10 Practical Ways to Help Your Child Heal

When children come into our care from hard places, whether as a newborn or an older child, they have experienced trauma. Our privilege as a parent is to walk with them through the healing that their hearts need. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, shepherding a child in this process can be one of the

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ABC’s for a Successful Start to the School Year

What feelings did you have as summer vacation ended and the new school year began?  You may have experienced a range of feelings that included disappointment, excitement, delight, hopefulness, fear, anxiety, worry and insecurity. A new school year is loaded with so many changes! It can bring with it meeting new teachers, learning new schedules,

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Accusations

Accusations Coming from trauma and/or a long time in foster care, children learn many skills to help them survive. While some of these skills are excellent, like advocating for themselves and being able to talk to adults about what they need, they also tend to develop some maladaptive tendencies like manipulation, lying, and even accusing

Read More


Bonding & Attachment for Newly Adopted Children

The bonding and attachment process is referring to building trust, mutual affection, love, and security.  It is important to see that connecting with your child will affect all aspects of daily life and is the most important factor in positive adjustment for the adopted child and family overall.  These are some reminders that might help:

Read More


Challenging Behaviors

Remember where your child is coming from and to expect many challenging behaviors. Remember your child’s chronological age versus the developmental age. Discipline: Use positive scripting to verbalize what you want to see out of your child’s behaviors rather than using negative language regarding what you do not want to see. Limit using the word

Read More


Connect Guide

Connecting with other adoptive and foster parents allow space to build relationships, offer advice, and share the adoption and foster care journey. We've learned that newer connection groups benefit from structure and short outlines.

Read More


Cursing

Cursing When entering into this journey of adoption and/or foster care, parents are often excited and nervous about the challenges they will face. They want so desperately to love a child who needs love, to provide a home and a family for an orphan or child in need. What they are not always prepared for

Read More


Defiance

DEFIANCE When I think about a defiant child, I am reminded of the Prodigal Son parable found in Luke 15. What an amazing example of a parent’s reaction of love, grace, and security and an incredible picture of our Heavenly Father’s continuous grace and mercy. The Prodigal Son was defiant – he used the resources

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Equipped to Love: How the Church Can Support Adoptive and Foster Families

When God’s people respond to His command to care for vulnerable children, our churches will become faith families to parents, children, and siblings who are navigating the journeys of fostering and adoption. Children who have experienced neglect, abuse, and trauma often require a unique mindset when dealing with behavioral challenges and even in everyday interactions.

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Eye Contact

Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34 state, “the eye is the lamp of the body”.   Shakespeare stated, “The eyes are the windows to your soul”.  There is no doubt that it is through our eyes that we connect with one another.  Much of our non-verbal communication involves a look into one another’s eyes. It is through

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Food Anxiety

FOOD ANXIETY Most of us eat at least three meals a day but if you are like me, there are multiple snacks in between.  That’s a lot of time spent eating!  One of my favorite times of day is dinner time, but when you have a child with food anxiety, dinner time can turn into

Read More


Food/Eating Issues

Children may come to our homes with many challenges surrounding food. Children may have spent time wondering when they would get to eat their next meal or may have fought other children for food. These are some helpful reminders that might help: Have consistent meal times. Make meal times calm experiences, not hasty. Remember that

Read More


Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling

At Lifeline, we know that families struggle post placement, and we expect challenges to arise as part of the journey. We desire to be a safe place where they can seek help from those struggles. Throughout the following frequently asked questions, we want to shed light onto what counseling at Lifeline looks like and to help answer some lingering questions many adoptive and foster families may have.

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Grieving as Parents

Many times people assume children will grieve their losses in a fostering or adoption situation; however, it is not always assumed that the parents might grieve as well.  Foster or adoptive parents can sometimes grieve certain things they miss about their lives before their new child came home, even if they are thrilled to have

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Holiday Tips for Waiting Families

As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing. One friend of Lifeline said, “My younger sister was adopted, and I remember my parents . . . being so consumed with

Read More


Indiscriminate Affection

    We have all seen it. We have all been there. We are at a social gathering, usually a pot luck dinner at church, when that cute and adorable toddler cozies up to a random leg and puts on the death grip. But it is the wrong leg. I mean who can see faces

Read More


Ingratitude

INGRATITUDE Gratitude comes easier to some of us because of life lessons and experiences. It is a virtue that is cultivated over time, over a life span. However, many children haven’t had the healthy life lessons or a loving caregiver to help them develop a grateful heart. In a world where the cultural norm is

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Lying

LYING Although I can now confidently say that integrity is a value that I hold in high regard, as a child, I must confess that I had a bit of a lying problem. I frequently lied as an attempt to stay out of trouble or to “earn” approval. Honesty was a virtue that I had

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Making Sense of Senses

* What to look for: o What sensory experiences does your child seek out? o What sensory experiences does your child avoid? o Where does your child struggle? A Child Can Be: * Over-responsive * Under-responsive * Sensory-craving * Over-Responsive o This person is hypersensitive or hyper-alert to sensory input. o They may be a

Read More


Manipulation and Control

“You’re not the boss of me,” is a childhood declaration of mine that now lives in family infamy. Growing up I longed for independence, and this announcement was my way of expressing it. Children have a God-given desire to impact their environment and make choices. But perhaps you know a child who, like me, takes

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Memory and Trauma Anniversaries

IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORIES Memory is a central construct to the development of children. We learn through observing others and by interacting with the world around us. This in turn influences our behavior. It is widely accepted that prior to the age of three, memories cannot be recalled or stored. However, recent research suggests that

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Merry Christmas or is it?

For many of us the Christmas Season generates excitement which can include everything from planning special meals and gifts, attending seasonal programs with Christmas music and time with family.  For a child from foster care the memories of Christmas may not be so merry! For many of our adopted children they may be experiencing the

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Navigating the Hospital

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL A hospital stay or medical procedure can be a scary and overwhelming experience for a child of any age, as well as for parents. The sterile environment, people wearing scrubs everywhere, and new and unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds can bring about a sense of anxiety and fear in children and adults.

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Navigating the Hospital pt. 2

Understanding and Supporting Your Child During A Hospitalization As a parent, you may not know how to support your child during a hospitalization or medical procedure. If newly home, you may not feel as if you fully know or understand your child’s personality or temperament. Learning how the hospital stay may impact your child will

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Navigating the Hospital pt. 3

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL: Maintaining a Connection The period of time following your child’s adoption is critical for developing and maintaining connection and attachment.  Once home, your goal is to create an environment that is safe and conducive for healing. You and your child are beginning to learn about one another and forming a relationship. In

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Navigating the Hospital pt. 5

Games and Activities to do During your Child’s Hospital Stay It is common for most children’s hospitals to have a playroom available for your children in the hospital along with a large stock of games, toys and activities. If you are not told about a playroom or available games and toys, don’t be afraid to

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Navigating the Hospital pt.4

Navigating the Hospital: Caring for your Children remaining at home Caring for a child in the hospital can be an all-consuming task especially while trying to build and maintain attachment. The Hospital experience may feel like it takes all of your energy, all of your time, and all of your capacity. In previous articles we

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Nutrition and the Vulnerable Child

WHY NUTRITION MATTERS: A healthy diet is an important factor for everyone. When we eat properly, we give our bodies the nutrients it needs to feel our best. For a child coming from trauma, proper nutrition proves to be even more significant. A child who comes into your care through adoption or foster care is

Read More


Older Children & Tools for Discipline

Older Children & Tools for Discipline Be a Role Model: * As parents, we must demonstrate or model what we want our children to do, especially when they do not have language to communicate with us initially. * They are much more likely to do what you do, not what you say. Provide Alternatives for

Read More


Parenting: How to Deliver a Consequence

These discussions of trauma and attachment can, at times, leave a parent feeling paralyzed in how to respond to misbehavior for fear they will cause further damage and trauma...As we provide discipline, (training that corrects, molds, and encourages moral character) rather than punishment (which can be punitive and create fear in a child), we help that child find the secure foundation they need.

