W.I.S.E. Up! the World about Adoption Conference

The W.I.S.E. Up! program empowers families to choose how they talk about their adoption story.

Parents will participate in a workshop that will focus on an in-depth conversation of what children understand, think, and feel about adoption as they grow. The common questions, fears, and concerns adopted children face will be addressed. We will also explore the dynamic between non-adopted peers, extended family, and even strangers.

The W.I.S.E. Up! program has spread across the country as children have embraced its simplicity and power to address the consistent challenge of explaining adoption and their adoption stories to peers, neighbors, and even strangers. W.I.S.E. Up!® is a tool to empower children to handle questions and comments about adoption from others. This program helps children realize that they are not alone with this task. Children will learn the program, create Powerstix, and role play various scenarios to help them practice what they have learned.

Brought to you by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families and the Wisconsin Post Adoption Resources Centers with the support of Jockey Being Family® and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

The W.I.S.E. Up! curriculum was created and provided by the Center for Adoption Support and Education.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

$20/participant or $30/twosome
(1st—5th grade, adopted children ONLY)

Our Lord’s United Methodist Church
5000 S. Sunnyslope Road
New Berlin WI 53151

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided

Please note, child care for younger children will not be provided. Please make other arrangements.

Register online, email us, or call 414-475-1246


NEW Training: Why Kids Lie . . . and What to Do about It


Few things are more damaging to trust between a parent and child than lying. What do you do when you’ve tried everything to get your child to stop? You took away his cell phone and banned him from using his electronics. You told the story of the boy who cried wolf. You expressed how much it hurts you when he lies. You threatened to give away his Xbox and ground him for a year if you catch him lying again. Yet the lying continues.

This training will take a look at lying and its role in child development. We will explore the different types of lies and the reasons kids tell them. Most importantly, we will discuss strategies that will help your child break the habit of lying and promote trust and honest communication.

About the Trainer
LoriAnn D’Acquist0 is a former foster parent, adoptive parent, and Training Coordinator for the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families. LoriAnn has 15 years experience in foster family recruitment, licensing, training, and child placement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
6:00-8:00 p.m.
$15 per person $60 per agency group

The Coalition for Children, Youth and Families
6682 W. Greenfield Avenue, Suite 310, Milwaukee WI 53214
Or attend via webinar

Register online, email us, or call 414-475-1246

NEW Training – Making Seasons Bright: Adoption & the Holidays

Training: Making Seasons BrightWhile the holidays can be an anticipation-filled joyous time for many families, they can be emotionally charged and stressful for adoptive families. For the child who was adopted, the holidays can trigger feelings of sadness, loss, grief, guilt, and confusion. In addition, your child may be coping with meeting extended family for the first time or adjusting to unfamiliar family traditions.

In this training, adoptive parent, Karen Schlindwein, and her daughter, Amalie Bowling, will be sharing insights into preparing for the holidays to make them a time of true celebration. They will be exploring coping with holiday emotions, managing expectations, and creating new holiday traditions.

About the Trainers
Karen Schlindwein and Amalie Bowling are the authors of Dear Lois: Our Adoption Journey, a unique perspective of an adoption story told through letters written to birth mothers, by the adoptive parents, as their children we growing up.
Karen is the adoptive mother of two and has co-facilitated Hope, a ministry for couples experiencing adoption and/or infertility. She has been blessed to counsel many through their adoption journeys. Karen is currently Executive Director of Education for Chosen, Inc. an adoption/fostering ministry that will soon be a non-profit organization.
Amalie shares her mother’s deep passion for adoption and those who are adopted. She and husband, Jason, dream of opening a group foster home (a future part of Chosen Inc.) to show children that family comes in all shapes and sizes, but love is the most important thing that we share in this life. Amalie co-leads a youth group with Jason, and is Administrator of Children’s Ministries at their church.
Information about their book and Chosen can be found at their website at dearlois.org.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
6:00-8:00 p.m.
$20 per person     $80 per agency group
The Coalition for Children, Youth and Families
6682 W. Greenfield Avenue, Suite 310, Milwaukee WI 53214
Or attend via webinar

NEW Training: Tempers, Tantrums & Outbursts – Help Your Child Manage Anger

Child with paint instead of faceWhen children struggle with how  to express their emotions, they may resort to presenting some difficult, unmanageable, or negative behaviors. Those behaviors, and the anger behind them, can take a toll on the child as well as everyone around him, and may even result in the erosion of family relationships.

In this training, participants will explore possible motives for a child’s difficult behaviors and learn about some steps parents can take to teach their children how to express feelings safely, develop healthy coping skills, and enhance positive communication. The workshop leader will offer effective problem solving tools that work for the whole family.

