Giving Tuesday

June 16th

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Stories

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What You Can Expect When Creating an Adoption Plan with Upbring

Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be an emotional and scary time. Upbring’s caring and supportive Adoption Specialists can help you take control by assisting you in creating a unique adoption plan made just for you and your baby. Here’s what you can expect after you’ve contacted an Adoption Specialist at Upbring.

 

Confidentiality and around the clock personal support

Our warm and welcoming Adoption Specialists are here for you around the clock and will work one-on-one with you to give you the personal support that you need. You can also expect to work with the same Adoption Specialist throughout the entire adoption process. Together, you will complete the initial paperwork in order to identify your immediate needs. In many situations, Upbring is able to assist with medical and living assistance or with any other resources that have been identified as a need for you and your baby.

We know that every woman seeking adoption for their child is unique and deserves to be treated with respect. Together, we can explore what you think is best for yourself and your child. Feel confident that the things we discuss, along with your information, are 100% confidential. Again, you are in control and can change your mind at any time during this process.

 

Speak with other mothers that have made an adoption plan with Upbring

You are not alone. Not only do you have 24/7 support from your Upbring Adoption Specialist, but you will also be able to connect with mothers who have walked in your shoes. Choose as much contact as you would like with an expectant mother that has created an adoption plan with Upbring.

 

Decide the level of communication you would like with the adoptive family

Your Adoption Specialist will help you explore how much contact you would like to have with an adoptive family both before and after the birth of your baby. Determining the amount and types (exchange of pictures and emails, phone conversations, face to face visits, etc.) of communication you would like with an adoptive family will help determine the type of family you may choose for your child.

Would you like to begin forming a relationship with the adoptive family before your child is born? Would you like the adoptive family to be present at the hospital? Do you want pictures of your child once a year or would you prefer face to face visits once a month? We will help you explore your thoughts on all of these questions in order to decide the amount and types of communication you are comfortable with.

 

Choose an adoptive family

Once you’ve decided the amount of contact you want, you can decide whether you would like to choose a waiting adoptive family. You will be presented with photobooks containing pictures and information about our approved Upbring adoptive families that best match your wants and needs. All of Upbring’s waiting adoptive families have gone through a rigorous screening and training process. Our amazing adoptive families are often unable to have biological children of their own and are eager to shower a child with love.

If you decide you would like no communication with the adoptive family of your choice, that is absolutely okay. If you would like for your Adoption Specialist to select an adoptive family for you, we can do that as well. Every adoption plan is unique, and YOU are in control.

 

Create a birth/hospital plan

Your Adoption Specialist will help you explore what you would like your hospital experience to look like. Discussing the hospital stay in advance will also help you be better prepared for what will take place during your stay at the hospital. Would you like to spend time bonding with your baby after birth? Would you like the adoptive family to be there in order to bond with the baby as well? Would you like to spend time with the adoptive family and baby together? The Adoption Specialist will be present at the hospital to make sure your wishes are respected and to offer you 24/7 support during your hospital stay.

 

Legal help

For expectant parents deciding on whether to choose adoption for their child, the legal process may seem scary and confusing. Upbring’s Adoption Specialists and experienced Adoption Attorneys will be with you every step of the way. In the state of Texas, the paperwork that terminates your parental rights cannot be signed until 48 hours after birth. After this paperwork is signed and all parties have been discharged from the hospital, the adoptive family will be ready to take the baby home. Upbring will supervise the adoptive family and child for 6 months until the adoption is finalized in court. You will never need to worry about appearing in court.

 

Ongoing support and assistance with setting post-adoption goals

Upbring will continue to support you after the birth of your child and can assist with communication between yourself and the adoptive family if needed. This can mean passing letters, photos and videos between both parties and/or setting up visits with your child.

Before and after birth, you and your Adoption Specialist will continually explore your future aspirations. You can achieve your goals and dreams, and we are here to support you.

 

For more information about the adoption process with Upbring, visit Upbring.org/Adoption.

