2013 Fall Newsletter

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Transcript of 2013 Fall Newsletter

  • friends that said simply, We want to adopt Keegan, but we need your help -- and everyone chipped in. It was a real community effort.

    The case managers at Family Resource Center were quick to recognize the love and stability in the lively household; it was just the environment Keegan needed to thrive. They were delightful, Peggy says. It was amazing to go in front of these people and give them your life story and have them be so supportive. Tom laughs as he remembers one case manager exclaiming, I just cant believe you guys are going to do this!

    We measure success by the little things, Tom says. Keegan had never held a book until he came into our home, but this summer he joined the reading club at the library; he sings in our church choir, and he has actually learned to like vegetables. This past spring the adoptive parents looked on proudly as Keegan took on a starring role in the school play. He had a way of saying his lines that just brought down the house! Tom says.

    It has been two years since Keegan became their son, and Tom and Peggy still remember the gratifying words of the family court judge who granted the adoption: Thank you. You just saved this boys life.

    Fall 2013Giving abused kids a chance for a better life.

    Hes coming back. My dads coming back to get me. You know that, dont you, Tom?

    It seemed like every time Tom tried to get close to his adopted son, Keegan pushed him away. No matter how we sugarcoat it, Keegan was abandoned, his adoptive mom, Peggy, says, and abandonment is an awful thing. How do you explain that to a seven year-old boy?

    Keegan came into their lives eager to please, but angry and puzzled by his biological dads absence. He would cry at the drop of a hat, Peggy recalls. The beautiful thing was that we could go to bed thinking how tough the day had been, and the next morning Keegan would be up and smiling as if nothing had happened. Each morning that he bounced back I thanked God. During those first few months Peggy says she clung to the assurance of Family Resource Centers case manager: Get him out of this mess and, nine times out of ten, it will change his behavior.

    One night as Tom tucked Keegan into bed, he had a heart-breaking conversation with his young son. Keegan said, You know, Tom, I think my dads dead. And I said, Why do you say that? And Keegan responded, Because he kept saying he was going to come and get me, but hes not coming, is he? So I think hes pretty much dead. Tom pauses as he recalls that emotional moment and his efforts to comfort the boy. I said, Well, it is possible that hes dead, Keegan but you dont have to worry about that now.

    And then Tom heard the words from Keegan that he had been longing to hear: Tom, youre my dad now. I just hugged him, Tom says.

    Tom and Peggy were foster parents for Keegan before they applied to adopt him. They already had a large family and a house sorely in need of repair, but I knew in my mind we were not giving this child up, Peggy says. I sent out an email to our

    Saving a Life

    november is national adoption month

  • A Letter from Greg

    Dear Friends,Thank you. You saved this boys life.

    Those words from Judge Jimmie Edwards as Keegan was finally adopted [see article on page 1] were about one little boy. But what appropriate words to kick off Family Resource Centers 40th Anniversary year with its theme: 40 Years. Countless Lives! The very same words could be said about thousands of children who, over the last 40 years, have come into our care, hurting and fearful, and have left our care with hope and a smile on their face.

    40 years seems like a lifetime. I was a young social worker at Childrens Hospital when the opportunity came up to apply for a grant to create something that didnt exist a very special intervention for little children, 3 to 5 years old, that would help them replace the fear in their eyes and the trembling of their little bodies with a smile and a confident step into a future of hope. That program, our Therapeutic Day Treatment and Preschool, was the foundational program for Family Resource Center. Since we started in 1974, more than 1000 children have passed through the bright classrooms which are one of the highlights of any visit to our Center here on S. Kingshighway.

    We learned, of course, that the best way to help these kids was to get them into a healthy, loving home as quickly as possible. Our Foster Care services fill that gap on a temporary basis, placing and watching over more than 400 children each year. That adds up to a lot of kids tens of thousands over 40 years - thanks to the support of donors like you, our usually unseen and unheralded heroes. And we have an amazing staff of foster care case managers who are essentially on-call 24/7 with a smile.