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Playing to Connect and Heal

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most

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Post Adoption Depression Syndrome

The symptoms of PADS and the symptoms of post-partum depression are quite similar: Feeling depressed or particularly irritable for most of the day. Diminished interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Significant weight loss or gain, and/or a change in appetite. Changes in sleep pattern. Noticeable increase or decrease in motor activity (others notice

Read More


Recommended Children's Books

  A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson and Elizabeth Edge A Koala for Katie by Jonathan London and Cynthia Jabar A Mother for Chaco by Keiko Kasza A Sister for Matthew by Pamela Kennedy Chinese Eyes by Marjorie Ann Waybill God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant I Don’t

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Recommended Medical Tests Once A Child Comes Home

The following medical tests are recommended for your child upon arrival in the U.S. after an international adoption.  The completion of these tests is not required by Lifeline, but for some countries a physical exam may be required.  You may wish to check with your health insurance provider before completing the tests, as some insurance

Read More


Resources For Babysitters and Childcare Workers

As a foster or adoptive parent, it is important for you to seek childcare for your children where the workers understand and can provide at least a very base level of trauma-informed care. These training videos can help prepare everyone from your favorite date night babysitter to church nursery workers as they care for children

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Resources For Friends and Family

Is someone you love a foster or adoptive parent… or perhaps he or she is planning to be? Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for that individual or couple as they travel down this unknown path? We want to help equip you! Here are some brief videos that will greatly assist you

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Self-Harm

Self-Harm is a term that may cause foster or adoptive parents’ anxiety level to go up. We hope this information will better equip you as a parent to feel pre-pared and capable to respond appropriately to this behavior. Let’s begin by de-fining what the term actually means. WHAT IS SELF-HARM? Self-harm, or self-injury, is the

Read More


Self-Soothing

Self-soothing behaviors in children and adolescents from hard places can be confusing and the range of parental responses to such behaviors can be vast.  Some families look at this behavior and may think it is developmentally appropriate while others may think something is “wrong” with their child. Our desire is that this information will help

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Shaping Phrases

Shaping Phrases Shaping phrases are short little scripts that focus on telling your child what to do, rather than what not to do. They are a positive alternative to a long lecture and very helpful while the child is learning your language. Often times, we tell our kids “no” or “stop” but we do not

Read More


Siblings

The fostering and/or adoption process can be challenging for siblings already in the home as well as for the child new to the home.  All relationships are going through transitions. Here are some things to remember: Expect there to be jealousy between sibling relationships with the amount of attention the new child is receiving and

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Siblings: Promoting Attachments

SIBLINGS:  PROMOTING ATTACHMENTS A strong emphasis is placed on parents attaching to their new child, but it is equally important for all family members to become connected. Now that you are home with your newest family member and are over the jet lag you may be wondering, where do we go from here?  How do

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Siblings: Resolving Conflict

SIBLINGS:  RESOLVING CONFLICT P.E.A.C.E. As a parent my children’s arguments often sent me over the edge!  I wanted our home to be peaceful! In Romans 12:18  Paul writes these challenging words, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Paul was obviously an only child!   For any relationship

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Sleep

SLEEP Sleepless in Seattle?  Birmingham?  Charleston?  San Antonio?   Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for a child transitioning to a new home.  Causes for sleep disturbances can include: the many new exciting experiences and stimulation they have during the day that make it difficult to transition to rest, feelings of grief and

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Sleep Issues

Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for families adopting internationally. It is important to remember your child’s traumatic history and how this can inhibit your child’s sleeping abilities. Night time can be scary. These are some reminders that might help: Remember to NOT let your child “cry it out” at night Have

Read More


Stealing

Stealing can be a sensitive subject for many of us, especially when there is a strong emphasis on the value of working hard in our culture. When something that belongs to us is stolen, it evokes a strong response. Sometimes this is an emotional response or even a physical response. This makes stealing something that

Read More


Stranger Anxiety in Adoption

The process of development of stranger anxiety will occur over time and at different stages.  Think of newborn babies who do not have any fear of people; over time they develop a bond with mom and dad and the desire to stay with them rather than be passed around or left with a stranger.  This

Read More


Suggested Reading Resources

Our staff would like to share with you the following books and resources. We have reviewed each of these and believe they would be helpful. However, not all of these are written from a Christian perspective so some opinions of the authors may not reflect the position of Lifeline Children’s Services. Parenting: Adoption Parenting by

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Suicide Ideation

Suicide Ideation Of all of the struggles parents can face with their children, few illicit the same level of fear that comes with suicidal ideation. Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary, so we ask that you bear with us as we share some hard information with you. Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideation,

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Summer Fun

Great memories were triggered as we cut into the first watermelon of the summer season. Memories from childhood which meant days without schedules, sleeping in late and staying outside playing until those last beams of the sun disappeared.   When I became a mother I too looked forward to summer which meant a reprieve from early

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Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

Read More


Technology

Technology, social media, social networking sites, the internet; those words carry a lot of weight in our society and have brought significant change in how we do most everything in life. Many leading researchers say that children ages 0-3 need absolutely no screen time due to their developmental needs and brain growth. Older children need

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Three Times Adoptive Families Need Resources

Lifeline understands the beauty of adoption, but we also understand the loss from which it arises and the trauma surrounding the hearts of vulnerable children and their new families. Individuals who are familiar with adoption often say, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” Knowing the needs of families and children who come through

Read More


Time In & Think-It-Over

Time In & Think-It-Over * Children from hard places are already more likely to feel disconnected from you and sending your child away teaches them that it is okay to be disconnected. * Traditional time-out can be damaging to your child’s attachment because when you send them away for their behavior you are not connecting

Read More


Touch

Touch plays a very important part of developing attachment and bringing healing to our children who have experienced less than optimum beginnings.  It was discovered in the early 19th century that touch was just as important as food, clothing and shelter to the growth and well-being of infants. Children in orphanages were dying in spite

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Transitions

Due to a child’s life being very chaotic or overly structured before adoption, he/she may have a difficult time managing transitions or change. The smallest change in their environment may be overwhelming. Making the child’s life more predictable and alerting the child of upcoming events/ changes/transitions will help him/her feel more comfortable. If language is

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Trauma in the Classroom

What is the difference between willful defiance and a trauma reaction? Children who have experienced relational or circumstantial trauma can express themselves in ways that are typically regarded as defiant misbehavior. Their minds, however, are often reacting to how their bodies have been programmed to deal with unpleasant situations, particularly responding out of fear. In

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Winter Blues

THE WINTER BLUES Regardless of where you live, the shorter days of winter along with the messy weather can create havoc for our foster and adoptive children.  We see a correlation between increased behavioral issues and the number of days children are not able to be outside for play.  Children may span the continuum of

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Your Child's Love Languages

L-O-V-E February is the month of Love.  We begin to see Hearts and Cupids wherever we go.  Those icons can serve as reminders to us of the importance of  loving our children well.  It is easy in the midst of life’s business to become more perfunctory in our role as a parent.  We fall into

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Bonding & Attachment for Newly Adopted Children

The bonding and attachment process is referring to building trust, mutual affection, love, and security.  It is important to see that connecting with your child will affect all aspects of daily life and is the most important factor in positive adjustment for the adopted child and family overall.  These are some reminders that might help:

Read More


Making Sense of Senses

* What to look for: o What sensory experiences does your child seek out? o What sensory experiences does your child avoid? o Where does your child struggle? A Child Can Be: * Over-responsive * Under-responsive * Sensory-craving * Over-Responsive o This person is hypersensitive or hyper-alert to sensory input. o They may be a

Read More


Post Adoption Depression Syndrome

The symptoms of PADS and the symptoms of post-partum depression are quite similar: Feeling depressed or particularly irritable for most of the day. Diminished interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Significant weight loss or gain, and/or a change in appetite. Changes in sleep pattern. Noticeable increase or decrease in motor activity (others notice