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Reflections From A Graduate

For high school seniors, the arrival of spring often means that one chapter of their lives is ending. In late May and early June, eager teenagers don silk gowns and tasseled caps as they are awarded their diplomas at ceremonies across the country, but on the campus of New Life Children’s Center – graduation day takes on a deeper meaning.

 

New Life is a residential treatment center tucked among the trees in the Texas hill country. Much like the landscape it’s built on, the girls at New Life have often encountered numerous valleys in their own lives, such as years of neglect and abuse that have led to significant trauma. New Life serves as a place to be encouraged through the physical, emotional and spiritual care needed to truly heal. And, perhaps one of the most defining cornerstones of the healing process at New Life is the opportunity for girls to continue their education through the on-site Trinity Charter School. The teachers and staff at New Life and TCS work each and every day to build a foundation for girls to stand upon as they prepare for the bright futures they will live beyond treatment. This May, two seniors took their spots on the stage to graduate from TCS, yes, but also to reflect on their time spent at New Life – what they learned in the classroom and beyond and what they will take with them as they set out to achieve their dreams. Below is the graduation speech of one of those seniors.

 

This day I reflect on my true dedication to success. Today I am standing here a year early based on my determination to continue to improve my life no matter the circumstances.

 

When I first got into CPS, I remember telling my mom that I would end up getting behind in school and that I was just going to drop out since the placements I was being sent to had no schooling. I remember being angry at the world and on the verge of giving up on everything. Until one day, it hit me that what I am going through right now is not forever – that every setback is not negative. My setback has brought more good than it has bad. I jumped from placement after placement losing more and more hope throughout each move. I was wondering what I would do with my life now. Who am I going to run to now since everyone isn’t a tap away?

 

Before this happened, things were pretty normal. When CPS started, I was afraid of being alone and doing this all by myself. It was hard not having my mom to look up to anymore. It was hard to switch from making my own choices to being told when I can shower, when to use the bathroom, when to eat and when to sleep. But without getting a taste of what other worlds feel like and what the pain of others around you feels like to let me know that I’m not alone has shaped me into the person that I am today. It has made me realize that setbacks are not the end of the world. When you have so much time to yourself and you are away from all of the things that got you into trouble, you start to think. And when you start to think, you think of ways to change and become a better person. That is what I had to come to terms with.

 

I am thankful for everything that has happened to me this past year along with everything that I have learned along the way. I am thankful for all the teachers in my life that have wanted the best for me and wanted to see me grow, to use all my knowledge to make a change. I am thankful for my family and friends for staying true to me no matter the distance and not forgetting me. I am thankful for choosing to stop being against change and experiencing the other things that life has for me. I am thankful for deciding to stop being against help from others because without help I would have not made it this far.

 

Everything that happens always happens for a reason, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the doors that have opened for me. When you truly decide to set your mind to something, beyond the sky becomes your limit. I learned to never let anyone, no matter how much they mean to me, get in the way of my success. People aren’t forever, but your goals are.

 

And last, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has gotten to know me and has been by my side to this very day. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

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Waiting Children – Bulgaria | May

Upbring International Adoption – the primary provider facilitating adoptions from Bulgaria – partners with New Beginning Association, a foundation accredited by the Bulgarian government, to find loving and compassionate adoptive families for children living in Bulgarian orphanages.

 

Meet the children currently waiting to find their forever homes:

 

ADAM

 

 

DYLAN

 

 

EMMA

 

 

HARMONY

 

 

LISA

 

 

MARK

 

 

MAVERICK

 

 

ROBBY

 

 

SALLY

 

 

SOPHIA

 

 

VINCENT

 

If you would like to find out more about children available for adoption in Bulgaria, contact Upbring International Adoption by emailing [email protected]. You may also call 800-396-4611 and ask to speak to our International Adoption team.

