Week 1: From Here to There

More Than Enough Essentials Fall 2020 Week 1: From Here to There

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    • #72330
      amanda@cafo.org
      CAFO Staff

      Why are you taking this course and what is your dream for foster care in your county?

    • #72344
      amanda@cafo.org
      CAFO Staff

      My name is Amanda Baird and I am helping to facilitate this course. I live in Oconee County, Georgia which is very close to the University of Georgia.  (although I went to Georgia Tech…)

      One part of my dream for foster care in my county is for young adults attending one of the many schools in our area to find stable connections and support. I have a lot of dreams for children in care too, but this one section has been close to my heart here recently! My family is hoping to be partnered as a mentor family with a young adult soon.

    • #72371
      Ryan Keith
      Participant

      My name is Ryan Keith and I’m a pastor near Harrisburg, PA, with a nearby river dividing races and creating economic divisions. Churches are asking for help, but we are not a region known for collaboration. I am taking this course for accountability to get going on a goal to partner with churches across 2 sides of the same river and catalyze a regional foster care crisis response.

      My dream is to strengthen bio families through Safe Families & other partners, respond to foster care rise through foster parents, and build sustaining support through support teams to more than meet the need. By doing so, we display the Gospel and declare what God is for at a time where He is increasingly only known for what He is against, while engaging in something our children and youth services, judicial system, and foster agencies say cannot be done due to the rapid rise of opioids in our region. MTE offers a framework to get us started and I want to get going in bringing that framework of collaboration to our region.

      • #72626
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Ryan, I know you are talking about literal river…but what a powerful symbol of many divisions. I am so excited about your vision of partnering and helping groups from both sides of the river come together. Thanks for being here!

      • #72631
        jkrise@childbridgemontana.org
        Participant

        Ryan,

        I grew up in upstate PA. In a little town called Wellsboro. It is nice to have this class with a fellow Pennsylvanian!

    • #72565
      Deborah West
      Participant

      My name is Deborah West, and I’m the County Coordinator for The CALL in Southeast Arkansas. We are a bridge organization that partners with DCFS to recruit, train, and support, foster and adoptive families from within the local church. Our affiliate currently serves in 3 counties and will be adding an additional 3 by the end of the year.

      My dream is for the different foster care organizations/agencies and churches in our counties to join together to form both county and regional coalitions creating a network of support for foster and adoptive families in the trenches, as well as to be champions for preservation and reunification for biological families.

      • #72627
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Love this Deborah! It was great to see you Friday!

    • #72569
      Janelle Shelton
      Participant

      I  am taking this course to learn from others about ways to engage the church more broadly to care for kids.  CarePortal has provided a great tool to mobilize local churches, and has been a gateway for me to get to know more organizations with similar heartbeats.  While I can’t bring them all to my county myself, I want to become better at partnering together and strengthening the foundation where we are, and inviting others to get involved in ways that make sense for them.  I want to be a part of the momentum in my community and cheer others on who are called to serve kids and families in ways different from what I’m doing.  We grow stronger together. kids erve

      Our county is largely like most counties with a need for more foster families, more adoptive families, and more wrap-around support.  My dream would be to see the Church rise and bring a sustained wave of individuals, families, and champions wrapping around kids and caregivers of all kinds, so that children grow up and thrive in stable, supportive, nurturing homes, and have ample access to loving churches and other necessary resources and supports.

      • #72628
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        We love CarePortal here! SO glad to have you Janelle. I really liked that phrase “a sustained wave”. A lot of water imagery going on in the forum today and I love it!

    • #72586
      amanda@cafo.org
      CAFO Staff

      From Tim Heroff:

      Greetings.  My name is Tim Heroff. I am a recently retired (well, it’s been 3 1/2 years – I can still say “recently” can’t I?) police captain from Rochester, Minnesota. I am taking this course because I believe that God has given me a new mission; I am now a very new Regional Manager with the Global Orphan Project, intent on bringing CarePortal to Minnesota. So, I have a lot to learn. If you are not familiar with CarePortal you can check out a well done 3 min. video called Watch How it Works at: https://www.careportal.org/about-us/resources/

      My dream is two-fold:

      To help prevent as many kids as possible from entering into foster care and provide support to all of those who must, so that they may thrive.
      To ignite the Christian church in America (which, as Reggie McNeal states in his book, Missional Renaissance, has turned into an exclusive country-club) to get out beyond our walls and actually serve those who need to see the love of Jesus.

