Wednesday, June 24, 2009

August 15th Temple Trip

Louisville Kentucky Temple Trip
August 15th
Any and all are invited to attend!
Stay tuned for more details and RSVP to to let us know if you are planning to attend. (Also, let us know if you need babysitting and how many children you will have there.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

LDS Family Services Adoption Program: Same Old Faces, New Focus

Okay despite a receding hairline and maybe a more mature and distinguished look, I hope my face is not considered old, but while some of the faces and characters in our office have not changed you will notice a new look to the face of our adoption program. Above is a picture of my great looking family. What remains the same is our programs focus on building families.

In the spring of this year LDS Family Services completed an evaluation designed to assess and potentially reshape our service programs. In conducting this evaluation welfare services and the presiding brethren were considering how we can, 1. Best meet the needs of the growing church, 2. Improve the quality of our services and 3. Better support and coordinate with priesthood leaders. As we were assigned a new commissioner over LDS Family Services, Larry Crenshaw, he set the vision for staff, viewing ourselves as “Healers of Souls”. Much discussion went into what aspects of our services were aligned with this core and thus needed to be maintained and strengthened. To help us to become stronger, quicker and leaner as an organization we also needed to release ourselves from those aspects of our services that are not at our core.

Fortunately the decision was made to continue with our adoption program and engage in means to make it the best that we can. To help us accomplish this goal our program has been reshaped in a number of areas to not only heal souls, but to build eternal families. Below are a summary of some of these changes.

Focus on the Needs of the Child – Okay this focus is nothing new, but even more so we are recommitting our efforts to the interests of children. More than the birth parents, the adoptive families or others, we hope to reorient ourselves to serving more and more of God’s precious children who need the covenants of the temple.

Specialization of Services – We will increase the quality of our services as we move from LDS Family Services program generalists to specialists. I have taken the assignment of “Adoption Supervisor” in our office allowing me to focus the majority of my time on adoption. In time we are working to add other part time or contracted workers that will focus exclusively on adoption work.

Menu Driven Approach – While in the past we have been the primary provider for every component of adoption from start to finish, we now will be looking to outsource some services and strengthen others. This will depend on local laws and the quality of community resources, but in the future this may include home studies, placements, supervisory visits and legal work. Doing so will allow us to focus even more on what we see as the most crucial aspect of adoption, the matching. We plan to improve our case work as we partner with birthparents seeking to make a tremendously important decision and coaching adoptive couples through the rapids of adoption processes and resources.

Partnerships within the Community – We will work within adoption communities drawing upon the best resources, talent and services of other agencies. As we do this we hope to offer the best services to those who walk through our doors, but we also help to support the collective synergism that will help support and preserve the practice of adoption.

Use of Technology – As part of drawing upon the best in information and resources we have just launched . This site is a tremendous resource to birth parents and adoptive couples alike. As this is promoted and marketed throughout the church and internet it will be a wonderful means to strengthen adoption and place more children in covenant homes.

Families Supporting Adoption – As you can imagine the herculean task of building this program is well beyond the scope of one adoption supervisor. To accomplish this task we need the active and energetic support of a coalition of adoptive advocates such as Families Supporting Adoption. For the benefit of the many children needing covenant homes we need the put our FSA organization on steroids (or at least intensive weight training). We need to build and focus in ways that increase mentoring, training, support, advocacy and legislation for the good of children. As you visit this blog you will see an increase in activity as we align with this vision.

I hope that in reading through this you can feel of my love for adoption and excitement concerning this new program focus. I greatly love my children and am amazed and grateful for the courage and strength that it takes for birth mothers to place their children in adoptive homes. Truly few other decisions have such a tremendous impact for good in the life of a child. I appreciate your patience with some of the bumps and delays in getting to this point. I invite your full participation as we partner with the Lord in moving forward with wonderful miracle of adoption.