What Does A Wholistic Approach to Orphan Care Look Like? [Podcast 017]

An Interview with John Palmieri of World Orphans

In today’s podcast episode I interview John Palmieri with World Orphans. I met John a few months ago through a mutual friend. What I learned about World Orphans impressed me.

John and family fun photo!

If you are like me, you probably think that World Orphans is another organization that helps families adopt internationally. However, World Orphans, as you will hear in the interview, focuses on strengthening families and communities across the world.

Show Notes

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Hope Shines Here

#RunForShoes Buckner's Shoes for Orphan Souls

When you aren’t sure how to help the millions around you that need help, usually something simple goes a long way. That’s the case with Buckner’s Shoes for Orphan Souls.

For a small donation you can provide new shoes for a child who otherwise might not have their own shoes, not even one pair.

Here is some information provided by Buckner about why shoes are so important:

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What I Learned from Dr. Karyn Purvis about Caring for At-Risk Children

Dr. Karyn Purvis spoke at the A Future and A Hope conference last week. AFAH is an adoption and foster care annual conference in Austin, Texas that focuses on different adoption processes, foster care, and raising foster or adopted children.

Photo by Matt Kouri

Courtesy of Matt Kouri

Dr. Purvis already commands attention because of her passion, experience and research. Her love for children from a “hard place” manifested powerfully as her friend and co-author, David Cross, helped her onto stage.

Dr. Purvis honored her commitment to speak at this conference even though she received a chemo treatment just a couple of days before. Yes, she is battling a recurrence of cancer.

Even though a chair sat on stage for her to sit in as she spoke, the conviction she carries would not allow her to sit.

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What’s the Point of All of This? (part 2)

A majority of this blog’s content comes from the Empowered to Connect Training material. Danielle and I are certified trainers and will offer the course a couple of times in 2015 in the Austin area.

We began this discussion last week in part 1 of What’s the Point of All of This?  We discussed how our history, attachment style, and default parenting style effects our relationship with our child. Also, we talked about owning your stuff and repairing your mistakes. If you didn’t read that article, click on that link to get to it.

All parents bring expectations with them into parenting—some realistic and others not. For adoptive families, however, lingering unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, frustration and even a real disconnection between parents and children. When a child’s history of pain and loss begins to taint the beautiful picture of what a parent expected their adoption journey to look like, parents are tempted to protect their image rather than embrace their child’s feelings and struggles. When a child’s behaviors (rooted in fear and an instinct to survive) begin to collide with the “way we do things as a family” and are only made worse by a parent’s attempts at discipline, parents can find themselves exhausted and quickly nearing the point of despair.Empowered to Connect


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What’s the Point of All of This?

A majority of this blog’s content comes from the Empowered to Connect Training material. Danielle and I are certified trainers and will offer the course a couple of times in 2015 in the Austin area.
What’s the point of all of this if you’re not going to let it change you?Francis Chan

Far too often foster and adoptive parents focus all their attention on the change and healing that their child needs and ignore what needs to change in themselves. However, what you bring to the parent-child relationship matters—a lot.   We all bring, as parents, our own history, motivations, and expectations into the relationship. In order to help your child build trust, heal and grow you need to focus on your past, your future, and your present. This allows you as a parent to be fully present in each and every moment to help your child heal.


Is Your History Getting in the Way?

Become aware of how your past may be affecting your relationship with your child and be open to change. This will require learning how to “pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to” (Dr. Curt Thompson). In other words, do you pay attention to your “default mode” of responding to your child’s behavior?

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9 Misguided Motives for Adopting or Fostering

I gave a copy of my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart, to a friend of mine I play pickup basketball with. As he sat looking at the book he mentioned that he and his wife still discuss fostering and/or adopting.

He admitted that he wasn’t quite ready to make that commitment, but his wife thought they needed to move forward. He expressed that maybe they should go ahead and look into it even though he thought the timing was not right.

A child coming into your family from a hard place needs for you to have as pure motives as possible. I encouraged him to be just as committed to it as his wife, not because of his wife.

Here is a good (short) video from Michael Monroe with Empowered to Connect—Motivations Can Speak Louder than Words

Leslie Leyland Fields’ book Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt lists several parenting myths that set us up for failure. Myth 1 is Having Children Makes You Happy and Fulfilled

Well, yeah, don’t they? Not necessarily. And if that is your motivation for having a child, what happens when they don’t make you happy and fulfilled?

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How to Care for Orphans without Adopting or Providing Foster Care

Caring for orphans and at-risk children is innate in any compassionate person. If you are a Christian, God clearly mandates to care for orphans in the Bible.

However, I think that many people ignore the call to care for orphans and at-risk children because they are not ready or able to adopt or give foster care. If adoption or foster care are not an option, then what can a person do?

Here are a few suggestions. Be warned, after reading this, you might not have an excuse to not care for orphaned and at-risk children..

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Why My Decision to Adopt Had Little To Do with Infertility

When we decided to look into adopting through foster care in 2010, we had been married for 22 years. I was 49, and we had no children of our own.


Fall 2009

Fall 2009


In our 30s we made some efforts to get pregnant through infertility treatments, but to no avail.

During those years two different friends approached us about adopting a newborn. We turned them down. It was not that we were not interested. We wanted to keep trying to get pregnant. But the years continued to pass without any success.

Playing at the beach in Thailand with children from the Mercy Center Children's Shelter

Playing at the beach in Thailand with children from the Mercy Center Children’s Shelter

The last time I gave adoption any serious thought was in 2007 when we lived in Thailand. We looked into adopting a Thai child from a local orphanage. That didn’t get very far.

When I did think about adoption, it usually was a baby or toddler that came to mind.

But, by 2010, almost 50 years old, with plans to go back overseas as missionaries, I definitely wasn’t thinking adopting here in the U.S. I was moving on with my life taking advantage of the freedom I had without children.

Then God grabbed my attention. Danielle’s too. I don’t think she had moved on from the idea of having a family through adoption like I had.

Before I go on, I want to state that I think it is perfectly fine for a couple to build their family through adoption solely based on the motivation of wanting children of their own.

However that had little to do with what God was doing in me.

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Everyone Needs a Family: National Adoption Month

Yes, November is National Adoption Month! A few things happening here on the site and on my social media outlets this month to bring awareness to orphan care.


paper man team


Foster Care Adoption Blog Tour

I am joining several other bloggers that have adopted through foster care or are in the process of adopting for a month-long blog tour. My turn on the tour is Friday, November 8. Don’t miss it!

You can enter to win a $60 Amazon gift card as a part of the blog tour. Look to the right of the page to find the sign up. By doing so, you will also be subscribing to receive my blog via email. Which is great! You won’t have to remember to come back here to read the new stories. It will conveniently be emailed straight to your inbox twice a week.

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We All Are Orphans

Those who know me or have read my book, Adopting the Father’s Heartknow that I struggle with how fostering and adoption fits with my desire to serve on the foreign mission field. Logistically it still baffles me a little.


Friend from Mercy Center Children's Shelter Thailand

Friend from Mercy Center Children’s Shelter Thailand


But, God is teaching me how the two originate from the same source. Any desire to reach out to others comes from a Father’s heart.

A book that I am reading now is Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father

Dan Cruver, author of most of the book, explains how we usually have a horizontal view of adoption. In other words, when I say adoption, you usually think of a family adopting an orphaned child. Dan contends that we have lost sight of the vertical aspect of adoption.

We all are orphans needing adoption by a Heavenly Father.

What does that have to do with serving on the foreign mission field or doing anything missional for that matter?

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