“STUCK” – It’s More Than a Documentary. It’s a Love Story.

The award-winning documentary, “STUCK” will premiere tonight, April 15th, at Mountaintop Church at 7pm. The film’s executive producer, Craig Juntunen will be at Mountaintop along with the movie’s promotional tour bus that’s making a 60+ city tour of the country to promote the movie.

“STUCK” is more than a documentary. It’s a love story. “STUCK” seeks to promote the need for domestic and international adoption. Since 2004, adoptions in the United States have fallen more than 60%! The number of international adoptions continues to decline. “STUCK” seeks to bring awareness about the millions of orphans in the world and to gain signatures on a petition to President Obama to promote adoption. Every child deserves a safe, permanent, loving family. It’s more than a movie, it’s a movement.

If you cannot make it to the screening you can also purchase the documentary online! buy.stuckdocumentary.com

Posted Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 4:06 pm
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Adoption Tax Credit FAQ

Have Questions About the 2013 Adoption Tax Credit?

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 prevented the Adoption Tax Credit from expiring. The Adoption tax Credit is now a permanent tax credit available to families who adopt a child! This is a non-refundable tax credit and allows for the credit to scale up with inflation.

There are many complexities to this tax credit. The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group, which Villa Hope is a member of, has created a FAQs to assist answering some common questions. Click on the link below to access the document.

Adoption Tax Credit Working Group- FAQs

You can also find information on Joint Council’s Webpage and on Save the Adoption Tax Credit Website

Posted Monday, January 14th, 2013 at 4:59 pm
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Documentary: “Somewhere Between” Showing in Birmingham!

A Villa Hope family shared the information below with me. This is a great opportunity for adoptive families. I hope to see you there! Please help spread the word!

Anne Baldwin, LCSW
Executive Director
Villa Hope

A screening of the movie/documentary Somewhere Between is coming to Birmingham. The movie will be screened at the Rave in Vestavia on Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m.

If you haven’t heard of it, Somewhere Between is a documentary about China adoptees growing up and coming of age in U.S. families. From all the amazing things I’ve heard about it, it is a must-see for adoptive families.

You can see a trailer of the movie here:

To make this happen, a certain amount of tickets must be purchased by Nov. 6. So, if you’d like to come, please go ahead and order your tickets through the link: Tickets are $10

Posted Monday, October 15th, 2012 at 12:59 am
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Make Change for Children

Villa Hope is excited to announce that we are participating in Make Change for Children this year. The Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) Change for Children campaign brings awareness to the dilemmas of the world’s most vulnerable children, those without loving families. The program combines Halloween-related events, online social marketing, email marketing, online fundraising and door-to-door change collection to both raise funds and increase awareness of this issue.

Villa Hope and JCICS believe that children need more than simply to survive… more than food… more than clean water… more than education… they need the protection and love that only a family can provide.

We need YOUR help to Make Change for Children! You can join our team or make a pledge or donation on our team page!

Thanks in advance for continuing to help Villa Hope Make a Change for Children.

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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Birdies for Charity!

Villa Hope is excited to participate in Regions Charity Classic, Birdies for Charity fundraising program!

You have the opportunity to make Villa Hope a BIG winner by making a pledge of $0.02 or more per birdie or making a flat pledge of $15 or more. Villa Hope will receive every single penny of the donations generated on our behalf! Additionally, you have the chance to win great prizes when you pitch in to help us!

To create additional excitement, the Regions Tradition is giving you the chance to “Guess the Birdies” that will be made during the tournament by the Champions Tour Players! The donors who guess the correct amount of birdies are entered into a drawing to win the “Stay & Play Package” at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL! It is expected that around 900 birdies are going to be made based on past tournaments. There will also be weekly participation surprises every Friday for all donors with great prizes such as restaurant gift certificates, tickets to local sporting events, and even a $1,000 gift certificate to Diamonds Direct!

Why is your pledge important? The top ten organizations that raise the most money will receive additional funds from the Regions Tradition thanks to “Bonus Bucks” Sponsor, Red Diamond. The top 10 charities get “Bonus Bucks” with the top charity receiving $10,000 from the Regions Tradition.

Help us make that goal by pledging here –Birdies for Charity

Regions Tradition 2012

Posted Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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Connecting with Your Adopted Child

Empowerment is at the core of building healthy self-esteem in a child. According to TBRI, empowering principles focus on a child’s ecology and physiology. This is to say that empowerment of a child is directly related to the child’s feelings of safety within their environment and the balance of the child’s biological needs. Because adoptive children have often known their environment to be unstable, they tend to exhibit hypervigilant behavior. Hypervigilant behavior can be recognized when the child is consistently suspicious of the environment and remains alert to the changes therein. The child lives in constant distrust of the environment and is therefore constantly on the defense for whatever may seem threatening. The authors suggest that this child desires felt safety, which grows out of empowerment and entails a safe environment where a child is free to learn and grow. Another component of a child’s environment should include predictability to alleviate a child’s anxiety over what is coming next in their schedule. When the environment is predictable, the child is less guarded as he or she comes to expect and trust their schedule. An example of predictability would be establishing a bedtime routine. Transitions within the day should also be given special attention. Give a child “notice” of when the environment will be changing, so that the child can mentally prepare for the change. For example, if dinner is going to be ready in ten minutes, let the child know that they will be expected at the dinner table in ten minutes. This avoids anxiety over sudden changes in the child’s environment and establishes trust with the child.