Read More


Shaping Phrases

Shaping Phrases Shaping phrases are short little scripts that focus on telling your child what to do, rather than what not to do. They are a positive alternative to a long lecture and very helpful while the child is learning your language. Often times, we tell our kids “no” or “stop” but we do not

Read More


Stranger Anxiety in Adoption

The process of development of stranger anxiety will occur over time and at different stages.  Think of newborn babies who do not have any fear of people; over time they develop a bond with mom and dad and the desire to stay with them rather than be passed around or left with a stranger.  This

Read More


Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

Read More


Three Times Adoptive Families Need Resources

Lifeline understands the beauty of adoption, but we also understand the loss from which it arises and the trauma surrounding the hearts of vulnerable children and their new families. Individuals who are familiar with adoption often say, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” Knowing the needs of families and children who come through

Read More


Time In & Think-It-Over

Time In & Think-It-Over * Children from hard places are already more likely to feel disconnected from you and sending your child away teaches them that it is okay to be disconnected. * Traditional time-out can be damaging to your child’s attachment because when you send them away for their behavior you are not connecting

Read More


Acting out Sexually

ACTING OUT SEXUALLY One of the most perplexing and taboo topics for parents can be that of sexuality. Parents welcome vulnerable children/teens into their homes, and are often surprised and uncomfortable when confronted with sexual behavior or fearful of what will happen if they do encounter this issue. Common issues include: acting out sexually with

Read More


Airport Homecomings

Many people may have prayed for and waited for the moment they get to meet your little one, but I would like to take a moment to remind you and your family and friends of the big picture of adoption. We encourage everyone (including the parents) to keep the child’s best interest in mind. For

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Bonding & Attachment for Newly Adopted Children

The bonding and attachment process is referring to building trust, mutual affection, love, and security.  It is important to see that connecting with your child will affect all aspects of daily life and is the most important factor in positive adjustment for the adopted child and family overall.  These are some reminders that might help:

Read More


Cocooning

COCOONING: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT The term “cocooning “ has been applied to a number of different disciplines from social science, marketing, economic forecasting to parenting. So, what does “cocooning” mean as we apply it to adoption? Webster’s Dictionary defines cocoon as a covering usually made of silk which some insects

Read More


Indiscriminate Affection

    We have all seen it. We have all been there. We are at a social gathering, usually a pot luck dinner at church, when that cute and adorable toddler cozies up to a random leg and puts on the death grip. But it is the wrong leg. I mean who can see faces

Read More


Making Sense of Senses

* What to look for: o What sensory experiences does your child seek out? o What sensory experiences does your child avoid? o Where does your child struggle? A Child Can Be: * Over-responsive * Under-responsive * Sensory-craving * Over-Responsive o This person is hypersensitive or hyper-alert to sensory input. o They may be a

Read More


Nutrition and the Vulnerable Child

WHY NUTRITION MATTERS: A healthy diet is an important factor for everyone. When we eat properly, we give our bodies the nutrients it needs to feel our best. For a child coming from trauma, proper nutrition proves to be even more significant. A child who comes into your care through adoption or foster care is

Read More


Older Children & Tools for Discipline

Older Children & Tools for Discipline Be a Role Model: * As parents, we must demonstrate or model what we want our children to do, especially when they do not have language to communicate with us initially. * They are much more likely to do what you do, not what you say. Provide Alternatives for

Read More


Post Adoption Depression Syndrome

The symptoms of PADS and the symptoms of post-partum depression are quite similar: Feeling depressed or particularly irritable for most of the day. Diminished interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Significant weight loss or gain, and/or a change in appetite. Changes in sleep pattern. Noticeable increase or decrease in motor activity (others notice

Read More


Recommended Medical Tests Once A Child Comes Home

The following medical tests are recommended for your child upon arrival in the U.S. after an international adoption.  The completion of these tests is not required by Lifeline, but for some countries a physical exam may be required.  You may wish to check with your health insurance provider before completing the tests, as some insurance

Read More


Responding to Severe Behaviors

* Lifeline is not certified to teach skills in TBRI Level 4: Protective Engagement. * Protective engagement refers to restrictive techniques such as restraining used to deescalate situations and keep children physically safe. * We do however want to give you tips on how to respond when your child is in “crisis mode”: o First

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Self-Care

Self-Care! Are you kidding me?  Who has time for self-care? Have you seen my “to do” list?  Do you know my schedule of school events, extracurricular activities, medical appointments, and therapies?  You may feel like you do not have any time to add one more thing to your daily routine but the reality is that

Read More


Self-Harm

Self-Harm is a term that may cause foster or adoptive parents’ anxiety level to go up. We hope this information will better equip you as a parent to feel pre-pared and capable to respond appropriately to this behavior. Let’s begin by de-fining what the term actually means. WHAT IS SELF-HARM? Self-harm, or self-injury, is the

Read More


Shaping Phrases

Shaping Phrases Shaping phrases are short little scripts that focus on telling your child what to do, rather than what not to do. They are a positive alternative to a long lecture and very helpful while the child is learning your language. Often times, we tell our kids “no” or “stop” but we do not

Read More


Sleep Issues

Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for families adopting internationally. It is important to remember your child’s traumatic history and how this can inhibit your child’s sleeping abilities. Night time can be scary. These are some reminders that might help: Remember to NOT let your child “cry it out” at night Have

Read More


Stealing

Stealing can be a sensitive subject for many of us, especially when there is a strong emphasis on the value of working hard in our culture. When something that belongs to us is stolen, it evokes a strong response. Sometimes this is an emotional response or even a physical response. This makes stealing something that

Read More


Stranger Anxiety in Adoption

The process of development of stranger anxiety will occur over time and at different stages.  Think of newborn babies who do not have any fear of people; over time they develop a bond with mom and dad and the desire to stay with them rather than be passed around or left with a stranger.  This

Read More


Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

Read More


Three Times Adoptive Families Need Resources

Lifeline understands the beauty of adoption, but we also understand the loss from which it arises and the trauma surrounding the hearts of vulnerable children and their new families. Individuals who are familiar with adoption often say, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” Knowing the needs of families and children who come through

Read More


Time In & Think-It-Over

Time In & Think-It-Over * Children from hard places are already more likely to feel disconnected from you and sending your child away teaches them that it is okay to be disconnected. * Traditional time-out can be damaging to your child’s attachment because when you send them away for their behavior you are not connecting

Read More


10 Practical Ways to Help Your Child Heal

When children come into our care from hard places, whether as a newborn or an older child, they have experienced trauma. Our privilege as a parent is to walk with them through the healing that their hearts need. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, shepherding a child in this process can be one of the

Read More


ABC’s for a Successful Start to the School Year

What feelings did you have as summer vacation ended and the new school year began?  You may have experienced a range of feelings that included disappointment, excitement, delight, hopefulness, fear, anxiety, worry and insecurity. A new school year is loaded with so many changes! It can bring with it meeting new teachers, learning new schedules,

Read More


Accusations

Accusations Coming from trauma and/or a long time in foster care, children learn many skills to help them survive. While some of these skills are excellent, like advocating for themselves and being able to talk to adults about what they need, they also tend to develop some maladaptive tendencies like manipulation, lying, and even accusing

Read More


Acting out Sexually

ACTING OUT SEXUALLY One of the most perplexing and taboo topics for parents can be that of sexuality. Parents welcome vulnerable children/teens into their homes, and are often surprised and uncomfortable when confronted with sexual behavior or fearful of what will happen if they do encounter this issue. Common issues include: acting out sexually with

Read More


Challenging Behaviors

Remember where your child is coming from and to expect many challenging behaviors. Remember your child’s chronological age versus the developmental age. Discipline: Use positive scripting to verbalize what you want to see out of your child’s behaviors rather than using negative language regarding what you do not want to see. Limit using the word

Read More


Connect Guide

Connecting with other adoptive and foster parents allow space to build relationships, offer advice, and share the adoption and foster care journey. We've learned that newer connection groups benefit from structure and short outlines.

