For several years, ASA has served as a host site for the Hope for the Journey Conference through Show Hope. We hope you will consider joining us for this unique offering in April and May 2022 as we seek to encourage and better equip parents and caregivers meeting the everyday needs of children impacted by adoption and/or foster care. Together we will build upon attachment-based knowledge and experience, introduce robust resources and share practical experiences of successes and failures of day-to-day parenting and caregiving. It is Show Hope’s aim that parents and caregivers will leave encouraged as they continue to journey well with their children. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story.
My family's journey through adoption:
When Adoption Support Alliance first began advertising for the Hope for the Journey Conference in Spring of 2021, I immediately registered. As a relatively new adoptive parent of a then-10-year-old, I was soaking in as much information as I could regarding best practices in adoptive, trauma-informed parenting methods. We knew our daughter had previous experiences with adoption and attachment disruption, and we wanted to ensure we could offer a stable, supportive, home in which she could thrive.
We had incentive charts, we had schedule cards, we had timers. We used reflective statements, we set limits, and we gave choices. Our daughter was growing developmentally, socially, and emotionally. I was loving life, and I was tired. I knew there had to be even more to learn, because…this had to get easier, right?
When the Hope for the Journey Conference was first advertised, I was immediately pumped for the opportunity to add some skills to my parenting toolbelt. I mean, the very description of the event – an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children – perfectly described my situation and my needs. And also, the name itself promised me some hope for this adoptive parenting journey. What I didn’t anticipate was that not only would I learn new techniques, but that I would also build a connection with others along the same journey - processing, reflecting, and further developing and refining my parenting beliefs and values in service of how I show up in my family.
As the days drew closer to the Hope for the Journey Conference, we were in the middle of selling our house and moving across town – because we needed more stress, right? We were staying at our next-door neighbors’ house while they were at their mountain home in between closing on the old house and closing on the new house. So, for 4 weeks in a row, we tucked our daughter in a bit early and I headed downstairs to log into the conference in our neighbor’s dining room.
What is the Hope for the Journey Conference?
The Hope for the Journey Conference consists of five main modules, beginning with an introduction to Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), including an overview of the importance of understanding ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The next three modules - Connecting Principles, Empowering Principles, and Correcting Principles are the real “meat,” supporting participants to create connections that disarm fear, gain trust, and enhance learning; strengthen learning and regulation by meeting a child’s physical and environmental needs; and shape beliefs and behaviors effectively, so children feel safe, protected, and empowered. There is also a fifth module connecting the Gospel and TBRI which discusses the hope and relational nature of God.
My take-aways from participating:
I LOVED the structure of the conference. I watched the videos at my own pace, stopping and rewinding when I wanted to soak the information in again, talked the cat into sitting with me, and settled in with my PJ bottoms and sweatshirt on (because, virtual attire) and took in all I could.
Although I could have watched the modules at any time, I chose to watch them immediately prior to the group discussion sessions so the information was fresh in my mind. My notes looked like a mad scientist – jotting lots of new information down, and also making connections to things we were already doing, things I could change, and new ideas to implement or ask our therapist about. During the group discussion questions, I appreciated the vulnerability each of the participants had with sharing take-aways, asking questions, and sharing some of their best practices that work for them. It was during these times that the learning became “real” – because I am one to know and feel like I understand theory, but then also like to see the practical application of particular strategies. During these discussions we often left with a take-away of something we would try from the week’s modules to apply throughout the next week.
For those considering joining the conference...
I highly recommend signing up for the Hope for the Journey Conference if you haven’t already. While it wasn’t the easiest thing to fit into my schedule mid-move, as an educator in the hybrid/virtual school Covid era, during soccer season, I did it, and I am so grateful I did.
The “forced time-out” in how ASA structured watching the modules then having the group discussion really supported me to not only get the information, but it also afforded me the chance to process and reflect on my own parenting beliefs and practices. Then being able to talk with others as we co-constructed what this could look like in our families and who we felt we were, or wanted to be, as parents was invaluable. The growth and progress my daughter and our family as a whole have made are a testament to the support we receive not only from events like this, but from connecting and staying plugged in with Adoption Support Alliance events throughout the year.
To learn more about registering, visit the ASA Website and click on the Hope for the Journey link. The 5 weekly community discussion will take place on April 21, April 28, May 5, May 12, and May 19. Registrants also have the option to view the material individually until May 31st as well.