Domestic Adoption Advanced Education

Advanced Education

Discover More about Essential Topics

Our Domestic Adoption Advanced Education classes were created to take caregivers deeper into the subjects of bonding and attachment and the practical how-to’s of caring for a child who has experienced trauma and loss.

Featured Courses

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Class 301

Siblings and Family Integration

Foster care and adoption impacts each individual in the family differently. Adding a new family member, and all of the likes, dislikes, passions, and personality that come along with them, can throw the groove off of even the most flexible of families. Having realistic expectations, practicing the possibilities, and remembering what’s already true about your family, helps makes for an easier transition when adding a new sibling – temporarily or permanently. This course will address the needs and concerns of both parents and children already in your home.

1.5 Hours • $45
Enroll in Class 301

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Class 302

TBRI® for Teens: Connecting with Older Children

Meeting the needs and bonding with a teenager or an older child who has a history of trauma and loss, comes with its own set of challenges. A teen who is beginning to question their situation, identity and relationships can require a whole new list of best practices for parents, caregivers and professionals. In this course we’ll introduce the short video “Toxic Stress & the Brain” as well as the two-part series, “TBRI for Teens.”

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 302

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Class 303.1

TBRI: Empowering, Connecting, Correcting Part I

This course provides the practical examples and role-playing needed for parents, caregivers and professionals to learn how to empower children to physically and emotionally attune to a safe caregiver. You’ll come away with the tools and encouragement needed to connect with children in a meaningful, healthy way, while also learning strategies to help them course-correct when things get hard. The first session of the video “Empowering, Connecting, Correcting” is included in this course.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 303.1


Class 303.2

TBRI: Empowering, Connecting, Correcting Part II

This course continues the practical examples and role-playing needed for parents, caregivers and professionals to learn how to empower children to physically and emotionally attune to a safe caregiver. The second session of the video “Empowering, Connecting, Correcting” is also included in this course.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 303.2

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Class 304

Facilitating Behavioral Change

Discover the science behind the behaviors of vulnerable children. Dr. Purvis provides dozens of examples of TBRI strategies to deal with the behaviors of the children you care for who’ve come to you after experiences of trauma and loss in their lives. It’s a joy to watch Dr. Purvis bring order, security, and contentment into tough situations with children. The 86-minute video “Facilitating Behavioral Change” is included in this course.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 304

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Class 305

Family Mission Statement

A wise person once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time!” In this interactive for-the-whole-family workshop, you’ll have the chance to hear from and encourage each other, brainstorm, be creative, and build on what makes your family unique. Together you’ll identify a purpose each person understands and an overall direction that you can head toward as a family. By the end of the class, you’ll have created your own family mission statement!

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 305

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Class 306

Racial Makeup of Families & Identity of Adopted Children

Families whose children have ethnicities different from their own face unique challenges in family life, community, and culture. Your child’s experience is different from your own—and there must be space for them to express those experiences and feelings. This course will help families discover ways to honor their child’s birth culture as well as the community that they’ve brought their child “home” to join.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 306

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Class 307

Safety and Children with Sexualized Behaviors

Very sadly, the children who come into our homes temporarily or permanently have sometimes had almost unspeakable experiences that loving parents and caregivers can’t even imagine. To bring healing, we must fiercely and unashamedly come alongside our children. In this course we’ll address topics of safety for every family member, how the symptoms of sexual abuse can present in children of all ages, and how to begin steps toward healing.

1.5 Hours • $45
Enroll in Class 307

Class 308

Developmental Milestones

Although every child’s development is unique, children who come to us from challenging backgrounds have even more ‘unique’ needs. As parents and caregivers we want to empower these children holistically—facilitating growth in mind, body and spirit—so they can reach their full potential. This course will provide a deeper understanding of child development, examining potential emotional triggers that will help you better meet children’s needs as they grow.

2.5 Hours • $75
Enroll in Class 308

Class 309

Exploring the Realities of Transracial Adoption

Families are Forever is partnering with Be the Bridge in the important conversation surrounding the topic of transracial adoption and caregiving. Be the Bridge is a faith-based organization that believes in truth-telling, humility, respect, confession, grace, and justice. The vision of Be the Bridge is for people and organizations to gain awareness and respond to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in the world, and that people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in the truth where all are equipped to flourish. This course will allow you to step into an intentional study of race, adoption and culture.

6 Hours • $120
Enroll in Class 309

Class 311

Talking to Kids About Race and Racism

Family should be the place where children feel precious and beloved. It’s also the place where their identity is nurtured and strengthened. When everyone in the family doesn’t ‘match,’ we have the unique opportunity of learning and growing together, and then championing the differences. What you say and (often more importantly) what you don’t say as parents and caregivers will be foundational to the identity your child takes into their teens, young adulthood, and the rest of their life. This course includes resources from Be the Bridge, a faith-based organization that believes in truth-telling, humility, respect, confession, grace, and justice. It will help you guide the thinking, reading, and conversation around race and racism for your whole family.

