Friday, March 29, 2013

We Don't Take the Opportunity Lightly

We have been given opportunities to serve and we don't take those opportunities lightly. David and I have had the privilege of serving people separately this week. He is in Kyrgyzstan working with the leadership and staff  IUCA, where he serves as the president of the Board of Trustees. He is doing much more beyond the university  but we have had no opportunity even to talk with each other, but only short emails.  So I will find it all out when we get reconnected on Sunday in Kyrgyzstan.

This week I have been working with the awesome staff of the International Leadership and Development Center of Ukraine.  We have spent the week in training and as always, the people that we are connected with are incredible, insightful and eager to learn.   Our topic for this series was Building Trauma Competent Caregivers:Nine Essential Skills - a real focus on trauma informed care for orphanages and the country's foster and adoptive parents.

 Beginning the week at the SOS Children's Village in Kiev. The participants were foster moms, social workers and psychologists.

These foster moms and social workers share their own experiences and challenges in caring for children with a history of trauma.

 Wednesday we joined a new group at CBN headquarters in Kiev.  There was a great mixture of public social workers, psychologists, trainers, foster parents and adoptive parents.

 Sharing their groups ideas on the essential skills of trauma informed care.

 This group of social workers discusses trust based relational intervention techniques (Dr. Karyn Purvis) and how those relate to their work.

These workers are applying the principles presented on the first day to their professional practice.

                                           A part of our training group finishing on Friday.

Special Visitors

Because of the historic snowstorm that hit Ukraine just before we arrived, we assumed a planned visit from our new friends, the Wwojtasinskas from Poland was in jeopardy. We figured they couldn't come, but we were greatly surprised and pleased when we received a phone call that they decided to drive the 12 hours it would take for them to come to attend training this week.

David and I will be joining them at a national conference in Poland in June and they wanted to meet us, learn more about the training and best of all for me, make new special friends.  Jarek and Eydta have been foster and adoptive parents for 17 years and care mostly for children with severe fetal alcohol syndrome.  They are so supported by their dynamic 19 year old daughter, Ania, who even though very young, carries the same burden for wounded children as her parents.

One of the exciting things that may come out of this connection is ILDC may be able to meet training needs in Poland and partner with the Wojtasinska's foster care coalition to see it unfold.

     Max and Dasha (ILDC staff), Ania, and her parents Edyta and Jarek from Poland. They represent a large foster parent coalition that is advocating for system change in their country.

The training series ended tonight and it is always a mixed moment for me. I met people that have touched my life and I hope in some small way, we were able to touch theirs.

Off to Kyrgyzstan in the morning..can't wait to get back with David!!!

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