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Foster Care FAQ: Disproving the Myths

If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, you probably have a lot of questions about what the process looks like. At Upbring, we strive to be honest with potential foster parents and give them the information they need to make a knowledgeable decision about whether or not fostering is right for them. Fostering a child comes with its challenges, but none that cannot be managed with proper training and support. There are many common myths and misconceptions about foster care. Here’s the truth about the five most commonly heard:

 

1. I have no choice about the child that is placed in my home

Foster parents are given the freedom to help create the kind of environment they want for their home. This process involves evaluating the type of child(ren) that you think will best fit in with your family. You can choose a child’s age range and gender as well as the range of behaviors that you feel comfortable parenting. Keep in mind that the smaller the age range you give, the longer it will likely take for you to be matched with a child.

 

2. I must be wealthy

If worrying that you don’t have enough money to provide for a child is the only thing holding you back from becoming a foster parent, don’t let that stop you. While foster care is not an experience that you can financially profit from (you must have a regular source of income that is not government assistance), help is offered through a daily reimbursement rate. This predetermined dollar amount is provided for each day a child resides in your home to assist with purchasing his or her basic need items like clothing and food. The daily reimbursement rate is disbursed on a monthly basis and can also be used to offer your child opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities like dance class, music lessons or playing on a sports team.

 

3. I’m too old to be a foster parent

While the minimum age is 21, there is no maximum age to welcome a child in foster care into your home. As long as you are emotionally and physically healthy, have a regular source of income and have no criminal history or history of abusing a child or another adult, you are eligible to care for a child in foster care. Foster parents range in age and represent a variety of different family structures. Some have other children in their home already and others do not. Retirees who are nostalgic for the joy and busyness of having a child at home often make excellent foster parents.

 

4. I’ll be on my own without any help

At Upbring, we work to make sure that each child placed into a foster home is well cared for and that each family providing for them has the support and resources needed to be successful. When you foster through Foster In Texas (FIT), you are assigned a family services worker who is on call at all times. If you have a question, are feeling overwhelmed or need to report an incident, simply pick up the phone and call our 24/7 local support line. FIT also provides foster parents with 30 hours of training per year, monthly support groups, quarterly events such as a day at the zoo or an appreciation dinner, respite care and wraparound health care for children. Our goal is to make sure that every foster parent knows that they are not in this alone.

 

5. I have to be married and own a home

Both single people and married couples (if you have been married for at least two years) can welcome a child in foster care into their home. While a home screening and a safety inspection of your place of residence are both required before a child can enter your care, passing is not at all contingent on whether you own or rent your home.

 

Fostering through Upbring means that you are joining a community of caring staff and like-minded parents who all have the same goal of caring for children who need loving, supportive families. While fostering a child can be challenging at times, our foster families are supported throughout their entire journey and are given all the resources they need to feel comfortable. If you think you are interested in becoming a foster parent, we want to hear from you! Please take a minute to fill out our Foster Inquiry Form so that we can connect you with a FIT representative who will give you additional information and answer any questions you may have.

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The Three Ts of Successful Test Taking

Along with spring showers and May flowers comes test-taking season at schools around the country. Be it standardized testing or final exams, anxiety runs high. For students in elementary school, this might be their first experience testing while older students may be more seasoned. Whatever stage your child is in, one thing is sure: it’s tough to be tested. A good night’s sleep and a healthy meal are a great way to start, but let’s explore the three T’s that provide children with the support they need during testing season.

 

1. Table

Dinner time is a great way to provide an opportunity for children to process their day. Turning off the TV, silencing devices and sitting down at the table together creates a space for families to debrief. If things are slow to start, go around the table and share a sunshine (a highlight of the day or reason for gratitude) and a cloud (a challenge or time of discouragement.) Consider making the meal special by allowing your child to help plan the menu for the evening. Remember, sitting in silence is okay too. The act of being together is often enough to help your child feel loved and encouraged.