3 Hours • $90
Enroll in Class 310

Class 313

A Message for Teen Adoptees – Our Google Map for the Teen Years

Cam Small, therapist and adult adoptee guides teen adoptees as they travel through 5 main stops to explore what it means for them in their personal lived experience. This training will help adoptees normalize and organize their thoughts and feelings about their adoption story.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 313

Class 314

A Message for Adult Adoptees – Tools for Navigating Life Beyond Our Parents

Cam Small, therapist and adult adoptee explores the journey of “life beyond our parents” for Adult Adoptees. He presents tools and insights to equip, understand and respond to adoption-related needs during adulthood. Discover six journeys that each adoptee encounter, from their Origin Story to the Survivor’s Mission. Enjoy an expanded toolbox of support and skills to call on today and for years to come.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 314

Class 315.1

Sexual Development, Disruption & Healing  1

Discussion of sexual development and any challenges around this topic and our children is often uncomfortable for caregivers and parents – yet, as the adults in our children’s lives we must find ways to normalize healthy behavior and to meet their needs. In this two-part course you will become familiar with normative sexual development and behaviors as well as the dynamics of sexual abuse. We’ll explore basic caregiving skills to utilize with children/youth who have experienced sexual abuse or display problematic sexual behaviors.

2 Hours • $60
Enroll in Class 315.1

Class 315.2

Sexual Development, Disruption & Healing  2

This course continues our discussion from Part 1 around the topics of sexual development and challenges. It’s pretty common that these are uncomfortable subjects for caregivers and parents – yet, as the adults in our children’s lives we must find ways to normalize healthy behavior and to meet their needs.

3 Hours • $90
Enroll in Class 315.2

Class 316

Does Anyone See? – When you already live here…and your family adopts!

When you are the ‘resident’ child, and your family adds new siblings it’s a whole life transition for everyone. In this material Dr. Jana Hunsley shares her own family’s story… 7 children adopted in 4 years when she was a teenager!

1.5 Hours • $45
Enroll in Class 316

Class 317

What About My Other Children: Learning to See and Meet the Needs of Adoptive Siblings

Every family is a complex, emotionally interdependent system of individuals. Adding a whole new person(s) with diverse needs, expectations and life experiences can be challenging for everyone! Dr. Jana Hunsley will share from her personal story as well as recommendations for meeting needs and achieving a positive adoption transition for each family member.

1.5 Hours • $45
Enroll in Class 317

Additional Courses

Class 102

Introduction to Trust-Based Relational Intervention

This class lays the foundation for most of the Trust-Based Relational Intervention teachings of this entire program. TBRI is a proven method for enriching the lives of at-risk, vulnerable children, adolescents, and their families. Much of the information that we’ll examine will be drawn from this material, which includes a 40 minute “TBRI Overview” video.

2 Hours • $35

Enroll in Class 102

Class 103D

Domestic Open Adoption

This course shines a light on what the possibilities are for both families and children in an open adoption. We approach this topic with realistic expectations and hope for each member of the triad—first families, adoptive parents, and children. Through the voices of experience, we will step into the stories of several experienced families and do our best to cultivate understanding and create intentional steps forward for adoptive families.

2 Hours • $35

Enroll in Class 103D

Class 104

Understanding Children’s Development

The mystery of how a child becomes the small person we meet begins with their developing brain and body—how does this development affect their emotional and behavioral make up? In this course, we’ll learn from the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development’s 90-minute video “Children from Hard Places and the Brain.” This video covers topics such as institutionalization and development, and challenges us to think about what it means to come from a hard place. This TBRI-focused teaching will start your exploration of what we hope will be a life-long desire to learn just ‘how and why’ children are who they are, and how we as parents, caregivers and professionals can be an enormous part of their healing. We’ll cover how the brain develops, the impact of trauma and institutionalization and how we can help change a child’s brain development through attachment.

2.25 Hours • $35

Enroll in Class 104

Class 106

Understanding Attachment

In this class, we will look at what healthy attachment looks like and how our attachment styles as parents, caregivers and professionals can ease our relationship with a child. Understanding attachment is an important part of every relationship—the 90 minute “Attachment–Why It Matters Part 1” video will give you the insights needed to start your own voyage of personal discovery, as well as give you practical TBRI tools for purposeful connection with any child.

2 Hours • $30

Enroll in Class 106

Class 107

Developing Attachment

The more you know about how to engage children in the ‘attachment dance,’ the more healing and peace you’re able to create. You will learn tools and techniques to incorporate mindfulness about children’s histories, developmental needs, and how to gauge your interaction for healing. This course includes the 60-minute video, “Attachment–Why It Matters Part 2.”