      • #72612
        Deborah West
        Participant

        Hi, Tim! My husband is the Lieutenant for our local PD. I love that God is using so many LEO’s in the foster care community. Your professional experience brings so much to the ministry side of foster care that can build bridges between the two worlds!

      • #72629
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        You will probably hear me talk about him later in the course, but my husband is a Sgt. with a local Sheriff’s Office. He oversees their reentry programming, helping inmates gain access to the resources they need to be successful and reduce recidivism rates. He partners with local organizations and churches and is in general a pretty cool guy. I actually think he and I both care for and work with the same vulnerable populations and that there are many tie-ins with our work. Love fellow LEO  families, thanks to you both!

      • #72687
        Chris Schutter
        Participant

        Hi Tim!  Oh my… this is SO our heart for our community too!  I will need to read Missional Renaissance, thanks for the reference 🙂

    • #72589
      Kyle Dahl
      Participant

      Hello!

      My name is Kyle Dahl and I’m taking this course because it has been a passion of mine for several years now since we started our foster care/adoption journey.  I really want to learn more about ways to connect in a more intentional way with churches and other people who are interested in foster care and adoption.  It’s something we’ve kind of just down on our own through relationships with people, but I’d really like to take it on a much bigger trajectory.

      So, my dream is that we make Canadian County, OK (the west side of the OKC metro area) a place that is known for our work investing in families, kids, foster parents, and all around.  It’s my belief that there are many people who would like to help in one way or another, but they just don’t know what is needed or who to connect with.

      Thanks!

      Kyle

      • #72621
        Misty Seale
        Participant

        Hey Kyle, I’d love to chat with you!  I’m in Cleveland County, OK and I am involved with the 111Project and CarePortal which have proven to be a catalyst for engaging the Church and getting individuals actively involved in the foster care space.  I also started a foster/adoptive ministry at my church.  I serve as an Orphan/Stand Sundy Coordinator for the state and would love to help you in any way that I can. We also have a Oklahoma Weekly Prayer Call that we would love to have you join if you were interested.

      • #72630
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Kyle + Misty you guys just started my week with a smile! I do not know much about Oklahoma (other than every word to the Broadway show), but I am excited to see God moving there!

      • #72666
        Kyle Dahl
        Participant

        Thanks! I just thought I’d share that I already put some of things we learned this week in to action.  One of our foster parents was interviewed along with myself and another staff member by the local newspaper this week, and while the interview was mostly around the foster mom (who is a rock star by the way), I did get to provide a little input around the need in Canadian County, OK.  And as we discussed I didn’t give stats on all the kids in foster care in the US, or even kids in care in OK, but I talked about the 66 kids in care in our area–something hopefully people can wrap their heads around.  It’s not moving the barn, but hopefully it’s something. . . 🙂

    • #72596
      Teri DeVoe
      Participant

      Im Teri DeVoe from Ohio! : ) I am a foster and adoptive parent and work for CarePortal as well : )  Kids and families in crisis are my passion, and I look for ways to dig deeper any way I can.

      My dream for foster care is that  being a foster home would be “the rule and not the exception”. I would love for it to be common place, so that when folks learn you a foster family there is  more of a yep so am I comment, rather than a “wow thats so awesome!” “I could never so that” “You are an angel” type sentiment.

       

      • #72633
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        I love this positioning! I always love it when we meet someone new who is familiar with fostering and its not the first and biggest thing we have to talk about. 🙂

    • #72597
      jeanette@nightlight.org
      Participant

      Hi all, my name is Jeanette Parker and I am a foster care advocate for Nightlight Christian Adoptions in Greer, South Carolina. We assist families becoming licensed as foster parents, as well as adoptive families. I have also been a licensed foster parent for two years.

      Through my experience working at our local child protective agency and now working with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, I have seen many families become licensed as foster or adoptive parents, but not continue their license after a year or two. My dream for foster care in our county, is retention. We need more families to retain their foster care license or adoptive license, which means we need more wrap around services/supports to our foster and adoptive families, as well as the biological families. I would like to also collaborate better within my community to initiate these wrap around services, in hopes it will lead to more advocacy for the needs of foster children, foster parents, and biological parents.