The social and emotional health of a child is directly connected to their physical needs. Thus, it is also important to maintain a delicate balance of the child’s physiological demands. Children that have experienced a troubled infancy or have difficulty with attachment are often sensitive to the same sensations that are typical of an infant. Parents of children that have been harmed may implement safe touch, which includes asking the child permission before touching them, ensuring that the child is aware that they are going to be touched, making sure that the touch is friendly, and that the child does not feel trapped by the touch. Children are also calmed by “stereotypic” movement, which is repetitive movement, such as walking or bouncing on a trampoline. Repetitive movements make the child feel safe as they are stable and uninterrupted and allow the child an outlet to stress. Another area of concern should be hydration, which is particularly crucial to children who were exposed to alcohol in utero or have lacked attentive caregiving in the past. Nutrition is also important. The child may experience less mood swings and a more enhanced learning ability if their blood sugar is regulated by a balance between complex carbohydrates and protein. Food and drinks with high sugar content, caffeine, and that have been exposed to pesticides should be avoided.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of parenting is when the relationship feels completely open to being nurtured and the parent and child truly connect to deepen their relationship. Every parent has an idea or a memory of what emotional connection looks like. In TBRI, connecting principles focus on the relational needs of the child, which the authors suggest are dependent on awareness and engagement. Unfortunately, the child that has been adopted internationally often has to conquer some type of childhood trauma. This may be simply due to feelings of abandonment or cultural and social differences or could go as far as severe malnutrition, neglect, or physical and sexual abuse. Two of the most common responses to trauma are dissociation and hyperarousal. With dissociation, the child tries to maintain an emotional distance during activities in an effort, either conscious or subconscious, to aid past or avoid future emotional pain. Hyperactivity, hypervigilance, or sometimes even aggressive or abrasive behavior is characteristic of hyperarousal. Awareness and engagement address these responses while still encouraging the parent to remain understanding to them and enabling the child to feel safe.

Being aware involves observing the child’s anxiety level, voice intensity, and facial expression, while the parent maintains self-awareness. It is also important to recognize behavior or for the parent to ask themselves questions such as, “What is the child really saying?” or “What does the child really need?” When a child is reacting to emotional pain or avoiding a parent’s attempts to nurture them, they are doing just that, they are reacting not responding. A reaction is impulsive and often defensive. The child may say something cruel or become emotionally distant to the parent. A response is more mature and thoughtful. When a child responds to a nurturing stimulus as opposed to reacting to it, they are demonstrating that they were prepared to receive that nurturance. A child may also avoid eye contact. This can be changed by playfully moving your head into the child’s span of vision or praising the child when eye contact occurs. Match the child’s voice inflection and behaviors. An example would be to whisper if the child is whispering or to try kneeling to match the child’s eye level when talking to them. Matching is a form of engagement. This makes the parent more relatable to the child and is at the center of the attachment process in early childhood. Infants match their parent’s vocalizations and sleep cycles. The authors also suggest to encourage process, which is to help the child identify their feelings and needs. Feelings are more powerful and frustrating when they are confusing. Simply helping the child name and describe their feelings can make them less confusing.

The last of the principles that the authors include is the correcting principle, which is usually the least fun to apply for both parents and children. First and foremost, it is important to maintain structure but not at the expense of nurture. The key in TBRI is to maintain a balance between the two. When correcting, there are both proactive and redirective strategies. When the child misbehaves, the behavior should receive the minimum response to change the behavior; and once the behavior is changed, there is an immediate return to playful interaction between the parent and child. One proactive strategy is emotional regulation. An example of encouraging emotional regulation would be to ask the child to “stop and breathe” in order to redirect the child’s attention away from the problem behavior. It is also important to encourage the positive behaviors of the child. The authors also stress the use of life value terms, such as “showing respect” or “accepting no”. In “showing respect” the child is asked to change a disrespectful statement by trying again with respect and is then praised for showing respect. A child should be praised for “accepting no” when the child’s wishes are declined and they are still compliant with the parent’s wishes.

