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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease has come to visit our house this week so I’ve been under a rock taking care of a very miserable little one. I’m sorry I’m so late in announcing our big giveaway winner — but better late than never, right?

Congratulations to Charisa K!!! There are a couple things I love about the fact that Charisa won. First, she’s one of my closest and in real life adoption friends. We live about 30-40 minutes away from each other and just last month shared a yummy dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant with a group of friends and our little ones. Charisa has two little ones from Ethiopia and is a huge orphan care advocate, supporter to other adoptive and foster parents, and just an all around great friend. Second, she is already registered to attend the Empowered to Connect Conference but she entered the giveaway so that she could gift the tickets to a friend who is a foster parent. So sweet!!

For those of you who entered and didn’t win – be on the lookout for an email from me! Show Hope is giving you a special discount code and it’s HUGE!!!!

Now I’m off to snuggle the sickie and hope that this dreadful virus leaves our home soon!

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I have taken quite the hiatus from blogging this summer but am ending my break with quite a bang (at least I think so!) Let me give you a bit of background before I get into the amazing package I have to give you!

Six years ago twin boys landed on our doorstep, curtesy of social services. We had signed up to be foster parents just two months earlier. After a fairly simple home study, a bit of paperwork, background checks, and one class about SIDS we were approved. We were totally uninformed, uneducated (in this area), and unprepared. But they gave us the boys anyway and we started our first parenting journey. We look back to those months with the twins often. Let’s be honest, I think about them almost every single day. But when we talk about that season of our lives and the experience of being foster parents we continually say the same thing… “If we’d known then what we know now we would have done it differently.” Our time with the twins was wonderful but HARD. There were days I was shocked by how hard it was. I’m not talking about typical parenting hard, I’m talking about a whole other level. But we loved them, and I continue to go back to that when I wish I’d done things differently… that we loved them well and did the best we knew to do.

When we started the adoption process a couple years later it was a whole other ball game. Our agency wasn’t going to let us do this with just a home study and a background check. We had to put in a lot of work educating ourselves. Hours of classes (with tests at the end of each one), stacks of books to read, and a huge workbook to complete and turn in to be reviewed by someone at the agency. It was intense. But now that we’re home and in the thick of it we are so incredibly grateful that we were required to complete all that training. It’s made a huge difference in our home and helped us understand our children and how to respond to their needs in ways we couldn’t have come up with on our own. It’s meant more peace, more grace, more compassion, more connection, and more joy.

My favorite resource out of all the training we received is The Connected Child by Karen Purvis and the Empowered to Connect videos found on their website. I am so grateful to the ETC team for all the information they make available to adoptive and foster parents. I have had the great joy of getting to know Amy Monroe fairly well because she comes every year to serve at Created for Care. She’s a wealth of knowledge and gracefully puts up with my incessant questions. I cannot recommend them enough and now I have the great opportunity to attend one of their national conferences with my husband this fall in Washington DC. And so do you!!!

Show Hope partners with Empowered to Connect to put on these conferences and they are graciously giving away a registration for you and a friend (or spouse) to their conference in Washington DC this September!!! This is by far the best giveaway I’ve ever had on this blog! And that’s not all! The winner will also receive a copy of Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, a Show Hope wrap bracelet in the color of your choice, and a family rocks tee in the size of your choice (infant up through adult sizes). That is quite the package!!! Let’s recap:

Registration for two for the September conference in DC

a copy of Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Show Hope Wrap Bracelet (choose your color)

Family Rocks tee in your size choice

To enter simply leave a comment sharing why you’d like to to attend the conference. Then you can get all kinds of extra points for sharing the giveaway!! Enter below in the rafflecopter gadget… I’ll announce the winner next Monday! You can learn more specifics about the conference here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Jillyan nance - This would be a blessing to win. My husband and I are always finding ways to become connected in our journey as parents. Unlike some agencies we had no parenting training and with our little one so young what better way to start learning.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Hunt - My hubby and I really want to learn some more strategies to connecting and parenting our kids.ReplyCancel

  • Laurel - I am an adoptive mom to two boys. I have wanted to attend empowered to connect for years! I’m always trying to learn more about what my kids need and how I can give it to them.ReplyCancel

  • Janell - We are bringing home a 6 year old boy this summer. I know that by September I’ll probably need a bit of support and advice as we work along the path to becoming a family. What a great give away!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - I was sooo thankful to have the chance to hear Dr. Karyn Purvis speak in Pennsylvania in April, but my husband was unable to go with me. I’d love the chance for us to learn together about more effective ways to relate and parent our children through adoption!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Alexander - I read ETC a few years ago but this spring we really got serious about applying the video and book teachings of Dr. Purvis to our interactions with our children. I would love to take the next step and hear some new things to put in our arsenal for healthy connection!!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - What a great opportunity! I’ve always wanted to attend… I’ve gone to c4c reach year, but it would be amazing to be able to attend with my husband!ReplyCancel

  • beth - i wish dr. purvis was my mom :) but learning from her has helped me as a parent! it would be great to go to this conference!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Grimes - I would love to win because my husband and I just got licensed to foster/adopt!! We are excited to see how God uses us in the lives of the kids that will come to our home. Right now we are praying about bringing a sibling group of four to our home. We currently have one son who is four years old & the kids are all six and under. Praying, praying, praying!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Mumford - I’ve never been to an adoption conference…we’re adopting from Ethiopia!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Bucher - As my husband & I pray over the little one from Ethiopia God has ordained to be part of our family, we are trying to use the lengthy waiting period to educate ourselves on raising a child that has already experienced so much heartache at at such a young age. “The Connected Child” has been my favorite book thus far & I would love to learn more from an Empowered to Connect conference. Raising children up in the Lord is such a weighty job, yet such a joy amidst the challenges. I want to do everything in my power to make wise parenting decisions & have the tools to be able to meet my children’s specific needs.ReplyCancel

  • Andi Heath - What a blessing this would be! My daughters and I are interested in getting involved with Safe Families for Children and this training seems like it would be essential to being able to care effectively for hurting children.ReplyCancel

  • Wanda Owen - As an adoptive mom of four children with the last one heading to college, I would love to get this great package to share with a couple I know who are hoping to adopt in the future; my oldest daughter and son-in-law. Last week she went into Chipotle, where her younger sister just began working. She proudly told the cashier she was her sister. The cashier said “are you her real sister? You don’t look anything alike.” She proudly said “Yes I am her REAL sister, but we are adopted.” No words could have made this momma happier. I will keep the t-shirt though! :) ReplyCancel

  • Aime - We have 6 kiddos and our younger 2 are adopted from Ethiopia. We would really love to attend the conference to continue learning how to be the parents who meet the unqie needs of our younger 2 as well as spend time as a couple focusing on our marriage and family with all the changes in the last 4 years. Really have been wanting to get to E2C and C4C…crossing my fingers all falls in place for that to happen this year.ReplyCancel

  • Aime - We have 6 kiddos and our younger 2 are adopted from Ethiopia. We would really love to attend the conference to continue learning how to be the parents who meet the unqie needs of our younger 2 as well as spend time as a couple focusing on our marriage and family with all the changes in the last 4 years. