Notice: The information contained and resources recommended on this website are for general information and educational purposes only and in their entirety do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite.  The resources listed here have been found helpful, in parts or in their entirety, by some individuals at times.  They are recommended to be used with discretion and are not a substitute for professional, medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis.  We do not necessarily endorse links listed on some of these recommended websites.

Resources for Parents of Children from Hard Places


The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

The Broken Cord  by Michael Dorris
When Michael Dorris, 26, single and working on his doctorate, applied to adopt child, his request was speedily granted. He knew that his new three-year-old son, Adam, was badly developmentally disabled; but he believed in the power of nurture and love.

Damaged Angels  by Bonnie Buxton
An adoptive mother writes the book she wishes had been available — sympathetic, up-to-date, useful, hopeful and highly readable — when her family welcomed a little girl not knowing that she struggled with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Making Sense of the Madness  by Jeff Noble
Jeff thought he knew all about FASD… until he started parenting a teenager with it!

The Out-of-Sync Child  by Dr Carol S Kranowitz
The Out-of-Sync Child offers comprehensive, clear information for parents and professionals–and a drug-free treatment approach for children.

Trying Differently Rather than Harder  by Diane Malbin
This book provides a readable, narrative discussion of the neurobehavioral approach for working effectively with children, adolescents, and adults with FASD.

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis
Practical strategies for parenting children from hard places

The Connected Parent by Lisa Qualls and Karyn Purvis
Parenting under the best of circumstances can be difficult. And raising children who have come to your home from “hard places,” who have their own set of unique needs, brings even more challenges. You may have discovered that the techniques that worked with your birth children are not working with your adopted or foster child.  Renowned child-development expert Dr. Karyn Purvis gives you practical advice and powerful tools you can use to encourage secure attachment in your family. You will benefit from Karyn’s decades of clinical research and real-world experience. Coauthor Lisa Qualls demonstrates how you can successfully implement these strategies in your home, just as she did in hers.

The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman
Everyone has a primary love language and feels the most loved when people around them “speak” their language.

The Whole Brain Child by Dan Seigel
Cultivating healthy emotional and intellectual development in your children to enable them to lead balanced, meaningful, connected lives.

Teaching the Hurt Child by Andrea Chatwin
Tips on connecting with and teaching the child from a hard place in a school setting.

Unless listed otherwise, these books are available from one of the following websites:

Whether you are beginning the adoption process or are interested in learning more about what is involved, offers answers, insight, and guidance for the journey ahead.
A movement to care for orphans. We work to restore hope by breaking down barriers that exist between waiting children and loving families. Show Hope is now the host for what was formerly The Empowered To Connect conference. The annual conference is now called Hope for the Journey. For material from previous conferences follow this link.
When you can better understand your child, find the support you need, and gain valuable training that gives insight into childhood trauma, it helps you become the best parent possible.
Jeff Noble is the Founder and CEO of, an organization that provides hope and education to people caring for someone living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) through online applications and in-person training sessions, demonstrations and consultations. Jeff has also written the book, “Making Sense of the Madness”.
FASD United was established in 1990 as the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). Activist and author, Patricia Munter, had observed the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), then known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), in her visits to communities in New Mexico and South Dakota. Now the challenge is to push ahead further and faster, together as a determined united movement, to fulfill the promise of prevention and meet the needs of the courageous and deserving children, adults, and families living with FASD.
FASCETS has created an approach to understanding FASD from a completely different perspective, known as the Neurobehavioral Model. This model is applicable to FASD and any other brain-based conditions, including, but not limited to, autism, ADHD, acquired brain injuries, stroke, dementia, and many others. Our model helps establish the link between the brain and presenting behaviors.
Articles and short videos on topics and questions dealing with children from hard places.
The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development is a research-based institute with a primary focus on training professionals who work with children from hard places. They offer many resources that are designed for families that have children who have trauma in their background.
Catalogue of helpful videos and downloads.
Troubled by the misbehaviours, of some of her adopted children, the Founder, Cherilyn Orr, sought the advice of trusted, well researched friends who gave her the idea of using the colours of a traffic light (a stoplight) to describe their behaviour and needs. From there, Cherilyn spent thousands of hours researching and practicing different tools and ideas from top scientists and researchers known around the world on child development and behaviour management. The Stoplight Approach’s mission is “to initiate and support transformational change in schools, homes, and communities to create safe places for vulnerable children that lead to optimal development.”                                                                                                                                                                                    Ryan and Kayla North spent 10 years as foster parents and learned many of the things they share with families, churches, and schools living what they have learned. They are co-founders of One Big Happy Home and are considered experts on childhood trauma. Together they have developed training materials and programs for churches, schools, and parents educating them on trauma and its impacts. They are both TBRI Practitioners and speak at churches, schools, conferences, and retreats nationwide. 