 

2. Thoughts

Learning to self-regulate during stressful events is just as important as being tested for knowledge. Identifying the physical responses to stress is a great way to start. That might sound like, “When you take your spelling test, where do you feel nervous?” Getting children to identify where they feel nervous (in their stomach, throat, hands, feet, etc.) is very helpful. It might take an example to help them understand such as, “When I’m nervous, I feel it in my stomach.  It feels like butterflies are flying around in there.” Let them know that when feelings of stress arise, they can respond with self-soothing techniques. Breathing techniques are effective and produce fast results. Some examples include:

  • Pretend to blow a bubble.
  • Pretend to smell a rose with a deep breath in and a slow breath out.
  • Breath in through your nose and fill up your lungs. Breath out through your mouth until your lungs are empty.
  • Practice boxed breathing – inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, then repeat the process from the beginning.

 

3. Talk

Whether your child comes home confident in their performance or discouraged, filling their brain with encouraging phrases is helpful for modeling positive self-talk. This might include phrases such as:

  • I knew you could do it!
  • You can do hard things.
  • I can see you tried hard.
  • I’m so proud of you!
  • You amaze me!
  • You are learning and growing.
  • I see you working and learning every day.
  • Look how far you’ve come!

 

Seeing your child under any amount of stress can be difficult. By creating a safe place to debrief, teaching calming techniques and using the power of words to build self-esteem, we can provide a supportive environment for children to thrive. Happy testing!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Audrey Walker has served in a variety of early childhood and primary school settings for the past twelve years and has a deep passion for promoting the potential of all children. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Education from Concordia University Texas in 2009 and her Master’s of Arts in Education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri in 2011 with an emphasis in gifted education. She is proud to be a Texas certified teacher (ece-4th grade).  

As Campus Administrator, she is committed to the USAS teaching philosophy to provide academic excellence in a Christian environment, working with families and teachers to discover and develop each child’s unique gifts to their full potential. Her daily motivation is to see that every child is deeply valued, respected, and encouraged to become a life-long learner by finding joy in coming to school. A highlight of her job is seeing teachers and staff igniting children’s imaginations, provoking ideas, and encouraging problem-solving skills based on each child’s interests. 

 Audrey and her husband, Andrew, have three children, Lydia, August, and Lucas.  They enjoy the simple things in life right now, going to the park, movie nights, reading, and all things Lego related.  

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Helping Your Children Stay Engaged During the Final Weeks of School

Once spring break has passed, the close of the school year becomes the focus. The students can seemingly sense that the end is at hand. Parents and educators all agree that children’s behavior changes as the temperatures rise and the days get longer. What can be done to keep students focused on learning? How can they be convinced to finish the school year strong?

 

Here are a few strategies that might help with the battle against spring fever.


1.  Remind your child that your expectations have not changed with the weather. You expect the same quality of work that was expected during the rest of the school year. You might even need to put these expectations/goals in writing and display them for reference as needed.

 

2.  Be sure to model the behaviors you expect from your child. Maintain your regular work schedule and stress that school responsibilities must be met before fun activities take place.

 

3.  In many families, it is helpful to create a checklist of tasks that must be finished before playtime can happen. This can be done on a weekly or daily basis. The sooner work and responsibilities are taken care of – the sooner the fun can begin.

 

4.  Burning off some excess energy by playing outside for a short time when you first get home is not a bad thing. Many people (not just children) need to have some physical activity in order to improve their focus when they sit down to get to a task. Allowing for a “brief” playtime might also score you some points with your child. Flexibility is frequently a good thing to model. The important thing to learn is that the responsibilities do not actually go away; they are simply delayed.

 

5.  Sleep hours need to be consistent. It is not unusual for children to want to stay up later once the clocks have changed.  It really does look like they are being forced to bed early when there is still daylight outside. Always refer to the actual time on the clock and the number of sleep-hours needed for success in the upcoming day. Numbers don’t lie – even though the sky may seem to be doing so.

 

6.  Allow for some extra-educational outdoor fun. Use special opportunities that become available with the warmer weather as goals during the week. Then, over the weekend, go to the local zoo, arboretum, or relax with a lakeside picnic and some fishing. There is so much to be learned through activities like these, and they are so much fun. They also allow for great memories to be made.

