Workshops

1. Help when adoption has apparently failed

We pursued this wonderful dream – adoption. We had so many ideas of how we would be as parents. How we would lead our children through life and how wonderful it would be … but everything is different! Nothing we tried has worked. We are so disappointed. We feel like screaming: ”Stop the bus! I want to get off!”. In this workshop, we will openly speak about the expectations and realistic approaches when the relationship with the adopted child seems so different than what we imagined.

(Alex Ilie – Executive Director for ARFO, father of four adopted children; Corina Caba – Founder and Director of the Casa Speranței Foundation in Oradea, mother of four adopted children)

2. Developing secured attachment in abandoned children

Lately, many studies have shown that a successful relationship between spouses depends on the quality of attachment to parents during childhood. The following question is raised – if the childhood attachment is so vital in furthering adult relationships, what are the most important factors that develop it? A few responses: unconditional acceptance from vital people, trust and safety. In this workshop, we will try to understand the role of those factors in developing a healthy attachment in abandoned children.

(Annamaria Balla – Ph.D. University Psychology Professor)

3. The professional supervising of Social Services staff

The professional supervision is based on reflexive critique and promotes the evaluation and development of personal and professional competences, including how well we perform our job. Through supervision, the person being supervised will develop self-criticism concerning themselves and their professional activity through reports on the objectives framework of the values, knowledge and practice within management and intervention in social assistance.

(Ana Rădulescu – PhD University Professor at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, University of Bucharest, General Director at the Romanian Social Care Assistants Association)

4. Adoption seen through the eyes of the adopted child – or what adopted children would like their parents to know, but don’t know how to tell them

Are you an adoptive or foster parent who desperately wants to know your child and connect to them? Here you will hear directly from somebody who was adopted about what your children would like to tell you, but doesn’t know how share. This workshop will help parents understand the wounds of rejection suffered by the adopted or foster children. Also, you will understand better the feelings and big questions they have, many of them unspoken. We will also talk about the role of the parents and how they can lead the children through healing.

(Julianna Citiriga – adopted child, social assistant for Asociația “Un nou început”)

5. The Journey toward Emotional and Spiritual Health

Research and common knowledge both suggest that the most influential relationship in a child’s life is with his or her parent or caregiver. A strong parent-child relationship can limit the effects of trauma, increase a child’s confidence and independence, and empower a child to explore life from a safe base. However, working with or caring for a child full-time with a traumatic history can come at great costs to the worker, parent or caregiver if that adult is not in a good place emotionally and spiritually himself. During this time together we will explore the dynamic connection of emotional and spiritual health. We will discuss what the journey of becoming both emotionally and spiritually healthy looks and how to grow in that journey. Participants will leave the workshop with deeper insight and tools to use to evaluate their own emotional and spiritual health. This is intended for all three levels of participants.

(David Schooler – Th.D. in pastoral counseling, counselor and pastoral care for Back2Back Ministries)

6. Family Nurture Groups: Creating a Healing Environment for Vulnerable Children

The family is the best place to create a fun, playful healing environment for children. Nurture groups, formed from the Trust Based Relational Intervention program is a meaningful, structure play therapy group is the tool that will help parents do just that. This workshop will provide participants with the foundation behind nurture groups, provide sample lessons and offer a full and fun day of practice.

(Jayne Schooler – is a national and international trainer in the field of trauma, adoption and foster care. She serves in a full-time capacity as Child Development Specialist with Back2Back)

7. Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child

When should a child be told he is adopted? How much of his past should I tell him? What about the really hard stuff, does he really need to know? These questions and more will be answered in this interactive workshop on talking to your child about his past. It is grounded in a simple biblical phrase: The truth shall make you free.

(David & Jayne Schooler – are recognized nationally and internationally as speakers/trainers in the field of trauma, adoption and foster care)

8. Building a Teen’s Capacity for Relationship: The Ongoing Impact of Trauma and Loss

Parenting adolescents with a history of trauma can be a challenging task. This workshop emphasizes the importance of understanding the impact of trauma on a teen’s development; understanding different types of defensive detachment developing empathy and understanding in managing a teen’s emotional and behavioral issues. Participants will identify at least 4 tools and strategies to improve the quality of their relationships with children who have a history of trauma.

(Julie Cooper – international partnership manager Back2Back Ministries, David Schooler – Th.D. in pastoral counseling, counselor and pastoral care for Back2Back Ministries)

9. Impact of Adoption and Foster Care on Birth and Permanent Children

Bringing a child into the adoptive or foster home impacts not only the parents, but the biological and other permanent children as well. Due to the stress and challenges of integrating a child into the family, the needs of the biological children can be inadvertently overlooked. This workshop address five major impacts parents need to know about when adding children to their family. It will offer strategies to help families meet the emotional needs of all within the home.

(Jayne Schooler – is a national and international trainer in the field of trauma, adoption and foster care. She serves in a full-time capacity as Child Development Specialist with Back2Back)

10. Duminica Orfanului – Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday is an opportunity for Christians all over the world to remind themselves that God is very concerned for children who are lacking parental love. It is observed worldwide every November. In the last 4 years, ARFO has promoted Orphan Sunday to encourage and help local churches to develop efficient ways to help at-risk children. This workshop will discuss real, concrete ways in which the church can be involved in caring for at-risk kids. Orphan Sunday is your chance to challenge your church, your community, and your friends to God’s call to care for orphans.