Read More


Cursing

Cursing When entering into this journey of adoption and/or foster care, parents are often excited and nervous about the challenges they will face. They want so desperately to love a child who needs love, to provide a home and a family for an orphan or child in need. What they are not always prepared for

Read More


Defiance

DEFIANCE When I think about a defiant child, I am reminded of the Prodigal Son parable found in Luke 15. What an amazing example of a parent’s reaction of love, grace, and security and an incredible picture of our Heavenly Father’s continuous grace and mercy. The Prodigal Son was defiant – he used the resources

Read More


Equipped to Love: How the Church Can Support Adoptive and Foster Families

When God’s people respond to His command to care for vulnerable children, our churches will become faith families to parents, children, and siblings who are navigating the journeys of fostering and adoption. Children who have experienced neglect, abuse, and trauma often require a unique mindset when dealing with behavioral challenges and even in everyday interactions.

Read More


Eye Contact

Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34 state, “the eye is the lamp of the body”.   Shakespeare stated, “The eyes are the windows to your soul”.  There is no doubt that it is through our eyes that we connect with one another.  Much of our non-verbal communication involves a look into one another’s eyes. It is through

Read More


Food Anxiety

FOOD ANXIETY Most of us eat at least three meals a day but if you are like me, there are multiple snacks in between.  That’s a lot of time spent eating!  One of my favorite times of day is dinner time, but when you have a child with food anxiety, dinner time can turn into

Read More


Food/Eating Issues

Children may come to our homes with many challenges surrounding food. Children may have spent time wondering when they would get to eat their next meal or may have fought other children for food. These are some helpful reminders that might help: Have consistent meal times. Make meal times calm experiences, not hasty. Remember that

Read More


Fostering Resources for Every Home

One of the benefits of Lifeline’s shift in foster care ministry is the ability to serve and support all foster families in the system with continuing education and training. We are beyond excited at the chance to serve families and offer opportunities to help them succeed and heal. We recommend the resources below as tools

Read More


Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling

At Lifeline, we know that families struggle post placement, and we expect challenges to arise as part of the journey. We desire to be a safe place where they can seek help from those struggles. Throughout the following frequently asked questions, we want to shed light onto what counseling at Lifeline looks like and to help answer some lingering questions many adoptive and foster families may have.

Read More


Grieving as Parents

Many times people assume children will grieve their losses in a fostering or adoption situation; however, it is not always assumed that the parents might grieve as well.  Foster or adoptive parents can sometimes grieve certain things they miss about their lives before their new child came home, even if they are thrilled to have

Read More


Holiday Tips for Waiting Families

As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing. One friend of Lifeline said, “My younger sister was adopted, and I remember my parents . . . being so consumed with

Read More


Indiscriminate Affection

    We have all seen it. We have all been there. We are at a social gathering, usually a pot luck dinner at church, when that cute and adorable toddler cozies up to a random leg and puts on the death grip. But it is the wrong leg. I mean who can see faces

Read More


Ingratitude

INGRATITUDE Gratitude comes easier to some of us because of life lessons and experiences. It is a virtue that is cultivated over time, over a life span. However, many children haven’t had the healthy life lessons or a loving caregiver to help them develop a grateful heart. In a world where the cultural norm is

Read More


Lying

LYING Although I can now confidently say that integrity is a value that I hold in high regard, as a child, I must confess that I had a bit of a lying problem. I frequently lied as an attempt to stay out of trouble or to “earn” approval. Honesty was a virtue that I had

Read More


Making Sense of Senses

* What to look for: o What sensory experiences does your child seek out? o What sensory experiences does your child avoid? o Where does your child struggle? A Child Can Be: * Over-responsive * Under-responsive * Sensory-craving * Over-Responsive o This person is hypersensitive or hyper-alert to sensory input. o They may be a

Read More


Manipulation and Control

“You’re not the boss of me,” is a childhood declaration of mine that now lives in family infamy. Growing up I longed for independence, and this announcement was my way of expressing it. Children have a God-given desire to impact their environment and make choices. But perhaps you know a child who, like me, takes

Read More


Memory and Trauma Anniversaries

IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORIES Memory is a central construct to the development of children. We learn through observing others and by interacting with the world around us. This in turn influences our behavior. It is widely accepted that prior to the age of three, memories cannot be recalled or stored. However, recent research suggests that

Read More


Merry Christmas or is it?

For many of us the Christmas Season generates excitement which can include everything from planning special meals and gifts, attending seasonal programs with Christmas music and time with family.  For a child from foster care the memories of Christmas may not be so merry! For many of our adopted children they may be experiencing the

Read More


Navigating the Hospital

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL A hospital stay or medical procedure can be a scary and overwhelming experience for a child of any age, as well as for parents. The sterile environment, people wearing scrubs everywhere, and new and unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds can bring about a sense of anxiety and fear in children and adults.

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 2

Understanding and Supporting Your Child During A Hospitalization As a parent, you may not know how to support your child during a hospitalization or medical procedure. If newly home, you may not feel as if you fully know or understand your child’s personality or temperament. Learning how the hospital stay may impact your child will

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 3

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL: Maintaining a Connection The period of time following your child’s adoption is critical for developing and maintaining connection and attachment.  Once home, your goal is to create an environment that is safe and conducive for healing. You and your child are beginning to learn about one another and forming a relationship. In

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 5

Games and Activities to do During your Child’s Hospital Stay It is common for most children’s hospitals to have a playroom available for your children in the hospital along with a large stock of games, toys and activities. If you are not told about a playroom or available games and toys, don’t be afraid to

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Navigating the Hospital pt.4

Navigating the Hospital: Caring for your Children remaining at home Caring for a child in the hospital can be an all-consuming task especially while trying to build and maintain attachment. The Hospital experience may feel like it takes all of your energy, all of your time, and all of your capacity. In previous articles we

Read More


Nutrition and the Vulnerable Child

WHY NUTRITION MATTERS: A healthy diet is an important factor for everyone. When we eat properly, we give our bodies the nutrients it needs to feel our best. For a child coming from trauma, proper nutrition proves to be even more significant. A child who comes into your care through adoption or foster care is

Read More


Older Children & Tools for Discipline

Older Children & Tools for Discipline Be a Role Model: * As parents, we must demonstrate or model what we want our children to do, especially when they do not have language to communicate with us initially. * They are much more likely to do what you do, not what you say. Provide Alternatives for

Read More


Parenting: How to Deliver a Consequence

These discussions of trauma and attachment can, at times, leave a parent feeling paralyzed in how to respond to misbehavior for fear they will cause further damage and trauma...As we provide discipline, (training that corrects, molds, and encourages moral character) rather than punishment (which can be punitive and create fear in a child), we help that child find the secure foundation they need.

Read More


Playing to Connect and Heal

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most

Read More


Recommended Children's Books

  A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson and Elizabeth Edge A Koala for Katie by Jonathan London and Cynthia Jabar A Mother for Chaco by Keiko Kasza A Sister for Matthew by Pamela Kennedy Chinese Eyes by Marjorie Ann Waybill God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant I Don’t

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Resources For Babysitters and Childcare Workers

As a foster or adoptive parent, it is important for you to seek childcare for your children where the workers understand and can provide at least a very base level of trauma-informed care. These training videos can help prepare everyone from your favorite date night babysitter to church nursery workers as they care for children

Read More


Resources For Friends and Family

Is someone you love a foster or adoptive parent… or perhaps he or she is planning to be? Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for that individual or couple as they travel down this unknown path? We want to help equip you! Here are some brief videos that will greatly assist you

Read More


Responding to Severe Behaviors

* Lifeline is not certified to teach skills in TBRI Level 4: Protective Engagement. * Protective engagement refers to restrictive techniques such as restraining used to deescalate situations and keep children physically safe. * We do however want to give you tips on how to respond when your child is in “crisis mode”: o First

Read More


Self-Care

Self-Care! Are you kidding me?  Who has time for self-care? Have you seen my “to do” list?  Do you know my schedule of school events, extracurricular activities, medical appointments, and therapies?  You may feel like you do not have any time to add one more thing to your daily routine but the reality is that

Read More


Self-Harm

Self-Harm is a term that may cause foster or adoptive parents’ anxiety level to go up. We hope this information will better equip you as a parent to feel pre-pared and capable to respond appropriately to this behavior. Let’s begin by de-fining what the term actually means. WHAT IS SELF-HARM? Self-harm, or self-injury, is the

Read More


Self-Soothing

Self-soothing behaviors in children and adolescents from hard places can be confusing and the range of parental responses to such behaviors can be vast.  Some families look at this behavior and may think it is developmentally appropriate while others may think something is “wrong” with their child. Our desire is that this information will help

Read More


Shaping Phrases

Shaping Phrases Shaping phrases are short little scripts that focus on telling your child what to do, rather than what not to do. They are a positive alternative to a long lecture and very helpful while the child is learning your language. Often times, we tell our kids “no” or “stop” but we do not

Read More


Siblings

The fostering and/or adoption process can be challenging for siblings already in the home as well as for the child new to the home.  All relationships are going through transitions. Here are some things to remember: Expect there to be jealousy between sibling relationships with the amount of attention the new child is receiving and

Read More


Siblings: Promoting Attachments

SIBLINGS:  PROMOTING ATTACHMENTS A strong emphasis is placed on parents attaching to their new child, but it is equally important for all family members to become connected. Now that you are home with your newest family member and are over the jet lag you may be wondering, where do we go from here?  How do

Read More


Siblings: Resolving Conflict

SIBLINGS:  RESOLVING CONFLICT P.E.A.C.E. As a parent my children’s arguments often sent me over the edge!  I wanted our home to be peaceful! In Romans 12:18  Paul writes these challenging words, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Paul was obviously an only child!   For any relationship

Read More


Sleep

SLEEP Sleepless in Seattle?  Birmingham?  Charleston?  San Antonio?   Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for a child transitioning to a new home.  Causes for sleep disturbances can include: the many new exciting experiences and stimulation they have during the day that make it difficult to transition to rest, feelings of grief and

Read More


Stealing

Stealing can be a sensitive subject for many of us, especially when there is a strong emphasis on the value of working hard in our culture. When something that belongs to us is stolen, it evokes a strong response. Sometimes this is an emotional response or even a physical response. This makes stealing something that

Read More


Suicide Ideation

Suicide Ideation Of all of the struggles parents can face with their children, few illicit the same level of fear that comes with suicidal ideation. Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary, so we ask that you bear with us as we share some hard information with you. Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideation,

Read More


Summer Fun

Great memories were triggered as we cut into the first watermelon of the summer season. Memories from childhood which meant days without schedules, sleeping in late and staying outside playing until those last beams of the sun disappeared.   When I became a mother I too looked forward to summer which meant a reprieve from early

Read More


Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

Read More


Technology

Technology, social media, social networking sites, the internet; those words carry a lot of weight in our society and have brought significant change in how we do most everything in life. Many leading researchers say that children ages 0-3 need absolutely no screen time due to their developmental needs and brain growth. Older children need

Read More


Time In & Think-It-Over

Time In & Think-It-Over * Children from hard places are already more likely to feel disconnected from you and sending your child away teaches them that it is okay to be disconnected. * Traditional time-out can be damaging to your child’s attachment because when you send them away for their behavior you are not connecting

Read More


Touch

Touch plays a very important part of developing attachment and bringing healing to our children who have experienced less than optimum beginnings.  It was discovered in the early 19th century that touch was just as important as food, clothing and shelter to the growth and well-being of infants. Children in orphanages were dying in spite

Read More


Transitions

Due to a child’s life being very chaotic or overly structured before adoption, he/she may have a difficult time managing transitions or change. The smallest change in their environment may be overwhelming. Making the child’s life more predictable and alerting the child of upcoming events/ changes/transitions will help him/her feel more comfortable. If language is

Read More


Trauma in the Classroom

What is the difference between willful defiance and a trauma reaction? Children who have experienced relational or circumstantial trauma can express themselves in ways that are typically regarded as defiant misbehavior. Their minds, however, are often reacting to how their bodies have been programmed to deal with unpleasant situations, particularly responding out of fear. In

Read More


Winter Blues

THE WINTER BLUES Regardless of where you live, the shorter days of winter along with the messy weather can create havoc for our foster and adoptive children.  We see a correlation between increased behavioral issues and the number of days children are not able to be outside for play.  Children may span the continuum of

Read More


Your Child's Love Languages

L-O-V-E February is the month of Love.  We begin to see Hearts and Cupids wherever we go.  Those icons can serve as reminders to us of the importance of  loving our children well.  It is easy in the midst of life’s business to become more perfunctory in our role as a parent.  We fall into

Read More


Fostering Resources for Every Home

One of the benefits of Lifeline’s shift in foster care ministry is the ability to serve and support all foster families in the system with continuing education and training. We are beyond excited at the chance to serve families and offer opportunities to help them succeed and heal. We recommend the resources below as tools

Read More


Memory and Trauma Anniversaries

IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORIES Memory is a central construct to the development of children. We learn through observing others and by interacting with the world around us. This in turn influences our behavior. It is widely accepted that prior to the age of three, memories cannot be recalled or stored. However, recent research suggests that

Read More


Airport Homecomings

Many people may have prayed for and waited for the moment they get to meet your little one, but I would like to take a moment to remind you and your family and friends of the big picture of adoption. We encourage everyone (including the parents) to keep the child’s best interest in mind. For

Read More


Connect Guide

Connecting with other adoptive and foster parents allow space to build relationships, offer advice, and share the adoption and foster care journey. We've learned that newer connection groups benefit from structure and short outlines.

Read More


Equipped to Love: How the Church Can Support Adoptive and Foster Families

When God’s people respond to His command to care for vulnerable children, our churches will become faith families to parents, children, and siblings who are navigating the journeys of fostering and adoption. Children who have experienced neglect, abuse, and trauma often require a unique mindset when dealing with behavioral challenges and even in everyday interactions.

Read More


Resources For Friends and Family

Is someone you love a foster or adoptive parent… or perhaps he or she is planning to be? Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for that individual or couple as they travel down this unknown path? We want to help equip you! Here are some brief videos that will greatly assist you

Read More


10 Practical Ways to Help Your Child Heal

When children come into our care from hard places, whether as a newborn or an older child, they have experienced trauma. Our privilege as a parent is to walk with them through the healing that their hearts need. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, shepherding a child in this process can be one of the

Read More


Airport Homecomings

Many people may have prayed for and waited for the moment they get to meet your little one, but I would like to take a moment to remind you and your family and friends of the big picture of adoption. We encourage everyone (including the parents) to keep the child’s best interest in mind. For

Read More


Bonding & Attachment for Newly Adopted Children

The bonding and attachment process is referring to building trust, mutual affection, love, and security.  It is important to see that connecting with your child will affect all aspects of daily life and is the most important factor in positive adjustment for the adopted child and family overall.  These are some reminders that might help:

Read More


Cocooning

COCOONING: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT The term “cocooning “ has been applied to a number of different disciplines from social science, marketing, economic forecasting to parenting. So, what does “cocooning” mean as we apply it to adoption? Webster’s Dictionary defines cocoon as a covering usually made of silk which some insects

Read More


Eye Contact

Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34 state, “the eye is the lamp of the body”.   Shakespeare stated, “The eyes are the windows to your soul”.  There is no doubt that it is through our eyes that we connect with one another.  Much of our non-verbal communication involves a look into one another’s eyes. It is through

Read More


Indiscriminate Affection

    We have all seen it. We have all been there. We are at a social gathering, usually a pot luck dinner at church, when that cute and adorable toddler cozies up to a random leg and puts on the death grip. But it is the wrong leg. I mean who can see faces

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 3

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL: Maintaining a Connection The period of time following your child’s adoption is critical for developing and maintaining connection and attachment.  Once home, your goal is to create an environment that is safe and conducive for healing. You and your child are beginning to learn about one another and forming a relationship. In