 

In all honesty, it is not just children who struggle as the weather improves and the days lengthen. Many adults are challenged by the same distractions. Working with your children on staying focused and forcing yourself to be a good role-model may prove helpful for you as well.  Summer break will be here before you know it!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brenda Burdick was born and raised in Texas. She graduated from Houston Baptist University with her undergraduate degree and the University of North Texas with her graduate degree. She spent 10 years of her career as an educator in public schools and 20 years in Lutheran schools in various roles including teacher, marketing and admissions director, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, and principal. Currently, Brenda is the Director of Christian School Expansion and Operations at Upbring.

National Foster Care Month: The Wright’s Story

May is National Foster Care Month. Right now, there are more than 440,000 children in foster care across the United States with nearly 30,000 children in foster care in the state of Texas alone. The need for loving and compassionate foster parents is evident. Ash and Patty Wright heard the call and answered with open arms. They welcomed their now adopted son, Nathan, into their hearts and their home. We’re honored to share the Wright’s foster care journey.

 

There are thousands of children in Texas who need kindhearted people like Ash and Patty to provide a safe and loving home where they feel seen and encouraged. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can begin your own foster journey, fill out our Foster Inquiry Form at Upbring.org/FosterInfo. One of our Foster In Texas team members will reach out to you.

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National Child Abuse Prevention Month: How You Can Get Involved Throughout The Year

While National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a great step toward creating awareness for abuse and neglect prevention, many more steps can be taken to ensure that all children are safe, loved and cherished. Here are five ways you can get involved, with resources included, so you can show your support year-round.

 

1. Spread the word

Change occurs when we raise awareness that change is needed. By bringing attention to situations of abuse and neglect and informing others of the harm it causes, we can display the need for change. Help raise public awareness in your community by posting a tip sheet on a public bulletin board or by sharing a message on your personal social media account.

 

2. Learn the signs

In order to help others, you must first learn the signs of abuse and neglect. Knowing the signs makes it possible for you to share the information with others and recognize situations of abuse in your community. If you suspect that a child is being abused, use the information you’ve learned to help make an informed decision about when to contact local authorities. By speaking up, you can make a difference in the lives of children who would otherwise have no one on their side.

 

3. Donate

One great way to get involved and show your support is by making a financial or in-kind contribution to an organization that serves children. Nonprofit organizations, like Upbring, use your donations to serve children who have been affected by abuse or neglect by placing them in loving foster homes, finding them forever homes through adoption or providing them with access to facilities where they can go to escape abuse and begin the healing process. Choose which program you want your gift to support by using our online donation form or by selecting an item through the Upbring Marketplace. Both options are 100% tax deductible.

 

4. Volunteer

Donating your time is another important way that you can support children who have suffered from abuse. Find a local organization where you can get involved and make a difference in the lives of those who need extra love and care. Your willingness to share your hobbies, talents and encouragement with children can make a tremendous impact on their lives. Upbring has many different opportunities to volunteer like mentoring, hosting group activities, academic tutoring and community garden maintenance.

 

5. Spend time together

Spending extra time with your children strengthens your family and promotes child and family well-being, which is one of the most important ways to counter the cycle of abuse. Taking time out of your day to focus fully on your child shows them that they are important to you. Create opportunities to spend more time together. For example, turn Friday nights into a family movie night; order pizza, rent a movie and build a blanket fort that you can all crawl in to watch together. Encourage other families to do the same by sharing your ideas with friends or even hosting a family game night.

 

With the help of the resources mentioned above and the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s 2019 Prevention Resource Guide, you can learn more about the best prevention practices. The more we talk about the reality of abuse and neglect and study the resources available to us, the more we will learn. Being informed will help us better recognize the signs so we can change the lives of those suffering around us. At Upbring, we strive to make sure that every child knows they are loved and important. By choosing to get involved and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, you are joining us on our mission to break the cycle of child abuse.