dining hall, kitchen, barns, ropes course, and facilities for outdoor learning. It is here that Harmony plans to establish a one-of-a-kind treatment center where children and their families can work together to learn, grow, and face their challenges – all with the help of our highly trained clinical staff. This residential adoptive family treatment program expands the number of families we can serve AND keeps families together rather than sending the child alone to treatment. Once the Harmony Family Center is fully developed, it will be self-sustaining, building on our existing funding and public utilization of the property.

Over the next year all of us at Harmony will share this amazing journey with you through the words of our children, parents, staff, and donors. You will learn more about Montvale – the difference this one-of-a-kind property can make in the lives of our families — and how you can participate and support our efforts. We hope you will share your thoughts and ideas with us and find ways to join us on this amazing journey!

Published on March 22, 2012 by .
Posted in Adoption

A CHILDREN’S BOOK FROM THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY PERSPECTIVE

HARMONY ADOPTIONS DEBUTS NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK

Harmony Adoptions Book Cover If Only I had You…

It is a wish shared by adoptive parent and child alike. In a new children’s book published by Harmony Adoptions, families can read along together the simple wishes that brought parent and child together. Proceeds from the sale of this beautifully illustrated book will benefit the mission of Harmony Adoptions and the planned Harmony Family Center. Learn more about the book and place your order today.

Published on February 05, 2011 by .
Posted in Adoption