      • #72611
        McKenzie Hutton
        Participant

        Hi Jeanette, thank you for your service to children and families! I’m a social worker in Indiana and I resonate with your comment about retention. There are so many challenges that are unique to foster parenting. In my own community, I think churches and community leaders want to provide better support to foster families but they are often uneducated about HOW to actually engage in the work. I’d be interested to hear more about your insight on this issue as a child welfare professional and foster parent.

    • #72601
      eahoeve@yahoo.com
      Participant

      Hello,

      My name is Lisa Hoeve.  I’m from West Michigan and married to my high school sweetheart. We have 5 bio kids and have fostered many.

      I am taking this course to learn more about the many ways to encourage people to walk the walk.  I believe there is something for everyone to do in the foster care community.

      The dream I have for my community is a great wrap around support system.  I think we have a decent start but I also think there is huge room for the church to join in.  We can solve so much when we work together and hopefully start to realize where to jump in to stop the need of so many children entering care.

    • #72602
      Maren Vallerand
      Participant

      Hello! I’m Maren Vallerand from the Seattle area. My husband and I launched an org 10 years ago to combat human trafficking(Rescue Freedom International) and began to understand the connection between foster care and trafficking in the US. Since then I’ve been able to launch and lead a foster care ministry through our home church and begin to build a network of churches in a few counties here in Washington. As a group we are considering how we can most effectively move the (Space) needle 🙂 In all seriousness, I have a lot of dreams for foster care! A few specific ones are:

      1. That every foster child in our county (state/country!) would have a safe, loving, long-term home.

      2. That children would be prevented from entering into foster care whenever possible by offering support to bio families (via Safe Families, etc.)

      3. That churches would raise up and equip/disciple/support more than enough foster families.

      4. That collaboration and partnerships could thrive between faith and government agencies.

      Looking forward to learning with you all!

       

      • #72634
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Thanks for sharing Maren, I loved looking thru your website, my husband works at a jail helping inmates get access to the resources they need to be successful upon release, and one of the populations in particular that he works with are those who are victims of trafficking. I can see many connections between his work, your work, foster care and more. It was great to meet you on Friday, looking forward to getting to know you better over this course.

    • #72603
      Wendy Cheek
      Participant

      Hello! I’m Wendy Cheek. My husband and I live in West Michigan, have 4 kids (2 adopted out of foster care), have been fostering for 20 years, and started a local community based foster/adoptive support ministry called Mosaic over 10 years ago.

      Mosaic has grown a lot over the past 4 years, and we’re now a network of 7 churches and a Christian school, and work with several other are churches, agencies and organizations as well. My dream is that through collaboration, we can work together to help other local churches understand how they can rise up to support local families so there’s MORE THAN ENOUGH

      • #72636
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Well you know I love any dream that ends with More Than Enough. 🙂

      • #72688
        Chris Schutter
        Participant

        Hi Wendy!  I can’t thank you enough for inviting us to attend the “Families Count” training.  We are dreaming of the day we can bring that to Newaygo county 🙂 I will be excited to see how it works out for Mosaic!

    • #72607
      McKenzie Hutton
      Participant

      Hi everyone! My name is Kenzie Hutton. I serve as the Licensing Supervisor for a non-profit agency in southern Indiana. I have the privilege to recruit, train, equip, and license foster and adoptive families. I registered for this course because my heart is burdened for the children and families within the foster care system. In the month of September, we received 171 referrals. Each referral represents at least one child, but often multiple children are included in one referral (sibling groups). Unfortunately, our response is most often, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any homes available.” Our agency currently serves 19 foster families in the southern Indiana community, but those homes are almost always providing care at capacity. I’m taking this course to question the current model of child protection and to engage more deeply with the church and community to meet the needs of children and families in crisis.

      Firstly, I pray that God would open our eyes to the needs within our own community. It seems to me that many  families within the Church are hesitant to engage in the work of child welfare because we are too distant from the need. I pray that God would present us with opportunities to see the vulnerable, to rub elbows with brokenness. I have many dreams for foster care in my community, but part of that dream is for foster families, along with the support of the Church and community, to come alongside birth families to remove barriers to safe and effective parenting…a true collaboration to serve families in crisis and to end generational cycles of abuse, addiction, and poverty, among other barriers.