(Adrian Stanciu – pastor, founder of ARFO)

11. The Romanian 1:27 Network

ARFO encourages pastors and leaders to create a network of local churches that inspire adoption and foster placement in Christian families. We offer education about adoption or foster placement, parenting classes, training for caring for kids with a history of trauma, and the role of the church in supporting adoptive families. Also, we connect local churches with Non-Profits accredited for social services for at-risk children to offer counseling and help for adoptive and foster families. Basically, ARFO, through the Romania 1:27 Network, offers a framework, assistence, a global network, and the tools needed to make the adoption/foster process successful. This workshop will discuss the creation of the local networks of churches and Non-Profits and the benefits of a partnership for caring for at-risk kids.

(Adrian Stanciu – pastor, founder of ARFO)

12. The Role of Massage and Nutrition in Healing Children from Trauma

There are inner wounds of a child you cannot readily see that are the result of abandonment, emotional, or physical abuse. A long term commitment to loving touch and therapeutic massage with focused nutritional help can have intense healing benefits and fulfills the most basic needs of the child to feel safe, comfortable, and loved. Only then can the child heal, develop properly and thrive, fulfilling the dream of wholeness and connection.

(Janet Feavel – a Certified Massage Therapist, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, has completed professional studies in holistic nutrition, therapeutic touch/massage and applies aspects of trauma touch therapy)

13. The Role of Massage in Healing Children from Trauma. Advanced Class

Raising traumatized children takes increasingly deeper knowledge of the effects of trauma and learning how to individualize the touch to meet the special needs of each changing stage or specific diagnoses.

(Janet Feavel – a Certified Massage Therapist, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, has completed professional studies in holistic nutrition, therapeutic touch/massage and applies aspects of trauma touch therapy)

14. Practical Massage Therapy Of Child

A parent/caregiver can gain confidence and deeper understanding on how to connect with their child through massage by practicing, both giving and receiving and experiencing the benefit of good touch personally in class.

(Janet Feavel – a Certified Massage Therapist, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, has completed professional studies in holistic nutrition, therapeutic touch/massage and applies aspects of trauma touch therapy)

15. Identification and therapy of the physically or/and sexually abused children

In an ideal world, children should be protected from physical and sexual abuse. But the sad reality is that out of five children, one has experienced at least one physical/sexual/ cruel/inappropriate treatment. The major issue is that only 1% of such cases are discovered in time for safety and healing measures to be taken. The faster the abuse is discovered, the faster and deeper the healing process occurs.

(Annamaria Balla – Ph.D. University Psychology Professor)

16. The secondary traumatic stress, burnout and self-care

The subject will be addressed from different perspectives; the reasons we tend to neglect self, psycho-emotional care, differences and similarities between the secondary traumatic stress and burnout, signs of secondary traumatic stress and factors contributing to all of these, warning signs and restoration strategies, and strategies and self-care methods.

(Alexandru Ilie, psychologist – ARFO Executive Director)

17. Discipline for children who have suffered trauma

This workshop will discuss the important challenges of shaping the behavior of children or adolescents with a history of trauma. Although we have a tendency to try to change their behavior quickly, this workshop will argue for bringing change in a more profound way, focusing on an internal transformation, which results in a change in behavior. Raising children and adolescents who have suffered trauma isn’t something that can be done quickly, but is rather like a marathon, full of care and love.

(Corina Caba – Founder and Director of the Casa Speranței Foundation in Oradea, mother of four adopted children)

18. Strategies for integrating different parts of the brain

We all want to have children that are balanced emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We will try to understand how our children’s brains work and what strategies we can use to help them develop in a healthy and harmonious way.

(Alina Muntean – Psychologist)

19. The Role of heredity and environment in the development of children

Do heredity or the environment have a major role in the development of children? For many years, these two factors have been placed in opposing roles: either heredity or environment. Now a holistic approach is encouraged in which both heredity and environment have important roles in development, since there is such a dynamic relationship between the two.

(Annamaria Balla – Ph.D. University Psychology Professor)

20. Adoption Loss and Grief

What happens when adoption fails? How do you deal with the grief of losing the child you called your own? While adoption loss and the death of a child are not the same, there are many similarities. This seminar will focus on how to recover from the effects of a failed adoption and the grief that accompanies it.

(Christian and Marie Burtt – not-yet adoptive parents)

21. Cycle of Rage

Tantrums feel like they come from nowhere, but they don’t. They feel like they come from nowhere because we are naturally lazy and don’t deal with behavior until we cannot ignore it any longer. There are 7 stages present in most tantrums. During this workshop we will give definition and context for parents to understand tantrums; encourage the adults to be patient and hardworking in this domain; learn the signs of a coming tantrum and stop it before it starts; see how a child have less tantrums: the more tantrums a child has, the more likely they will continue to have tantrums – physically and emotionally.

(David Lee – president of ”Asociația Umanitară Un Nou Început” in Brașov; currently is writing a Master’s dissertation on adoptive families)

22. Developing self-control in children

The most influential thing the parent can do is be self-disciplined themselves! The example they set speaks louder than any words. Discipline is developed by overcoming adversity. There are no shortcuts. Parents see discipline as a wide subject encompassing all of their life (it’s not about punishment, it is much more). During this workshop we will help parents set goals (ex. goal – your child becomes a responsible adult) and to see past the current power struggles (it’s not about them controlling the child, it’s about the child controlling themselves). The child needs the security of a strong parent. They need the opportunity to be a child, and not on their own.

(David Lee – president of ”Asociația Umanitară Un Nou Început” in Brașov; currently is writing a Master’s dissertation on adoptive families)