Tag: Diakon adoption & foster care

Staff members of Diakon Ministry Support based in Middletown, Pennsylvania purchased gifts to give children served in  Diakon Adoption & Foster Care programs.

Love delivered!

Five or so years ago, during the Advent season, I was driving on an interstate when I approached a large flat-bed truck.

It was the type of truck that typically transports large pieces of road equipment or sections of a bridge.

As I approached the truck in the passing lane, I assumed it was empty, but as I continued to overtake it, I could see it was carrying something small but wasn’t able to make out what that cargo was until I was side-by-side with the truck.

There, strapped tightly down on that long truck bed, was a single item: A Radio Flyer wagon.

While I was never able to see the face of the truck driver, I could easily imagine the rest of the story: A precious gift was on its way to brighten the life of a young child at that moment missing a working parent.

wagons-4

Love delivered!

I recall that image when I think of all of Diakon’s staff members going about their work throughout the year—but, especially, now during this season. There are so many people involved in helping senior living residents, hurting families, children and youths and so many more.

Diakon is not unlike that large truck—a big, sometimes complex organization that always is focused on delivery of the small, precious cargo of a “red wagon”—acts of service given one at a time … custom-designed for each of God’s children we serve.

Love delivered!

The Rev. Mark Wimmer, MBA
Vice President for Church Relations
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

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Humble and kind

Whenever the Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind” plays on the radio, I can feel our 8-year-old roll his eyes as I remind him that these lyrics are something I hope he takes to heart:

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you / When you get where you’re going, don’t forget to turn back around / And help the next one in line. / Always stay humble and kind.”

It’s important to us that Cayden understands that we have been incredibly blessed to have had so many people help us in our journey to become a family.

•    There were the dedicated, caring social workers who made sure to keep checking on his welfare the first year of his life. These people work tirelessly to try to help birthparents successfully parent and then do the difficult work to place the children with foster parents, if necessary, who will make sure these vulnerable children are safe and healthy.

Stepping back in time—and finding new connections

I traveled into the past this morning.

Figuratively, of course.

We are working on a video to be shown during Diakon’s 150th anniversary celebration next year.

The script I wrote includes scenes of the Rev. Philip Willard—essentially the founder of Lutheran Church operation of what would become the Tressler Orphans Home in Loysville, Pennsylvania—coming to the small Perry County hamlet and meeting with the Tressler family. For ease of filming and availability of horse and carriage, those scenes were shot just outside Gettysburg on two other dates.

Today, we were permitted onto the grounds of the former Tressler home, sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s for use as a youth development center, to film exteriors of some of the historic buildings.

A fun way to give back…Dining with Diakon

Jill Kearney, founder and CEO of Senior Moves by Design (a division of the JDK Group, LLC), shares her views on the upcoming Dining with Diakon* event. Senior Moves by Design is a company that primarily moves older adults into senior living communities, helping them to find “treasures” and design their new home around things they love. The company also helps them to sort through their current home so items can be given to family or donated. Further, they stage houses to sell and do a full pack and unpack on moving day.

*On Sept. 28, 12 “celebrity chefs” from business, industry, and non-profit organizations will gather at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks. Offering an enticing menu of dishes and desserts, the chefs raise funds for Diakon Adoption & Foster Care, which serves children and families throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania.

Foster-To-Adopt: God Knew My Heart Needed You

In this post, Lydia Carfagno, an adoptive parent, shares her difficult two-year journey that led to one of the greatest joys of her life—motherhood. She adopted her now-4-year-old son, Trevor, through Diakon Adoption & Foster Care’s legal-risk (foster-to-adopt) program. Legal-risk placements involve children and youths who are in the custody of a county’s children and youth services. Children are placed in foster homes with the intent of reuniting them with their birth families; however, if that does not occur, the foster family often seeks to adopt the child or youth.

Why Foster-To-Adopt?

As I was growing up, my mother worked and volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center. As a small child, I witnessed my mother counseling women and providing them with the necessary resources to maintain their pregnancy. When I was young, I would tell my mother that I wanted to grow up and take care of babies that did not have mommies and open my own orphanage. I remember frequently checking our front door to see if someone left me a baby to care for!

Fast forward: I grew up and obtained a college degree in recreational therapy. As a therapist, I worked in various pediatric hospitals. Throughout my work experience, I witnessed firsthand many children suffering from neglect, abuse and trauma. Each of these children made my desire to adopt grow even stronger; however I knew I was not currently in the position to do that.

Upon marrying, adoption was something we always said we would do “one day.” We struggled to get pregnant and even experienced a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. The topic of adoption that was once on the back burner quickly became a burning desire in my heart.

It was something I believed had to happen immediately. Because of my experience in the health-care field, I was aware of “foster-to-adopt” type programs and I quickly began researching agencies.

GOTR(1)

Going the extra mile

This blog shares the story of how Diakon Adoption & Foster Care staff members went the extra mile to help adoptees participate in Girls on the Run®, a non-profit program that inspires girls to recognize their inner strengths and celebrate what makes them unique.

As an affiliate council of Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries, Girls on the Run – Lehigh Valley delivers sessions involving 10 weeks of dynamic discussions, activities and running games for girls in third through fifth grades, with each season concluding with a celebratory 5K event, completed by participants and “running buddies.”

JoAnn Carter, mother of two adoptive girls (Daysia 11, Jada 9)

My interest in Girls on the Run began when my girls brought home a flyer from Parkway Manor elementary school announcing the program. I thought it would get them off the couch and give them a well-rounded opportunity that teaches them confidence. I also thought it would be great to have the girls be part of a running team.