About the Trainer
Kathy Duffek, BSWC, Parents Place, Program Manager, has over 20 years of experience in leadership positions in the nonprofit, parent education, and family service sectors. She is an innovative parent educator, experienced in program development and implementation, grant writing, and public speaking on a variety of parenting issues.

Since 1995, Kathy has worked as the Community Education Coordinator at Parents Place Family Resource Center in Waukesha County. She has a passion for working with children and families, especially in the areas of social and emotional development. She is a strong advocate for strengthening families, and feels that every family would benefit from parent education and support.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
6:00-8:00 p.m.
$20/person    $80/agency group

Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
6682 W Greenfield Avenue, Suite 310
Milwaukee WI 53214

Or attend via webinar

Register online, email us, or call 414-475-1246

Under the Umbrella: How Domestic Violence Affects Children

Training: How Domestic Violence Affects ChildrenCases of domestic violence have been at the forefront of news lately. A lot of
attention has been given to the situation involving football star Ray Rice, but the truth is that domestic violence is prevalent in every community. It is believed that more than three million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year. These children are not only at greater risk for abuse, neglect, and health problems like headaches and stomachaches; the effects of domestic violence can also affect children later in life. As adults, individuals who witnessed domestic violence as children are:
  • Six times more likely to commit suicide
  • 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol
  • 74 times more likely to commit violent crimes against another
There is no doubt that exposure to domestic violence can have a drastic effect on children. The question that many of us want to know is – what can I do about this? Keep in mind that most children are resilient IF they are given proper help and support following traumatic events like domestic violence. This support is often best provided by the child’s family, but even a brief relationship with one caring adult can make a difference. That person may be the child’s teacher, day care provider, neighbor, social worker, or even YOU!
Having a positive caring adult in their lives can make all the difference for a child affected by domestic violence. Of course, some children need or would benefit from additional services or support. Many shelters and domestic violence organizations offer support groups for youth. These groups can provide children with coping strategies and help them see that they are not alone.
If domestic violence is affecting you or someone you know, reach out for help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or Safe Horizon’s hotline at 800-621-HOPE (4673).
We also invite you to attend our upcoming training, How Domestic Violence Affects Children, on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. You can attend in person at our office in Milwaukee or from anywhere via webinar. Click the link above to learn more about this event and register online.
Please keep in mind that we are here to support you and your family. Reach out anytime – our Resource Specialists are here to help.

Tales From the Road

by Sue Badeau

Have you ever taken a road trip? With children?

Two boys in the car using a tablet PC, younger boy sitting in the child safety seat

If so, you understand the importance of packing a well-stocked tool kit so you’ll be
prepared in the event of a flat tire, dead battery, or other roadside challenge. The right tool kit may have life or death implications. Traveling in hot, dry climates with long stretches of road between rest stops requires different tools and supplies (extra water!) than traveling in the blistering cold and ice of the northern regions of Wisconsin in winter (blankets please!).

In a similar way, families fostering or adopting children, as well as the professionals
who work with them, need to have the right tools to make their journey safe and
healing for all. My husband and I have parented over 75 children – through birth,
adoption, foster care, refugee hosting, and kinship care. Many have complex trauma
and/or medical special needs. Along with shorter road trips, we’ve taken coast-to-coast camping trips with our children half a dozen times! We learned many life lessons on these trips, and drew from those experiences to write our book, “Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids.”
It has been a scary, challenging, thrilling, joyous, confusing, frustrating, and rewarding journey from the first day until today – one that we would definitely repeat if we had the opportunity – and yet one that we were not always prepared for. When we set out to become parents, my husband and I thought we had a pretty complete tool kit. I had a college degree in early childhood education; he had experience as a youth counselor and coach. We had friends who were parents. We had attended conferences, read books, babysat, and observed. We were ready to rock and roll on this journey of parenthood. Quickly we learned that parenting children whose lives have been challenged by abuse, neglect, medical conditions, community violence, separation, loss, and a depth of grief we had never experienced would take more than the usual spare tires, jumper cables, and maps required for most road trips.

Today I’ll share a few thoughts about road trips – and a few lessons we’ve learned along the way. When I speak at the A Place in My Heart conference, I’ll share a bit about what we’ve learned to pack in our own parenting tool kit to help you think about what you might need for yours, or for the families you work with.

“Let’s go.” The most important lesson about successful road trips is that they require
action. One of the best moments of any road trip, is getting everyone loaded into the
vehicles and pulling out of the driveway. We may not know what lies ahead, but we’re on our way.

In my role as a consultant, parents or workers often describe a challenging situation related to a child. Their question goes something like this, “Is this a normal developmental thing, or is it adoption-related, or should we have her tested for other issues?”

Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the root cause underlying the words, feelings, and behaviors children present. We can get stuck in the mud of confusion. Paralyzed by the fear of doing the wrong thing, we do nothing. Children are further traumatized as a result. While it is important to do our best to understand what is going on with our children, we cannot be afraid to act. We must forge ahead, applying parenting
strategies designed to foster attachment, nurture healing, and support healthy development, even when plagued with unknowns and uncertainties.

“I will go before you.” The best sources of information for planning a road trip are not always found in travel guides, but rather by talking to others who have been down that road before us. We need others as mentors, guides, and companions. We need their leadership, expertise, experience, and fellowship. Throughout our journey as foster and adoptive parents, such travelling companions have helped us learn how to cope with a child on a feeding tube, a pregnant teen, a son in prison, and a dying child. What a precious gift to have such companions to go before us and travel with us. Foster, kin, and adoptive families need these connections. Support groups, both in-person and online, buddy-families, respite providers, mentors. Families will have a more successful journey when they are able to learn from and share in the experiences of others.

“Slow down!” We live in a fast-paced world; we’re used to everything being instant, from the news to text messages – we never want to wait. Yet, sometimes, the best advice we can heed is the voice inside that is urging us to “slow down, go at the pace of the children . . .”

In our journey, we’ve learned that there are two ways to travel: to focus on the destination, or to enjoy the journey on its own terms. Each road trip will be filled with delays and detours. But when we focus on the journey, these detours can become “teachable moments,” not simply hassles to be endured. Sometimes we discover that what we thought was a detour is actually the best way after all.

Our children may not achieve developmental milestones at the same pace as other children. Healing from trauma takes time. Do not rush the process. Give children time, give parents time – time to attach, to heal, and to thrive.

Let me illustrate these life lessons with a couple of stories from our own family journey.

Father and son walking during the hiking activities in autumn forest at sunset

On one trip, when the kids were small, we hiked in the Appalachian Mountains. We covered a short distance on an easy walking trail.

I noticed many hikers passing us equipped with everything needed to make it to the top of the mountain. I grew envious. As I looked over my motley crew, my eyes fixed on my small son with cerebral palsy – a child who was predicted to never walk – picking his way along the mountain path.

My eyes filled with tears. I realized that he was every bit as successful as the pros with their fancy equipment. I learned an important lesson that day: it’s not about getting to the top, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other, and continuing the climb.

Sometimes, while on our journey, we get into accidents. The second story I’ll share involves a road trip with one of my daughters and her infant son. At three in the morning, I was getting sleepy and fighting my eyelids as they threatened to close.

The next thing I knew, I was in a ditch, upside down, pinned between the steering wheel and door. My grandson was crying and my daughter was unconscious. I was terrified that we’d never get out. Who would see us at this hour? From time to time, I’d see the glimmer of headlights on the road above. No one stopped.

Finally, a trucker stopped. He couldn’t fix us, but he stayed with us until an ambulance came. We all survived, although some scars remain.

What touched me so deeply was that the trucker stopped and stayed – not knowing if we could be fixed. It cost him time and set him back on his route. I think of him often when I get discouraged that I can’t always “fix” everything for my children, or when I don’t see complete healing from the damage and injuries they sustained by all kinds of brutal early life experiences. I’m reminded to look beyond the “wreck” – to see hope and possibilities for healing, just as the trucker did for us. I am reminded of the value of being the one who stops and stays even in the midst of seemingly
impossible circumstances.

These are just two of the lessons we’ve learned from taking road trips with our family. The precious memories have endured. We’ve also learned that, when travelling, you better take along a really good tool kit because, inevitably, you’ll
experience flat tires, get lost, the brakes will quit, etc. I hope you can join me at the A Place in My Heart conference on November 7 in Wisconsin Dells. I’ll share a bit more about our tool kit to help you think about what goes into yours.

NEW Training: How Domestic Violence Affects Children

Training: How Domestic Violence Affects ChildrenDomestic violence exists in every community. In order to understand why domestic violence occurs and why some victims remain in abusive relationships, it is essential to first understand the dynamics of power and control. In this training, we will look at not only how domestic violence affects adults, but also the impact it can have on children who witness this violence. Debra will also discuss warning signs to look for, how to help a survivor of domestic violence, and what resources exist for families experiencing domestic violence in our community.  

About the Trainer
Debra Fields
is the Community Education and Prevention Coordinator for Sojourner Family Peace Center. She is a co-partner with the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, educating W2 Case Managers on domestic violence and how to assist W2 recipients who are living with abuse. In addition to working in Community Education for Sojourner Family Peace Center, Debra co-facilitates the Beyond Abuse program, a 23- week batterer intervention program serving both male and female offenders.

Debra’s mission is to raise awareness about domestic abuse and intimate partner violence through education in order to break the cycle of violence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
6682 W. Greenfield Avenue, Suite 310
Milwaukee, WI 53214

or attend via webinar

$20 per person     $80 per agency group

Register online, email us, or call 414-475-1246