2.25 Hours • $35

Enroll in Class 107

Class 108

Transracial Adoption: Building Cultural Awareness

We are all the same on the inside, but learning to acknowledge, celebrate, and understand cultural differences but “blending” as you become a conspicuous family is a life-long journey. Take some steps with this course in deepening your sensitivity and opening your heart for those who are different from you. We’ll explore transracial adoption from the point of view of both adoptive parents and transracial adoptees.

2 Hours • $30

Enroll in Class 108

Class 110

FASD for Adoptive Families

A child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can display a range of behaviors both challenging and puzzling to parents. From signs and symptoms to diagnoses and treatment strategies, we’ll hear from medical professionals and adoptive families who have experienced, and are currently walking the daily adventure of raising children with FASD.

2 Hours • $45

Enroll in Class 110

Class 113

Supporting Children During Medical Encounters

From surgery to shots at the pediatrician to taking pills, medical encounters of any kind bring their own challenges and potential fears for you and your children. This will course will provide insight on how to prepare yourself and your child for medical encounters, tips for regulation and support during a procedure, office visit or hospital admission, and how to process and recognize success afterwards.

1.5 Hours • $35
Enroll in Class 113

Class 140

First Family Heritage Search

As you build a trusting, life-long relationship with your adopted child, one of your goals for them is to build a strong and resilient identity. To do this, it’s important to aid in understanding and honoring their birth culture and birth family. What does that look like in international or domestic adoption? Let’s explore together.

2 Hours • $30

Enroll in Class 140

Class 141

Sharing Your Adopted Child’s Story

Preparing for conversations and questions ahead of time and practicing intentional responses to meet the needs of your child, is wise. In this course we’ll cover ways to help your child understand adoption, how to navigate your child’s understanding of their story, and how to know what is “age appropriate.” We’ll also provide practical tools for how to navigate sharing pieces of your child’s adoption story.

2.5 Hours • $40

Enroll in Class 141

Class 201

The Importance of Playful Engagement

In this class, we’ll discuss how to confront challenging moments through playful interaction, and provide practical tools for daily encouragement for children with a background of trauma. This class also explores ways to make play fun for yourself and your child, and why play can often be difficult for adults.

2.0 Hours • $60

Enroll in Class 201

Class 202

Healing and Healthy Touch

Everyone needs physical affection, but it can be difficult to know where to start when or healthy touch has been absent. This course offers practical tools based in TBRI for how to be affectionate with a child from a hard place, as well as how to recognize and bring healing to sexualized behavior and understand healthy touch. The 40-minute TBRI video, “Healthy Touch” is included in this course.

2 Hours • $60

Enroll in Class 202

Class 203

Exploring the Sensory World

This course explores the ways in which we experience the world through the 5 senses and different coping mechanisms for sensory overload. In this segment, we’ll also discuss the importance of respect for our own, as well as our children’s bodies. The 90-minute TBRI-focused video “A Sensory World” is included in this course.

2 Hours • $60

Enroll in Class 203

Class 204

Healing Through Attachment

Through an attachment assessment and detailed narratives, you’ll learn about the 4 types of adult attachment styles and discover your own attachment inclination. Gaining insight into individual strengths and challenges becomes a valuable tool in enhancing attachment in all of your relationships.

3 Hours • $90

Enroll in Class 204

Class 205

Your Story: Healing & Attachment

Central to this class is the wisdom we’ll draw from Michael Orlans and Terry Levy and their book Healing Parents: Helping Wounded Children Learn to Love and Trust. Resources and valuable insights are provided to help parents and caregivers develop trust and create healthy self-worth in every relationship.

4 Hours • $120

Enroll in Class 205

Class 206

Nurturing Secure Connections

Every parent and caregiver wonders what is going on in the minds of the children they care for. Actions, behaviors, words, and deeds can baffle the mind of the most caring and rational adult! In this course, we’ll explore the possibility that everything a child does stems from his or her natural desire to learn, explore, and grow, to launch and return to a secure embrace.

2 Hours • $60

Enroll in Class 206

Class 207

Parenting From a Secure Base

The longing to ‘belong’ is central to every heart. The practical, grace-filled examples of TBRI principles—empowering, connecting, and correcting—will become the bedrock of the foundation you are building as you care for children. The 120-minute video “Empowering, Connecting, Correcting” is included in this class.

3 Hours • $90

Enroll in Class 207

Class 210

Learning to Listen to Children

Building connection and a healthy relationship with a child means entering their world. Inviting their stories, even when they are difficult to hear, listening with compassion, and practicing the art of ‘being with’ gives children a safe place to share. In this course we’ll explore how to give children voice and gain understanding about their experiences to help care for them well.

1.5 Hours • $45

Enroll in Class 210