Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poland Update - The Rest of the Story

This is the rest of the story of our journey with our dear Polish friends. We spent three days of training foster parents, therapists and trainers on our trauma informed series. There were 33 participants from all over the country.  They loved the Trust Based Relational information - the work of Dr. Karyn Purvis and colleagues, that we we integrated into the three day series.

Here are pictures from a week we will remember....

 Discussing a group activity.

Everyone jumps in to contribute to the activity on child development.

 This group is discussing their presentation for the last day
 Not sure what I am doing here....sometimes candid shots are not that complimentary.
 Ania, the 19 year old daughter of Jurek and Edyta, foster parents, was indispensable for the week. We hesitated to have a need because she would move to meet it immediately.

 The workshop was full of opportunities to process the trauma information.

 Jumping to answer a question and winning Wounded Children Healing Homes in Polish.

 David's contribution in the workshop was invaluable.  His insight and depth of knowledge in this area was so helpful to everyone.

 Our group...and we hope to see them again.....

Nothing of this magnitude happens without leadership.  Joanna is the executive director of  "Koalicja na rzecz Rodzinnej Opieki ZastÄ™pczej" - a coalition of foster parent associations around Poland.  Thank you Joanna for the opportunity to share.

Our time in Poland is over for now, but we will continue to work with them on several projects...just hoping also to get back there and see those beautiful children  (see blog entry below)....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poland - Beyond Expectations

From meeting incredible foster families, to spending time with social work professionals and therapists, to sightseeing the beauty of a country, our week in Poland, as David said to our friends as we were leaving - "exceeded our wildest expectations."

During our week there we attended and spoke at a national foster care conference, conducted three days of training, spent time seeing the country, but most importantly connected with people of like mind and heart.  It is best shared in pictures....

First - meeting a beautiful special family
Jurek and Edyta have been foster parents for 17 years and have cared for over 40 children, many of whom they keep active contact today.  This was our introduction to the hospitality of Poland.

Jurek..he looks so serious here but he is a wonderful, caring, fun-loving foster dad..

Eight of the ten children who live in the foster family....We can almost tell you everyone of their names.

David was thrilled this little guy wanted to hold his hand..he soon learned he had a plan. . Edyta is a gentle and compassionate foster mom.

 Out on a walk and taking pictures of each other taking pictures.

 Dinner with the young adults who are still very connected to the family. Ania, the biological daughter of the foster family is sitting behind me.  This is an incredibly gifted, compassionate young adult who is deeply involved in the lives of the children in their homes. She has grown up with this as the only way of life she knows and will have a great impact herself on the future of child welfare in this county. I just know that.

 Dora caught our did all the children.


Chris, his American name, really connected to David.

Sight-seeing before the serious work

 Visiting an historic church.
 Behind us, across the river is Belarus.  This was a wonderful drive through the countryside.

David's right foot is in Poland and his left is in Belarus....Quite a feat to have your feet in different countries!

The Serious Work Begins

First stop the national conference

 Between 300 and 400 foster parents, social workers, members of the legislation and judicial branches and others attended this first time Foster Care Congress. This was during our presentation as the audience listened to the translation.  We spoke on the Three Essential Tasks for Foster Caregivers.

These foster care youth served in many ways throughout the conference.