      • #72638
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        For me, before we were foster parents the need and the hurting felt so far away – I really had no idea they existed, much less an urgency or compulsion to step into those stories. However, once my eyes were opened, there was no closing them again. I love your prayers for your community.

        When we get to talk with Jason Johnson he talks a little about the need for proximity, I think you will enjoy that!

    • #72614
      Amy Pettit
      Participant

      Hello!  I am Amy Pettit and I am the Cleburne County Coordinator for The CALL in Arkansas.  My husband, three kids, and I live on the same land I grew up on right smack dab in the middle of nowhere.  Arkansas is a beautiful state, especially in our lake town.  I have volunteered with The CALL in Arkansas for a few years and have been the county coordinator for almost a year.

      I am taking this course to get a better understanding on how I can create more than enough in my county.  As a county coordinator, it feels as though it falls on our shoulders to recruit the church to become more supportive of the least of these.  My dream for foster care is to have homes waiting for kids instead of the other way around.  Lately, it seems as though we are scraping by.  I definitely want to change that!

      • #72639
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Thanks for sharing Amy! I am looking forward to getting to know all of you guys in Arkansas!

    • #72616
      Katie Dunlap
      Participant

      My name is Katie Dunlap, and I just started a new position as Community Coordinator for West Tennessee with Tennessee Kids Belong. My husband is a pastor, and in addition to our two biological sons we have two adopted sons. One joined our family in 2010 at the age of four from Ethiopia. The other joined our family last year at the age of twelve through foster care and was adopted in August. Life with him is incredibly difficult right now, and we are weary. This week has just about done me in. I long for all foster and adoptive families in our community to experience the love and support we are experiencing right now through our church family. I would be in despair this week without them. I also want to be part of progress with regard to foster care in Memphis. We have a high poverty rate and about 1,000 children in state custody on any given day in our county. Workers are tired, overwhelmed and feel stuck. I long for our community to move from activity to movement and will do what I can to help be part of the solution.

      • #72640
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Good Morning Katie, Thank you so much for sharing. I am saying prayers of thanksgiving right now for the community that has surrounded you, and prayers for perseverance for you! Thank you for all that you do for your family and what you are doing in Tennessee for other children and families. I am looking forward to getting to know you more.

    • #72617
      Jason Grewe
      Participant

      Hello,
      My name is Jason Grewe.
      I work with Circle of Care in Oklahoma as there Statewide Faith and Community Engagement Coordinator.

      I’m taking this course because it has resonated with the way God has wired my heart to find ways to ignite individuals God-given passion for children with a vision, and to connect those with God given vision with a path of provision. A Nehemiah of sorts.

      What I hope to obtain from this course is seeing the path and direction to not only connect the dots for individuals and churches with foster care agencies and families – but to empower them to sustain a ministry. I have experience in collaboration with many events connecting faith, community and agencies all simultaneously. What I hope to find is a way to empower churches to do this in a self-sustaining way.

      • #72641
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Hey Jason! I have had the pleasure of talking with Keith Howard and Raquel Razien in the past few months and they are both so fun! I am so excited for OK Circle of Care and the children and families who are and will be impacted by your team!

    • #72619
      Chris Schutter
      Participant

      Hey all!

      My name is Chris Schutter and I am from Michigan.

      My hubby Martin and I are empty nesters a few years from retirement. We are not foster care parents but we began to feel a tug in regards to kids aging out of the foster care system.  We attended the 2019 CAFO conference where we learned about the MTE initiative and decided our rural, poor county (Newaygo) needs this as we have NO casa, safe families or organized system to serve our foster care needs. We have spent our time since then trying to create awareness, wrap-around for our current church fc families, relationship with DHHS (they are the only placement agency for our county) and finding organizations we can partner with to achieve this goal.

      God has worked in amazing ways and we had great momentum going before Covid happened.  🙁 I am thrilled that this course is being offered for such a time as this!  I am hoping that during our “quarantine” that the Lord was answering more prayers in regards to stirring our local community and churches to catch the vision of a real MOVEMENT in regards to foster care in our county!