Read More


Playing to Connect and Heal

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most

Read More


Self-Soothing

Self-soothing behaviors in children and adolescents from hard places can be confusing and the range of parental responses to such behaviors can be vast.  Some families look at this behavior and may think it is developmentally appropriate while others may think something is “wrong” with their child. Our desire is that this information will help

Read More


Siblings: Promoting Attachments

SIBLINGS:  PROMOTING ATTACHMENTS A strong emphasis is placed on parents attaching to their new child, but it is equally important for all family members to become connected. Now that you are home with your newest family member and are over the jet lag you may be wondering, where do we go from here?  How do

Read More


Time In & Think-It-Over

Time In & Think-It-Over * Children from hard places are already more likely to feel disconnected from you and sending your child away teaches them that it is okay to be disconnected. * Traditional time-out can be damaging to your child’s attachment because when you send them away for their behavior you are not connecting

Read More


Touch

Touch plays a very important part of developing attachment and bringing healing to our children who have experienced less than optimum beginnings.  It was discovered in the early 19th century that touch was just as important as food, clothing and shelter to the growth and well-being of infants. Children in orphanages were dying in spite

Read More


Your Child's Love Languages

L-O-V-E February is the month of Love.  We begin to see Hearts and Cupids wherever we go.  Those icons can serve as reminders to us of the importance of  loving our children well.  It is easy in the midst of life’s business to become more perfunctory in our role as a parent.  We fall into

Read More


10 Practical Ways to Help Your Child Heal

When children come into our care from hard places, whether as a newborn or an older child, they have experienced trauma. Our privilege as a parent is to walk with them through the healing that their hearts need. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, shepherding a child in this process can be one of the

Read More


Acting out Sexually

ACTING OUT SEXUALLY One of the most perplexing and taboo topics for parents can be that of sexuality. Parents welcome vulnerable children/teens into their homes, and are often surprised and uncomfortable when confronted with sexual behavior or fearful of what will happen if they do encounter this issue. Common issues include: acting out sexually with

Read More


Food Anxiety

FOOD ANXIETY Most of us eat at least three meals a day but if you are like me, there are multiple snacks in between.  That’s a lot of time spent eating!  One of my favorite times of day is dinner time, but when you have a child with food anxiety, dinner time can turn into

Read More


Food/Eating Issues

Children may come to our homes with many challenges surrounding food. Children may have spent time wondering when they would get to eat their next meal or may have fought other children for food. These are some helpful reminders that might help: Have consistent meal times. Make meal times calm experiences, not hasty. Remember that

Read More


Memory and Trauma Anniversaries

IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORIES Memory is a central construct to the development of children. We learn through observing others and by interacting with the world around us. This in turn influences our behavior. It is widely accepted that prior to the age of three, memories cannot be recalled or stored. However, recent research suggests that

Read More


Playing to Connect and Heal

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most

Read More


Self-Soothing

Self-soothing behaviors in children and adolescents from hard places can be confusing and the range of parental responses to such behaviors can be vast.  Some families look at this behavior and may think it is developmentally appropriate while others may think something is “wrong” with their child. Our desire is that this information will help

Read More


Sleep

SLEEP Sleepless in Seattle?  Birmingham?  Charleston?  San Antonio?   Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for a child transitioning to a new home.  Causes for sleep disturbances can include: the many new exciting experiences and stimulation they have during the day that make it difficult to transition to rest, feelings of grief and

Read More


Sleep Issues

Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for families adopting internationally. It is important to remember your child’s traumatic history and how this can inhibit your child’s sleeping abilities. Night time can be scary. These are some reminders that might help: Remember to NOT let your child “cry it out” at night Have

Read More


Stranger Anxiety in Adoption

The process of development of stranger anxiety will occur over time and at different stages.  Think of newborn babies who do not have any fear of people; over time they develop a bond with mom and dad and the desire to stay with them rather than be passed around or left with a stranger.  This

Read More


Suicide Ideation

Suicide Ideation Of all of the struggles parents can face with their children, few illicit the same level of fear that comes with suicidal ideation. Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary, so we ask that you bear with us as we share some hard information with you. Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideation,

Read More


Touch

Touch plays a very important part of developing attachment and bringing healing to our children who have experienced less than optimum beginnings.  It was discovered in the early 19th century that touch was just as important as food, clothing and shelter to the growth and well-being of infants. Children in orphanages were dying in spite

Read More


Trauma in the Classroom

What is the difference between willful defiance and a trauma reaction? Children who have experienced relational or circumstantial trauma can express themselves in ways that are typically regarded as defiant misbehavior. Their minds, however, are often reacting to how their bodies have been programmed to deal with unpleasant situations, particularly responding out of fear. In

Read More


10 Practical Ways to Help Your Child Heal

When children come into our care from hard places, whether as a newborn or an older child, they have experienced trauma. Our privilege as a parent is to walk with them through the healing that their hearts need. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, shepherding a child in this process can be one of the

Read More


Challenging Behaviors

Remember where your child is coming from and to expect many challenging behaviors. Remember your child’s chronological age versus the developmental age. Discipline: Use positive scripting to verbalize what you want to see out of your child’s behaviors rather than using negative language regarding what you do not want to see. Limit using the word

Read More


Grief

Why is loss so powerful? When we are separated from something or someone to which we are attached, what emotions do we feel? Perhaps anger, confusion, and sadness. The key word here is “feel”. Have you ever experienced these emo-tions following a loss? If so, then you are normal, and so are the children in

Read More


Playing to Connect and Heal

When I ask families how they are adjusting at home with their new child, they will often state, almost as an apology, “All we do is play; we are just playing.” When I hear this answer I want to shout from the rooftops “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! They are engaging in play!” Play is the most

Read More


Suicide Ideation

Suicide Ideation Of all of the struggles parents can face with their children, few illicit the same level of fear that comes with suicidal ideation. Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary, so we ask that you bear with us as we share some hard information with you. Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideation,

Read More


Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

Read More


Trauma in the Classroom

What is the difference between willful defiance and a trauma reaction? Children who have experienced relational or circumstantial trauma can express themselves in ways that are typically regarded as defiant misbehavior. Their minds, however, are often reacting to how their bodies have been programmed to deal with unpleasant situations, particularly responding out of fear. In

Read More


Winter Blues

THE WINTER BLUES Regardless of where you live, the shorter days of winter along with the messy weather can create havoc for our foster and adoptive children.  We see a correlation between increased behavioral issues and the number of days children are not able to be outside for play.  Children may span the continuum of

Read More


Accusations

Accusations Coming from trauma and/or a long time in foster care, children learn many skills to help them survive. While some of these skills are excellent, like advocating for themselves and being able to talk to adults about what they need, they also tend to develop some maladaptive tendencies like manipulation, lying, and even accusing

Read More


Acting out Sexually

ACTING OUT SEXUALLY One of the most perplexing and taboo topics for parents can be that of sexuality. Parents welcome vulnerable children/teens into their homes, and are often surprised and uncomfortable when confronted with sexual behavior or fearful of what will happen if they do encounter this issue. Common issues include: acting out sexually with

Read More


Challenging Behaviors

Remember where your child is coming from and to expect many challenging behaviors. Remember your child’s chronological age versus the developmental age. Discipline: Use positive scripting to verbalize what you want to see out of your child’s behaviors rather than using negative language regarding what you do not want to see. Limit using the word

Read More


Cursing

Cursing When entering into this journey of adoption and/or foster care, parents are often excited and nervous about the challenges they will face. They want so desperately to love a child who needs love, to provide a home and a family for an orphan or child in need. What they are not always prepared for

Read More


Defiance

DEFIANCE When I think about a defiant child, I am reminded of the Prodigal Son parable found in Luke 15. What an amazing example of a parent’s reaction of love, grace, and security and an incredible picture of our Heavenly Father’s continuous grace and mercy. The Prodigal Son was defiant – he used the resources

Read More


Food Anxiety

FOOD ANXIETY Most of us eat at least three meals a day but if you are like me, there are multiple snacks in between.  That’s a lot of time spent eating!  One of my favorite times of day is dinner time, but when you have a child with food anxiety, dinner time can turn into

