Since coming to Harmony in 2006, I have been fortunate to work with some of the best Resource Parents in the country. These parents are committed to making a difference in the lives of children across the state of Tennessee, and always going above and beyond the call of duty for these children. Harmony recognizes the tremendous, personal sacrifices of these parents and is dedicated to helping these caregivers receive the services they need in order to continue the healing work of parenting adoptive and foster children. This being said, I often ask the parents I work with what they need in order to be the best parent they can be for these precious children and I always receive the same type of answers:
â€œTime to recharge my batteries so that I am better able to help my childrenâ€.
â€œThe opportunity to meet with other parents to share ideas and be a support to one anotherâ€.
â€œNew information regarding parenting adoptive/resource childrenâ€.
â€œNew tips and techniques that I can learn quickly and will make a difference in my homeâ€.
Based on these above needs, Harmony recently hosted the first R.E.S.T. Initiative at Buckberry Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, located within the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. True to its name, this unique and innovative retreat provided a weekend of Respite, Education, Support, and Training to sixteen adoptive/ resource families in the East Tennessee region. This retreat provided a weekend of rejuvenation, relaxation, and shared learning for these couples who have created forever families for approximately fifty children in East Tennessee. Buckberry Lodge provided the ideal location not only for caregivers to relax and spend time focusing on replenishing their depleted energies, but also for meeting and interacting with other resource parents and expanding their support circles. In addition to supplying respite, Harmony provided three trainings: the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program, Circle of Security, and Respite Development over the two-day period. Each couple reported of tremendously enjoying their experience and had the following comments to say about the R.E.S.T. Initiative:
â€¢ This has been the BEST respite weâ€™ve had
â€¢ This was a much-needed, perfectly-timed opportunity
â€¢ Great way to recharge & reconnect with spouse
â€¢ Nice balance of REST with training
â€¢ Very relaxing, one of the best places we have ever stayed
â€¢ Taking time for each other & yourself enables you to be better for your family
â€¢ Very relaxing
â€¢ Education is a cornerstone for successful fostering and adoption
â€¢ Presenters & information was relevant and not drawn out
â€¢ Critical time to focus on each other & to get great training, too!
â€¢ Thank you so much for this opportunity. This has really benefited our family & I have learned about some great resources that I will implement in my family
â€¢ Had a wonderful time, met wonderful people, gained lots of helpful info for the future