       

       

      • #72642
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        When I first met Jason and he talked about sharing small numbers I started researching my county. We are not as small as your county, and there are a lot of resources but I still didn’t know what to expect. After calling our local DFCS office we learned there are just 5 kids awaiting an adoptive home in our county. FIVE. That seems solvable!  In fact, my husband was ready to start adding on bedrooms right then. Thank you for sharing your vision, I can’t wait to see more than enough in Michigan!

    • #72620
      Misty Seale
      Participant

      Hi, I’m Misty Seale, I live in OKC (Cleveland County) and am taking this course to gain more knowledge, more insight into the best ways to build a movement within my county to see that every child is loved and cared for, to see families restored when possible, and that foster parents would be supported.

      I have a goal of seeing the Church (capital C) step into and engage in the foster care space in all aspects.  What I listed above is what the Church should be doing.  I’d love to see the Church working alongside DHS and other local organizations/agencies to collaborate and have maximum impact in our county.  We have gotten off to a great start, thanks to the 111Project/CarePortal.  It’s helped tremendously in bringing churches and local partners together!  Oklahoma recently just hit 10,000 kids served through the CarePortal!

      • #72643
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        wow! 10,000 is one of those good big numbers! Thanks for sharing Misty!

    • #72622
      Tina Jones
      Participant

      Hi This is Tina Jones from Greenville, South Carolina.  While God gave me a heart for the orphan while in college, He didn’t move us to become guardians and adopt until about 21 years later.  I’m a witness that His timing is not always our timing, but it is perfect timing.

      I’m taking this course to learn more about what is happening in foster care ministries across the country and to see if any of these strategies could be implemented in our county.

      It is my dream that until Jesus returns and solves the problem of sin on this earth, that each child in need of a foster placement would find a welcome home immediately and that the people of the church could be a huge part of that.  Not for any personal glory, but so that they/we could be a light in a dark time for both the foster children and other non-believing foster families and workers.

      On a closer-to-home note, I’m dreaming of the day when every foster family in our church has a “support” family who prays for them and assists with babysitting and errands.

      • #72644
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        wow Tina! thank you for your patience and your willingness to say “yes”!

    • #72623
      Beth Plyler
      Participant

      Hey, My name is Beth Plyler and I am from Greenville, South Carolina. I am a mom to 4 kiddos, 3 biological and 1 recently adopted out of foster care this past April. She was our first placement and now is with us forever!

      I am taking this course to learn more about foster care and adoption in our country and how we can be a part of this greater movement in Greenville. I would love to see the church grasp this incredible need and take the initiative to meet it. We have a huge church but so little families engaged in this ministry. I would love to see this on the forefront of our churches mind and heart. I would also love to see how various resources in our State and City can come together and work together to engage families and eradicate the need for foster care. I think the church could and should lead this change and I want to know how we at First Pres can be a part of that.

      Personally I am also looking forward to the encouragement and knowledge I will gain that can be used in my own family as we timidly put ourselves back on the open bed list.

      • #72645
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        We have family in Greenville, it is a beautiful place! And I laughed out loud as you slipped in that last line, timidity putting yourself on the open bed list! 🙂 Please keep us updated as that bed gets filled so we can keep encouraging you as you care for children and families in SC!

    • #72632
      jkrise@childbridgemontana.org
      Participant

      My name is John Krise, and I am taking this course because I just started a new job in the foster care world, in July, and I am hoping to learn as much as I can about how I can be more effective in understanding and meeting the needs in Montana, and across the U.S..

      My My dream for my area is not just to see more that enough for children suffering from abuse and neglect, but also to see healing happen in broken lives and broken families.

      • #72646
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Hey John! One of my personal goals for the year was to travel more (hahaha), things have changed, but I hope to see Montana one day. Thanks for joining this class, looking forward to getting to know you better.

    • #72635
      Jen Fister
      Participant

      Hello! My name is Jen Fister. I work as the Placement and Family Support Program Supervisor for Childplace, Inc. located in southern Indiana just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Our agency recruits, trains, licenses and supports foster families.

      This is an exciting opportunity with CAFO and I am grateful to be a part of this group. My dream for our community would be to find an effective way to encourage families to consider providing care for older children and sibling groups. As challenging as it is to find foster families in general, as you know, many shy away from older children and may not have the margin to provide for a larger number of children at a time. I am praying that God will grant us wisdom in this area in how to most effectively communicate this need and that He will speak specifically with believers in our community about this need.