Read More


Food/Eating Issues

Children may come to our homes with many challenges surrounding food. Children may have spent time wondering when they would get to eat their next meal or may have fought other children for food. These are some helpful reminders that might help: Have consistent meal times. Make meal times calm experiences, not hasty. Remember that

Read More


Indiscriminate Affection

    We have all seen it. We have all been there. We are at a social gathering, usually a pot luck dinner at church, when that cute and adorable toddler cozies up to a random leg and puts on the death grip. But it is the wrong leg. I mean who can see faces

Read More


Ingratitude

INGRATITUDE Gratitude comes easier to some of us because of life lessons and experiences. It is a virtue that is cultivated over time, over a life span. However, many children haven’t had the healthy life lessons or a loving caregiver to help them develop a grateful heart. In a world where the cultural norm is

Read More


Lying

LYING Although I can now confidently say that integrity is a value that I hold in high regard, as a child, I must confess that I had a bit of a lying problem. I frequently lied as an attempt to stay out of trouble or to “earn” approval. Honesty was a virtue that I had

Read More


Making Sense of Senses

* What to look for: o What sensory experiences does your child seek out? o What sensory experiences does your child avoid? o Where does your child struggle? A Child Can Be: * Over-responsive * Under-responsive * Sensory-craving * Over-Responsive o This person is hypersensitive or hyper-alert to sensory input. o They may be a

Read More


Manipulation and Control

“You’re not the boss of me,” is a childhood declaration of mine that now lives in family infamy. Growing up I longed for independence, and this announcement was my way of expressing it. Children have a God-given desire to impact their environment and make choices. But perhaps you know a child who, like me, takes

Read More


Merry Christmas or is it?

For many of us the Christmas Season generates excitement which can include everything from planning special meals and gifts, attending seasonal programs with Christmas music and time with family.  For a child from foster care the memories of Christmas may not be so merry! For many of our adopted children they may be experiencing the

Read More


Nutrition and the Vulnerable Child

WHY NUTRITION MATTERS: A healthy diet is an important factor for everyone. When we eat properly, we give our bodies the nutrients it needs to feel our best. For a child coming from trauma, proper nutrition proves to be even more significant. A child who comes into your care through adoption or foster care is

Read More


Older Children & Tools for Discipline

Older Children & Tools for Discipline Be a Role Model: * As parents, we must demonstrate or model what we want our children to do, especially when they do not have language to communicate with us initially. * They are much more likely to do what you do, not what you say. Provide Alternatives for

Read More


Parenting: How to Deliver a Consequence

These discussions of trauma and attachment can, at times, leave a parent feeling paralyzed in how to respond to misbehavior for fear they will cause further damage and trauma...As we provide discipline, (training that corrects, molds, and encourages moral character) rather than punishment (which can be punitive and create fear in a child), we help that child find the secure foundation they need.

Read More


Responding to Severe Behaviors

* Lifeline is not certified to teach skills in TBRI Level 4: Protective Engagement. * Protective engagement refers to restrictive techniques such as restraining used to deescalate situations and keep children physically safe. * We do however want to give you tips on how to respond when your child is in “crisis mode”: o First

Read More


Self-Harm

Self-Harm is a term that may cause foster or adoptive parents’ anxiety level to go up. We hope this information will better equip you as a parent to feel pre-pared and capable to respond appropriately to this behavior. Let’s begin by de-fining what the term actually means. WHAT IS SELF-HARM? Self-harm, or self-injury, is the

Read More


Self-Soothing

Self-soothing behaviors in children and adolescents from hard places can be confusing and the range of parental responses to such behaviors can be vast.  Some families look at this behavior and may think it is developmentally appropriate while others may think something is “wrong” with their child. Our desire is that this information will help

Read More


Shaping Phrases

Shaping Phrases Shaping phrases are short little scripts that focus on telling your child what to do, rather than what not to do. They are a positive alternative to a long lecture and very helpful while the child is learning your language. Often times, we tell our kids “no” or “stop” but we do not

Read More


Siblings: Resolving Conflict

SIBLINGS:  RESOLVING CONFLICT P.E.A.C.E. As a parent my children’s arguments often sent me over the edge!  I wanted our home to be peaceful! In Romans 12:18  Paul writes these challenging words, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Paul was obviously an only child!   For any relationship

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Sleep

SLEEP Sleepless in Seattle?  Birmingham?  Charleston?  San Antonio?   Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for a child transitioning to a new home.  Causes for sleep disturbances can include: the many new exciting experiences and stimulation they have during the day that make it difficult to transition to rest, feelings of grief and

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Stealing

Stealing can be a sensitive subject for many of us, especially when there is a strong emphasis on the value of working hard in our culture. When something that belongs to us is stolen, it evokes a strong response. Sometimes this is an emotional response or even a physical response. This makes stealing something that

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Stranger Anxiety in Adoption

The process of development of stranger anxiety will occur over time and at different stages.  Think of newborn babies who do not have any fear of people; over time they develop a bond with mom and dad and the desire to stay with them rather than be passed around or left with a stranger.  This

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Suicide Ideation

Suicide Ideation Of all of the struggles parents can face with their children, few illicit the same level of fear that comes with suicidal ideation. Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable, but necessary, so we ask that you bear with us as we share some hard information with you. Suicidal thoughts, also called suicidal ideation,

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Transitions

Due to a child’s life being very chaotic or overly structured before adoption, he/she may have a difficult time managing transitions or change. The smallest change in their environment may be overwhelming. Making the child’s life more predictable and alerting the child of upcoming events/ changes/transitions will help him/her feel more comfortable. If language is

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Trauma in the Classroom

What is the difference between willful defiance and a trauma reaction? Children who have experienced relational or circumstantial trauma can express themselves in ways that are typically regarded as defiant misbehavior. Their minds, however, are often reacting to how their bodies have been programmed to deal with unpleasant situations, particularly responding out of fear. In

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Winter Blues

THE WINTER BLUES Regardless of where you live, the shorter days of winter along with the messy weather can create havoc for our foster and adoptive children.  We see a correlation between increased behavioral issues and the number of days children are not able to be outside for play.  Children may span the continuum of

Read More


ABC’s for a Successful Start to the School Year

What feelings did you have as summer vacation ended and the new school year began?  You may have experienced a range of feelings that included disappointment, excitement, delight, hopefulness, fear, anxiety, worry and insecurity. A new school year is loaded with so many changes! It can bring with it meeting new teachers, learning new schedules,

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Fostering Resources for Every Home

One of the benefits of Lifeline’s shift in foster care ministry is the ability to serve and support all foster families in the system with continuing education and training. We are beyond excited at the chance to serve families and offer opportunities to help them succeed and heal. We recommend the resources below as tools

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Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling

At Lifeline, we know that families struggle post placement, and we expect challenges to arise as part of the journey. We desire to be a safe place where they can seek help from those struggles. Throughout the following frequently asked questions, we want to shed light onto what counseling at Lifeline looks like and to help answer some lingering questions many adoptive and foster families may have.

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Grieving as Parents

Many times people assume children will grieve their losses in a fostering or adoption situation; however, it is not always assumed that the parents might grieve as well.  Foster or adoptive parents can sometimes grieve certain things they miss about their lives before their new child came home, even if they are thrilled to have

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Holiday Tips for Waiting Families

As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing. One friend of Lifeline said, “My younger sister was adopted, and I remember my parents . . . being so consumed with

Read More


Navigating the Hospital

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL A hospital stay or medical procedure can be a scary and overwhelming experience for a child of any age, as well as for parents. The sterile environment, people wearing scrubs everywhere, and new and unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds can bring about a sense of anxiety and fear in children and adults.