An equal part of correcting is using redirective strategies. It is important to give the child choices with discipline. Suggest to the child that they have two choices and then give them the opportunity to choose from two different forms of discipline that are relative to the misbehavior. Give the child a chance to redo the behavior appropriately. Avoid protecting the child from natural consequences as this inhibits the child from learning what good or bad things happen from their choices. The voice of the parent is also important. It should be more intense when disciplining, a little louder, lower in intonation, slower, and delivered close to the child. The authors cite that children with a history of abuse or neglect function predominantly from the “primitive” brain stem. Research suggests that 90% of all communication is nonverbal, but children that are at risk tend to process 99% of all communication as nonverbal. It is helpful to encourage the child to complete tasks by redirecting the child’s attention back to the task when they are asked to do something.

It is true that with all human beings, the past continues to affect the present. This can be seen in the behaviors of adopted children with a history of maltreatment. The principles presented by Trust-Based Relational Intervention include empowering, connecting, and correcting. These principles may serve as an insight into breaking the cycle of attachment and behavior problems and contribute to the more overarching goal of emotionally connecting the parent and the child.

Posted Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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Chinese Friendship Partner

Many families adopted a child from China want their child to maintain Chinese culture. I think the best way is trough people. I have an idea of matching an adoptive family with a local Chinese family as “Friendship Partner”. They can regularly visit each other, or hang out together, so the child will have more chances to know about Chinese culture. If you are interested in having a Chinese “Friendship Partner”, please feel free to contact me.

Anni Zheng
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Honors in Nursing
Email: anzheng@uab.edu

Posted Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 11:43 am
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Mobile/Baldwin County – Adoption Social Worker

Licensed Social Worker Needed in Mobile/Baldwin County

Villa Hope is seeking a licensed social worker in the Mobile or Baldwin County area to complete home study assessments and post adoption assessments for both international and domestic adoptions. This is a part time position (PRN). Experience in adoption or child welfare is preferred. Applicants must be willing to travel to surrounding counties. For additional information or to submit a resume please contact Anne Baldwin, LGSW, Executive Director at abaldwin@villahope.org
abaldwin@villahope.org or 866.261.7359.

Posted Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 11:36 am
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CCAA Announces Single Women May Adopt!

CCAA Notice Regarding Eligibility of Sinle Applicants

Villa Hope has received notice from the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) that single women may apply to adopt special focus children listed on the Special Needs System of CCAA.  One applicant may adopt one special focus child at a time, with an interval of at least one year between two adoptions.

Single women wishing to apply must meet the following criteria

  • Applicant should be at least 30 years old and under 50 years old. Applicant’s over 50, the age difference between the child to be adopted and the applicant shall be no more than 45 years.
  • Unmarried applicants shall provide certification for being single and non-homosexual; divorced applicants shall provide the divorce certificate of the last marriage; and widowed applicants shall provide the death certificate of their ex-spouse.
  • Applicants must meet the same physical and mental requirements set forth by CCAA for married couples
  • Applicants must be law abiding with no criminal record and have good moral quality and conduct
  • The family annual income shall reach $10,000 per family member, including the prospective adoptee and the family net assets value should reach $100,000.
  • Applicants must have adequate medical insurance which can cover the medical expenses of the adopted child.
  • Applicants shall be experience in child caring or be occupied in child-related fields, such as doctor, nurse, teach, child psychologist etc.  It’s best that the applicant has experience caring for a child with special needs.
  • There can be no more than two children in the applicant’s family under the age of 18.  The youngest child should have reached the age of 6.
  • Single women who are co-habitating with a male partner are eligible, the requirements set forth by CCAA for prospective adoptive couples will be applied.
Posted Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 8:55 pm
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Birdies for Charity!

Dear Villa Hope Friends & Family;

Charity begins on the golf course at the Regions Tradition. You have the opportunity to make Villa Hope big winner by participating in the Birdies for Charity program. We will receive every single penny of the donations generated on our behalf! Additionally, you have a chance to win great prizes when you pitch in to help us! Simply make a pledge of $0.02 or more per birdie or make a flat pledge of $15 or more.

To create additional excitement, the Regions Tradition is giving you the chance to win weekly prizes from sponsors such as: McCormick & Schmicks, P.F. Chang’s and Jim ‘N Nicks to name a few. Additionally every donor will have a chance to “Guess the Birdies” that will be made during the tournament by the Champions Tour Players! The donors who guess the correct amount of birdies are entered into a drawing to win the “Stay & Play Package” at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL! It is expected that around 800 birdies are going to be made based on past tournaments. There will also be weekly give-a-ways every Friday for all donors with great prizes such as restaurant gift certificates, tickets to local sporting events, and even a $1,000 gift certificate to Diamonds Direct!

Help us become one of the top ten charities for 2011! – https://events.r2it.com/birdies/r.aspx?site=regionstradition&charity=VillaHope.

Thanks in advance for your support,
Anne Baldwin, LGSW
Executive Director
Villa Hope

Posted Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 12:41 am
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