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Last week I attended a symposium about Attachment Disorders.  It was very enlightening and helped to shed light on a lot of the struggles I have had as a new foster/adopive mom.  See below from Nancy Thomas’ website but remember there are varying degrees of attachment, children may have only one cause and would need to have at least half of the symptoms before they would be considered to have Reactive Attachment Disorder.  The children I have had contact with from the foster care system so far have had varying degrees of difficulty with attachment.

Attachment is defined as the affectional tie between two people. It begins with the bond between the infant and mother. This bond becomes internally representative of how the child will form relationships with the world. Bowlby stated “the initial relationship between self and others serves as blueprints for all future relationships.” (Bowlby, 1975)

Attachment Disorder is defined as the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. They often show nearly a complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others. They typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust. They do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue. This damage is done by being abused or physically or emotionally separated from one primary caregiver during the first 3 years of life. “If a child is not attached-does not form a loving bond with the mother-he does not develop an attachment to the rest of mankind. The unattached child literally does not have a stake in humanity” (Magid & McKelvey 1988) They do not think and feel like a normal person. “At the core of the unattached is a deep-seated rage, far beyond normal anger. This rage is suppressed in their psyche.
Now we all have some degree of rage, but the rage of psychopaths is that born of unfulfilled needs as infants. Incomprehensible pain is forever locked In their souls, because of the abandonment they felt as infants.” (Magid & McKelvey 1988) “There is an inability to love or feel guilty. There is no conscience. Their inability to enter into any relationship makes treatment or even education impossible.” (Bowlby 1955) Some infamous people with Attachment Disorder that did not get help in time: Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Edgar Allen Poe, Jeffery Dahmer, and Ted Bundy. One famous person with Attachment Disorder who did get help in time (in 1887!) and became one of greatest humanitarians is Helen Keller.

Attachment Disorder Symptoms

• Superficially engaging & charming
• Lack of eye contact on parents terms
• Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
• Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly)
• Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone)
• Cruelty to animals
• Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
• Stealing
• No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
• Learning Lags
• Lack of cause and effect thinking
• Lack of conscience
• Abnormal eating patterns
• Poor peer relationships
• Preoccupation with fire
• Preoccupation with blood & gore
• Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
• Inappropriately demanding & clingy
• Abnormal speech patterns
• Triangulation of adults
• False allegations of abuse
• Presumptive entitlement issues
• Parents appear hostile and angry

Causes
Any of the following conditions occurring to a child during the first 36 months of life puts them at risk:

• Unwanted pregnancy
• Pre-birth exposure to trauma, drugs or alcohol
• Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
• Neglect (not answering the baby’s cries for help)
• Separation from primary caregiver (i.e. Illness or death of mother or severe illness or hospitalization of the baby, or adoption
• On-going pain such as colic, hernia or many ear infections
• Changing day cares or using providers who don’t do bonding
• Moms with chronic depression
• Several moves or placements (foster care, failed adoptions)
• Caring for baby on a timed schedule or other self-centered parenting

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Foster Parenting Podcast

Hurray, we had our last Home Study visit Saturday.  We passed our physical standards, talked about our marriage, how we plan to meet the required competencies, and answered miscellaneous questions that she wasn’t sure she had the answers to.  We were told that they have 120 days to complete our study from our first class which was September 18th.  We still have one class this Thursday night which is specific to our licensing agency, Missouri Baptist Children’s Home.  After that we don’t have anything else we can do we just wait to hear back about our Home Study.  I am searching photolistings of children in the foster care system that are waiting for families.  We can receive further information about Missouri children but no one will send information to us about out of state children without a completed home study.  We are interested in adopting a sibling group so please join us in prayer that we will rest in God’s timing and have wisdom in preparing ourselves, our home, our schedules, and our family for the challenges in our future ministry to hurt children.

The Abba Fund Blog  There are lots of great ideas here about how to finance your adoption and remember the cost to adopt from U. S. Foster Care is only $2,500 or even less.  There are 10,000 missouri children currently in foster care

“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.”  Deuteronomy 24:17

Session II

Eight steps to launching an orphans ministry in your church

Overview of the Eight Steps

1.  Approach a key leader with your vision.
2.  Identify passionate people to join you in prayer.
3.  Dream together about the possibilities.
4.  Determine your channels of orphans ministry.
5.  Plan the strategies of your ministry.
6.  Establish the proposed leadership structure of your ministry.
7.  Develop a formal proposal for church leadership.
8.  Launch your orphans ministry!

“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”  Deuteronomy 10:18

This past weekend Brent and I traveled to Sioux Falls, SD to attend a workshop.  Hope for Orphans presents Your Church and the Orphan:  A Group Workshop Experience on Orphans Ministry in Your Church.  It was very profitable and here are the areas that were covered (in a nutshell).

“Least of These” Theology 101

A.  The Bible mentions caring for the poor and oppressed approximately 2100 times in Scripture.

B.  Who were the poor?
     1.  Aliens (strangers)
     2.  Widows
     3.  Orphans
     4.  Other:  destitute, opressed, sick and in prison, hungry, need shelter, and are naked, weak and afflicted.

C.  Where does caring for these groups of people rank on God’s priority list?
      Exodus 22:21-22, Ezekiel 16:49, Micah 6:8, James 1:27

Historical Overview of Orphan Care

A.  The seven primary ways by which orphans have historically been cared for:
      1.  Extended family
      2.  Intra-community
      3.  Inter-community
      4.  Foster Care
      5.  Group Home
      6.  Orphanage/Children’s Home
      7.  No Care

The Twenty-First Century Church and the Orphan-Care Crisis

143 million orphans–can we get to them all?
There are approximately 380,000 churches in North America.
There are approximately 2.3 billion professing Christians worldwide.

In Summary

1.  God has always had an expectation that His followers will care for those in society who are marginalized.
2.  Orphans have been cared for in a number of different ways throughout history, all of them having various advantages and disadvantages.
3.  The church is God’s answer to the orphan question.

One thing that was discussed that really stood out to us from this section was that people are not aware of the orphans in the United States.  In the past their was an orphanage or orphanages in each city that held the orphans and people were aware of it and took gifts, adopted out, etc… Now our orphans are in foster homes across our nation and are invisible.  That is not to say that all children in foster care are without parents but almost 120,000 have had parental rights terminated and are available/need to be adopted.

This one is a real tear jerker:

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