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Navigating the Hospital pt. 2

Understanding and Supporting Your Child During A Hospitalization As a parent, you may not know how to support your child during a hospitalization or medical procedure. If newly home, you may not feel as if you fully know or understand your child’s personality or temperament. Learning how the hospital stay may impact your child will

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 3

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL: Maintaining a Connection The period of time following your child’s adoption is critical for developing and maintaining connection and attachment.  Once home, your goal is to create an environment that is safe and conducive for healing. You and your child are beginning to learn about one another and forming a relationship. In

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Navigating the Hospital pt. 5

Games and Activities to do During your Child’s Hospital Stay It is common for most children’s hospitals to have a playroom available for your children in the hospital along with a large stock of games, toys and activities. If you are not told about a playroom or available games and toys, don’t be afraid to

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Navigating the Hospital pt.4

Navigating the Hospital: Caring for your Children remaining at home Caring for a child in the hospital can be an all-consuming task especially while trying to build and maintain attachment. The Hospital experience may feel like it takes all of your energy, all of your time, and all of your capacity. In previous articles we

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Parenting: How to Deliver a Consequence

These discussions of trauma and attachment can, at times, leave a parent feeling paralyzed in how to respond to misbehavior for fear they will cause further damage and trauma...As we provide discipline, (training that corrects, molds, and encourages moral character) rather than punishment (which can be punitive and create fear in a child), we help that child find the secure foundation they need.

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Post Adoption Depression Syndrome

The symptoms of PADS and the symptoms of post-partum depression are quite similar: Feeling depressed or particularly irritable for most of the day. Diminished interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Significant weight loss or gain, and/or a change in appetite. Changes in sleep pattern. Noticeable increase or decrease in motor activity (others notice

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Recommended Children's Books

  A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson and Elizabeth Edge A Koala for Katie by Jonathan London and Cynthia Jabar A Mother for Chaco by Keiko Kasza A Sister for Matthew by Pamela Kennedy Chinese Eyes by Marjorie Ann Waybill God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant I Don’t

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Resources For Babysitters and Childcare Workers

As a foster or adoptive parent, it is important for you to seek childcare for your children where the workers understand and can provide at least a very base level of trauma-informed care. These training videos can help prepare everyone from your favorite date night babysitter to church nursery workers as they care for children

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Self-Care

Self-Care! Are you kidding me?  Who has time for self-care? Have you seen my “to do” list?  Do you know my schedule of school events, extracurricular activities, medical appointments, and therapies?  You may feel like you do not have any time to add one more thing to your daily routine but the reality is that

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Suggested Reading Resources

Our staff would like to share with you the following books and resources. We have reviewed each of these and believe they would be helpful. However, not all of these are written from a Christian perspective so some opinions of the authors may not reflect the position of Lifeline Children’s Services. Parenting: Adoption Parenting by

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Talking with a Child About His/Her Adoption

From the moment your child is placed with you, you can begin bringing up adoption, your child’s birth country and how God brought him/her into your family.  As your child learns to trust you and as your child has questions or feelings to process about adoption, he/she will be more likely to come to you

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Technology

Technology, social media, social networking sites, the internet; those words carry a lot of weight in our society and have brought significant change in how we do most everything in life. Many leading researchers say that children ages 0-3 need absolutely no screen time due to their developmental needs and brain growth. Older children need

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Three Times Adoptive Families Need Resources

Lifeline understands the beauty of adoption, but we also understand the loss from which it arises and the trauma surrounding the hearts of vulnerable children and their new families. Individuals who are familiar with adoption often say, “Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” Knowing the needs of families and children who come through

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Touch

Touch plays a very important part of developing attachment and bringing healing to our children who have experienced less than optimum beginnings.  It was discovered in the early 19th century that touch was just as important as food, clothing and shelter to the growth and well-being of infants. Children in orphanages were dying in spite

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Your Child's Love Languages

L-O-V-E February is the month of Love.  We begin to see Hearts and Cupids wherever we go.  Those icons can serve as reminders to us of the importance of  loving our children well.  It is easy in the midst of life’s business to become more perfunctory in our role as a parent.  We fall into

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Navigating the Hospital pt.4

Navigating the Hospital: Caring for your Children remaining at home Caring for a child in the hospital can be an all-consuming task especially while trying to build and maintain attachment. The Hospital experience may feel like it takes all of your energy, all of your time, and all of your capacity. In previous articles we

Read More


Siblings

The fostering and/or adoption process can be challenging for siblings already in the home as well as for the child new to the home.  All relationships are going through transitions. Here are some things to remember: Expect there to be jealousy between sibling relationships with the amount of attention the new child is receiving and

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Siblings: Promoting Attachments

SIBLINGS:  PROMOTING ATTACHMENTS A strong emphasis is placed on parents attaching to their new child, but it is equally important for all family members to become connected. Now that you are home with your newest family member and are over the jet lag you may be wondering, where do we go from here?  How do

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Siblings: Resolving Conflict

SIBLINGS:  RESOLVING CONFLICT P.E.A.C.E. As a parent my children’s arguments often sent me over the edge!  I wanted our home to be peaceful! In Romans 12:18  Paul writes these challenging words, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Paul was obviously an only child!   For any relationship

Read More


ABC’s for a Successful Start to the School Year

What feelings did you have as summer vacation ended and the new school year began?  You may have experienced a range of feelings that included disappointment, excitement, delight, hopefulness, fear, anxiety, worry and insecurity. A new school year is loaded with so many changes! It can bring with it meeting new teachers, learning new schedules,

Read More


Holiday Tips for Waiting Families

As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing. One friend of Lifeline said, “My younger sister was adopted, and I remember my parents . . . being so consumed with

Read More


Memory and Trauma Anniversaries

IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORIES Memory is a central construct to the development of children. We learn through observing others and by interacting with the world around us. This in turn influences our behavior. It is widely accepted that prior to the age of three, memories cannot be recalled or stored. However, recent research suggests that

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Merry Christmas or is it?

For many of us the Christmas Season generates excitement which can include everything from planning special meals and gifts, attending seasonal programs with Christmas music and time with family.  For a child from foster care the memories of Christmas may not be so merry! For many of our adopted children they may be experiencing the

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Summer Fun

Great memories were triggered as we cut into the first watermelon of the summer season. Memories from childhood which meant days without schedules, sleeping in late and staying outside playing until those last beams of the sun disappeared.   When I became a mother I too looked forward to summer which meant a reprieve from early

Read More


Winter Blues

THE WINTER BLUES Regardless of where you live, the shorter days of winter along with the messy weather can create havoc for our foster and adoptive children.  We see a correlation between increased behavioral issues and the number of days children are not able to be outside for play.  Children may span the continuum of

Read More


Navigating the Hospital

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL A hospital stay or medical procedure can be a scary and overwhelming experience for a child of any age, as well as for parents. The sterile environment, people wearing scrubs everywhere, and new and unfamiliar sights, smells, and sounds can bring about a sense of anxiety and fear in children and adults.

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 2

Understanding and Supporting Your Child During A Hospitalization As a parent, you may not know how to support your child during a hospitalization or medical procedure. If newly home, you may not feel as if you fully know or understand your child’s personality or temperament. Learning how the hospital stay may impact your child will

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 3

NAVIGATING THE HOSPITAL: Maintaining a Connection The period of time following your child’s adoption is critical for developing and maintaining connection and attachment.  Once home, your goal is to create an environment that is safe and conducive for healing. You and your child are beginning to learn about one another and forming a relationship. In

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt. 5

Games and Activities to do During your Child’s Hospital Stay It is common for most children’s hospitals to have a playroom available for your children in the hospital along with a large stock of games, toys and activities. If you are not told about a playroom or available games and toys, don’t be afraid to

Read More


Navigating the Hospital pt.4

Navigating the Hospital: Caring for your Children remaining at home Caring for a child in the hospital can be an all-consuming task especially while trying to build and maintain attachment. The Hospital experience may feel like it takes all of your energy, all of your time, and all of your capacity. In previous articles we

Read More


Recommended Medical Tests Once A Child Comes Home

The following medical tests are recommended for your child upon arrival in the U.S. after an international adoption.  The completion of these tests is not required by Lifeline, but for some countries a physical exam may be required.  You may wish to check with your health insurance provider before completing the tests, as some insurance

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