Adoption and foster care the focus of Nov. 6-7 ‘Equipped to Care’ conference

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Becoming an adoptive or foster care parent is no easy task. And with a growing number of Christians responding to children without parents, the need of training and support is at an all-time high.

“Equipped to Care,” a two-day conference set for Nov. 6-7 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), will focus on helping families understand and embrace adoptees and foster care children.

The event is sponsored by Crossroads Nola, a faith-based non-profit for the development of a citywide foster care and adoption initiative in partnership with First Baptist Church, New Orleans; the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, Monroe; and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Things that are intuitive for parenting are not intuitive for children from hard places,” said Kristyn Carver, an associate professor of psychology and counseling at NOBTS and an adoptive mom. “Because of early trauma, they don’t respond in the same way to traditional approaches to parenting.”

Professionals, foster care and adoptive parents, church and community leaders, and all interested in learning more are invited to attend. General admission is $30. Special registration fee for Department of Children and Family Services workers and foster care and adoptive parents is $10 per day, or $15 for both days.

Continuing Education Units for professionals are available for the registration fee of $30 for one day or $50 for two.

Conference workshop topics include: Trauma, Brains and Behaviors; Understanding and Fostering Attachment; Tackling Tough Talk; Basic Strategies for Working with Kids from Hard Places; Not What I Signed Up For: When It’s Hard to Care; and other topics.

More than 400 children are in the Louisiana foster care system on any given day, Crossroads Nola’s website reports.

Former U. S. senator, Mary Landrieu, an adoptive mom and a recognized advocate for adoption, will speak in the general session, Nov. 7, at 9 a.m.

John Fuller, vice president of Focus on the Family’s audio department and author of “First-Time Dad: The Stuff You Really Need to Know,” is the plenary speaker, Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Bruce and Denise Kendrick, directors of Embrace, a ministry equipping churches to embraced foster care, adoptive, and orphaned children, speak Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Carver and husband Kim Carver are the parents of 3 adoptive daughters, the youngest adopted out of foster care. Carver said that children raised from birth by loving parents have been nurtured in a myriad of healthy ways through eye contact, touch, and quick response to needs. But children in foster care or in orphanages often lack experiences of healthy, loving responses from adults and have not learned to trust, Carver said.

For example, foster care and adoptive children may fear going hungry, Carver said. A parent’s instruction that a treat must wait until after dinner can lead to unwanted conflict if foster care or adoptive parents are unprepared, Carver said.

“Just because they are safe doesn’t mean they will feel safe,” Carver said.

Carver stressed the importance of the conference for any adult who works with foster care or adoptive children in any capacity.

Childcare is available for conference hours by reservation only at registration. For registration and information, visit www.nobts.edu/events/equippedtocare.html by Oct. 30.