This week The Envoy Group visited and assisted in facilitating a session about out-of-home placement and residential treatment at the 2017 Refresh Conference in Redmond, Washington. Over 1,600 foster and adoptive families came to Overlake Christian Church to gain some training, insight, encouragement and possibly even some rest from the daily struggles of being a foster care and adoptive parent.
Due to the heightened incidence of trauma and the internal struggles that foster and adopted children typically face, over 40% of the families we serve have adopted or foster children. Our goal in attending was to offer our knowledge and support for those who have reached the end of their ability to help their struggling adopted or foster child at home, and the response we got was overwhelming.
Thanks to the grace and support of Chuck Hagele of Project Patch, we were able to come alongside him in a 1-hour session with about 70-80 parents. We discussed when out-of-home placement is appropriate, what to expect once you begin the process, what to look for in programs, how long it really takes for change to occur, and what to expect when your child is ready to return home.
The response we received from families was incredible, and our table was overwhelmed for about an hour after the session. One mother said that the session should have been three hours rather than just one. We heard several heartbreaking stories, some parents cried, and we cried with them. Realizing that you have reached the end of your rope with your child, that you no longer have the time or emotional resources necessary to help your teenager, is both highly discouraging and incredibly humbling. We were awed by the strength and the resolve of the parents we met, and we consider our time at the Refresh Conference this week to be one of the most fruitful we’ve had so far.