    But the real heroes, in my book, are the Foster Parents like Keegans. These folks open their hearts and arms to these children, sight unseen, not knowing what kinds of physical and emotional issues theyre going to face.

    Sometimes Foster Parents go on to become Adoptive Parents, such as Tom and Peggy, and the Parker Team with their 5 adopted children [see article on page 5]. In 2012 we placed 120 foster children into forever homes. (One of our Board members described the adoption ceremony she observed as one of the most surreal moments of my life.)

    I know Ive changed a lot over 40 years my graying beard and hair attest to that but one thing hasnt changed: I still leave here with confidence each evening, knowing that Im keeping the promise I made 40 years ago to those kids, and to our community that I and my staff would do everything in our power to keep them safe and give them a future.

    40 years. Countless lives! Now thats something for you and us to celebrate!

    Regards,

    Greg Echele

    P.S. Thanks to the Rams organization and support from a corporate sponsor, Edward Jones, we recently were able to send 40 of our Foster Parents to a Rams game at the Jones Dome to give them a much needed respite.

    Greg Echele, Chief Executive Officer

    2 Family Resource Center Update

    2 A Letter from Greg 3 News & Stories 6 Staff & Volunteers

    8 Events & Fundraising 13 Board Information 14 Our Donors

    Table of Contents

  • News and Stories

    3

    A Forever Home for Sandra

    The Therapeutic Day Treatment Preschool held its First Annual Graduation ceremony on August 9.

    It was a proud day for four of our children who will transition into traditional kindergartens with the start of the school year. FRCs program has been in existence for almost 40 years but, We never held a ceremony before when our kids moved on, Day Treatment Supervisor Catherine Coyle said. Its time we let the FRC staff know how proud we are of these kids, and how proud the kids are of their progress.

    Congratulations to our smallest graduates!

    Graduation Day

    Remember the little girl you saw in the fast food restaurant the other day, the one who smiled so brightly when you admired her curls? That might have been Sandra, a little four year-old whose mother abandoned her at a crisis nursery. Our case manager was standing beside Sandra that day, and she tells us the little girl whispered in her ear, Maybe that nice lady could be my new mommy.

    Will you consider adoption? The adoption process takes time and effort, but the rewards that come from reaching out to

    a waiting child are immeasurable. As Bobbie Jo Parker surveys her five adopted children, she recalls the pivotal day when she learned she could not conceive children and her grandmother said, Dry your tears; there are lots of children who need your love. Today that seems like a long ago dream, and Team Parker is a wonderful reality.

    And you will not make the journey alone. The case managers of Family Resource Center are ready to walk with you through the process as you find your forever child. Peggy, Keegans mother, fondly recalls FRCs encouragement. Are you seriously telling us that you would allow us to adopt, given the kids we already have, and our house looking like it does? she asked our case managers. And they said, Yeah! We were floored.

    This year Family Resource Center hopes to find adoptive families for more than 100 of our kids. With a forever home, we know Sandras future can be just as bright as her smile.

    Do I qualify to adopt a child?You qualify if: You are at least 21, single or married, with or without other

    children, You are in good physical and mental health, You have a stable income and live in housing that meets

    licensing standards, You are willing to complete the training and an assessment

    process.

    How do I begin?Visit the website for the Missouri Department of Social Services (dss.mo.org) and download and complete the Adoption Home Assessment Application Form. A social worker with the Childrens Division will screen your application and contact you for a home study. Home studies usually take 2-4 months to complete, and you will be asked to provide personal references, a police record check, medical history, proof of financial responsibility, and a child abuse/neglect screening.

    We encourage you to view photos of Missouris waiting children at Heart Gallery of Missouri (moheartgallery.org). If you have the generosity and resources to consider adopting a special needs child, assistance is available to cover on-going medical, dental and psychological services for the child.

    For more answers to your adoption questions, call our office at 314.534.9350 and we will connect you with one of our case managers.

    Catherine Coyle, Day Treatment Supervisor, and Teacher Stephanie Edwards prepare backpacks and certificates prior to the graduation ceremony.

  • On Sunday, May