      • #72647
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Thanks for sharing Jen! I got to visit Louisville for the first time for the CAFO Summit in 2019, looking forward to the day when there is More Than Enough for older (and all) children in Indiana.

    • #72637
      Katie Hummel
      Participant

      My name is Katie Hummel and I work with International Christian Adoptions in Sacramento, California.  In additional to our foster care and adoption programs, ICA has a refugee foster care program. There are only about 30 agencies across the USA with this type of program.

      I grew up in Brasil as a missionary kid and moved to California for college.  Currently, I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and have the privilege of recruiting, screening, training and supporting foster families in our programs.  I also get to work with the refugee foster youth in our care providing therapy and supporting them on their journey of hope and healing.

      I am looking forward to learning more about how God is working and moving across our country and joining in this collaborative movement.

      • #72648
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Katie, Thanks for sharing! At the beginning of the year I was reading a lot of articles re: foster care and immigration and refugees. What a challenging and important line of work! Thanks for your work, looking forward to learning from and with you.

    • #72649
      Jason Grewe
      Participant

      Hi Kyle,
      I’d love to try to connect with you sometime – whether zoom or in person. I work statewide in this space and love to find the passion of the local church and see how we can plug it in to being engaged in this work. My hope is to try to find ways to create sustainability within the Church “Capital C” as Misty said earlier – not just a one off event or “drive”. That said, everyone has to start somewhere. Feel free to email or get in touch – and I’ll try to reach out to you sometime if I know I am heading to the OKC area. I am usually in there area every 2-3 weeks or so.

      Jason

    • #72650
      Meg Scott
      Participant

      I am taking this course to learn new ways to engage other organizations working in the same arena as well as new ways to engage the church community.

    • #72652
      Kristin Langrehr
      Participant

      Hi! My name is Kristin Langrehr. I’m an adoptive parent and a licensed social worker, and I now work as one of the Area Directors for CarePortal in the state of Florida, however I live just on the other side of the state line in Alabama.  I’m taking this course to learn more about moving from ‘activity’ to ‘movement’ in the context of where I live and work, and to hopefully connect with others who I can learn from and collaborate with.

      I really care about the Church BEING the ministers of reconciliation we’re called to be! I also really care about children having safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that both prevent trauma and mitigate the effects of trauma. Those passions coalesce into the ultimate dream: To build healing relationships that bridge the gaps in community (social sector), the Church, families, and children. As Dr. Karyn Purvis said, relational problems can only be healed relationally!

       

      • #72653
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        this all sounds great Kristin! The thought of living on a state line always stressed me out- especially with different time zones! I despair of time zones! Looking forward to getting to know you!

    • #72654
      Cory Pepiton
      Participant

      My name is Cory Pepiton. My wife and I are are adoptive, biological and therapeutic foster parents and pastoral staff at Rabbit Creek Church here in Anchorage, Alaska. When we began the adoptive process we thought we’d be adopting a single little girl. God had better plans. When we completed that adoption I process, 18 months later, we though we were done with foster care and state childcare. Nearly ten years later God had better plans again. Now 5 foster children and 4 placements and several years later we’ve become therapeutic foster care parents and God continues to make clear that he has more work to be done.

      I’m excited about this cohort mainly because of the gifts that God has brought into out church. As we transitioned one of our foster sons into therapeutic foster care, and our license as well, the agent we were working with asked about our preferred care team. We listed the specialists we planned to work with and were told that our choices, while the best in the state, were impossible as they all had waiting lists to long to be viable. I humbly, at least as much so as possible, explained that the entire list was made up of church members and good friends who had already agreed to help. “What church do you go to?!” Was the reply.

      Given the gifts of our body of believers and the willingness of several of them to participate with me in this cohort I’m thrilled for what God has in store. I can’t quite yet tell you I’m exactly sure what that is. Frankly if experience serves it doesn’t much matter. God usually has better, and bigger ideas than I do.

      • #72656
        amanda@cafo.org
        CAFO Staff

        Cory, what a great story about the church members & the list! I am excited to hear more and learn more about Alaska- another place on my travel bucket list.

