Support For Parents Who Have “Children From Hard Places”


empowered to connectApril 8th and 9th offers all parents a wonderful opportunity to participate in Empowered To Connect, a conference sponsored by Show Hope and being simulcast at the MLJ Adoptions International offices in Indianapolis. Other sites may be available in your community. Empowered To Connect, together with Show Hope, hosts this two-day conference designed to “help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with ‘children from hard places’ in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be. The conference features Dr. Karyn Purvis and is ideal for adoptive and foster parents, those considering adoption or foster care and those who are serving and supporting others, including social workers, agency professionals, church staff and ministry leaders, counselors, therapists and others.”

What are “children from hard places”? Dr. Karyn Purvis, Director of the TCU Institute of Child Development and author of adoption book The Connected Child with her colleagues Dr. David Cross and Wendy Sunshine, uses this term to describe children who have experienced some type of abuse, trauma or neglect in utero or in their lives. This trauma can be due to such things as prenatal drug exposure, homelessness, mental health issues, medical trauma, difficult labor and birth, high family stress levels, domestic violence, malnourishment, physical/verbal/emotional abuse, severe neglect, multiple placements, and poverty, just to name a few. They can also be referred to as “vulnerable children” or “hard kids”, terms often used in the social services field. Dr. Daniel Siegel, another noted author and adoption specialist, describes “children from hard places” like dormant seeds just waiting to burst forth. Generally, children who have been placed in foster care, orphanages, residential facilities, or those who have been adopted often fall into this category. Why is this? It is because children living in congregate placements can often be “reinjured” when their caregivers do not fully understand the child’s trauma or his or her history and do not have the training to effectively work with them. Parents can also impact their child’s emotional development when they do not have the necessary tools or understanding to deal with such challenges. Children from all countries, all ages, who have difficult pasts and challenging behaviors, have been helped tremendously by using Dr. Purvis’ technique, called TBRI or Trust Based Relational Intervention.

TBRI – the technique, the reasoning behind it and the benefits of using it – will all be explored at Empowered To Connect. You will learn about brain development, helping your children create strong connections and build trust, types of attachment, sensory concerns, empowering your children to succeed, and activities to do with your children to impact behavioral change. You will hear from several parents who have successfully parented their own “child from a hard place” and get insights on what they learned. The goal is to help these vulnerable children heal and become whole in body, mind and spirit while at the same time building trusting and strong connections with them. You will realize that by using these methods with your own child there is hope for every child and family!

To RSVP for MLJ Adoptions’ Live Simulcast of the Empowered To Connect Conference, please RSVP here. We hope to see you there!

Karlene Edgemon works as MLJ Adoptions’ Director of Social Services. Throughout her 25 year social services career, Karlene has been able to watch adoption transform the lives of children and she is always brainstorming new ways to support adoptive families before, during and after their adoption.