More About Jesus

“When can I go to Heaven?” asked Andrea. “I want to go so bad!” A recent Sunday School lesson had inspired her longing, and all week she had been asking about Heaven.
Read More..

Thoughts on Adoption

Adoption is a calling. It is not to rescue, it is not to grow our family, it is not to be noble, and it is not for the adventure. It may start with those desires, but we must let go of our agenda and yield to God’s. This foundation of submission is paramount for every adoption. This is not about me. The calling may be a quiet nudge or a returning thought. When you know God has led you there, the road is easier to walk graciously. After we have been called to adopt, every step we take must be, “Not my will, but Yours, dear God”. Many times a day we prayed, “God, help us find our family”. We were deep into international adoptions twice and both times were led somewhere else. As we made the steps toward each of our children, there was the absolute confidence that come what may we had made the right decision for that day. It is so important that our adoptions sprout from a place of rest and not of striving. Remember friends, Jesus is redemptive. If we stepped into adoption with selfish motives He is able to redeem.
Read More..

Listen to a child explain developmental trauma from their perspective.

Karyn Purvis gives some excellent thoughts on how the church can help with healing.

The Insights and Gifts Series by Dr Karyn Purvis

This is a series of mini videos featuring the gifts we need to give and the insights we need to parent children from hard places.


My childhood dreams did not include being a foster parent. And they surely did not include being involved in foster care as a special needs parent. But I am so glad God is writing my story and not my childhood self.
Read More..


FASD- What thoughts come to mind when you hear that acronym? Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is a relatively new term but over the last few decades much research has been done and we are the beneficiaries. Take some time to review the information here but don’t just review it. Open your mind to the possibility that perhaps your conceptions about this malady are, in truth, misconceptions! One of the books recommended for learning about FASD is Trying Differently Rather Than Harder by Diane Malbin. It is an excellent resource. Faylene Wiebe has written the following article citing various parts of this book.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy! Holy! Holy! All the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, Who was and is and evermore shall be.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Tho’ the darkness hide Thee, Tho’ the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,

Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee Perfect in Power, love, and purity.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea;

Holy! Holy! Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Amen

Reginald Heber, John B Dykes

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 I’ve been thinking of the mercy of God and how we need mercy one with another, especially as it applies to children/people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. I feel like Fetal Alcohol Disorders is a vast subject and that we need to gain as much knowledge as we can to try to understand what people with FASD are dealing with and the challenges they face. One book that I feel explains it very well is “Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders”. It is put out by the Florida State University for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy. A PDF is available if you Google the book title with the words, “Florida school”.


Diane Malbin also has a power point presentation on the neurobehavioral model of dealing with FASD.

Dan Dubovsky has many short helpful videos about FASD on YouTube. Simply type his name into the search bar in the YouTube app and choose the topic you would like information on.
Below are some examples of stressors that may impact the person with FASD.
Take a minute or two to review the above stressors. Do you see any that are familiar to you? Instead of viewing the reactions to these stressors as simply bad behavior that must be extinguished, try to be a detective, and find out what is causing the behavior in the first place. It may be as simple as turning off the fluorescent lights or removing a tag from clothing.
Eric Osborne has been a featured speaker at various care meetings in the past. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience with dealing with children who are affected by FASD. Check out his website at He also has a power point presentation found here: and an eBook titled “Peace in the Midst Of…”