    • #72659
      Jamie Bleakley
      Participant

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>My name is Jamie Bleakley. I am from Anchorage, AK. Our family has been fostering for 5 1/2 years. I am a pediatric occupational therapist with special training in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and infant mental health. My husband and I, along with another couple, own a pediatric therapy clinic called A Better Tomorrow. That is my goal for foster care. I believe that if we can address the family unit, mental health across the lifespan, and make the foster care experience less traumatic for everyone involved, we can make changes that impact the community as a whole leading to a better tomorrow for everyone.</p>

    • #72662
      Paige Chick
      Participant

      I am taking this course because I want more and more people to know that throwing our weight into Foster Care is a worthwhile endeavor. In my experience, it is frightening to most people and something they know needs help, but they are unwilling because it seems so heavy.

      My dream is that biological families would be treated with respect and care through every step of the process, and not put down or spoken of negatively. Additionally, I dream that restoration of the family unit would be admired and appreciated and as sought after as those parents who step in to care for and adopt the children who need it.

    • #72670
      Karen Hicks
      Participant

      Karen here, I’m from South Arkansas and have been with The CALL in Arkansas for 6 years.  We have long lived the “more than enough” thought process, but I know we aren’t there yet. So I’m here to continue to learn and hear what others are doing.

      My dream? Who has time for that??? I dream of a time when the local congregations are doing the work. Not just in having enough foster homes (though we need that bad) but for the foster homes in their congregation never struggle with the need for respite or tangible items because their church has it covered.

      I honestly believe that when the local church can do that work, the foster family need will be satisfied.

    • #72675
      Daina Davis
      Participant

      My name is Daina Davis. I am the Regional Manager of 111Project in Central/Western Oklahoma. I manage CarePortal as well and work with churches in several counties in the region. I am also a CarePortal Community Coordinator and a point person at my church, Destiny Christian Center. My husband and I became foster parents in 2012 and are now foster and adoptive parents. Throughout our foster journey we encountered many challenges and experiences that highlighted the need for support in the community in order to help families in need. My hope through this course is to learn more about how to help and support as we lead a foster and adoptive ministry at our church and I work with other churches to get involved in their community. Big vision is that awareness would increase enough so that people answer their call to help in any way they’re led and enough help and support is generated so that more homes are waiting on children, rather than children waiting on homes and more biological families will have the support they need to prevent their children leaving their care.

    • #72676
      Alexis McQuown
      Participant

      My name is Alexis McQuown from Spirit Lake, IA. I am a current foster mom and avid volunteer for the local non-profit we have grown in our community called Kings & Queens Local. It started as a resource closet for foster families when kids enter care and we have grown over the past 3 years to include support group, mentorship, meals, and working on bridging the gap between area agencies.

      My dream for my community is having agencies work together for the best interest of kids and their biological families; and acknowledging the hard work of foster care. It often appears as such a competition between agencies instead of collaboration.   I would LOVE to see the big “C” church come ALIVE and also be a bridge so that people are loved and served well; no matter their circumstances.  My hope is to bring area churches to work together to accomplish this goal!  I’d also love to see people step past their fear of “being involved” with the system…not everyone has to foster/adopt… but everyone can do something! –Thank you Jason Johnson 😉

    • #72680
      schrotenboers@yahoo.com
      Participant

      Hi, My name is Michelle Schrotenboer from Michigan.  We are currently licensed foster parents.  My dream for foster care in our community would be that being Foster Parents would not be such a shock to people.  I feel like when we tell people we are foster parents they are always, “we could never do that”, “I don’t know how you do it”.  I wish people were more anxious to learn and help out rather that be scared off.  I am hoping to learn how to engage our community.

    • #72682
      Kristen Jones
      Participant

      Hi!  My name is Kristen Jones and I started a foster care and adoption ministry in my community after adopting our child from foster care.  I’m taking this course to learn more so that I can be better equipped here.  My dream for foster care in my county would be to change the perception of foster care- that foster homes are not only people who do it “for the money.” (I know that’s cringeworthy.) I dream to see collaboration and approachability to foster care and adoption.  Many people in my county are very afraid to get involved, so I want to help them see they can do something. My dream is to see More than Enough in my county!

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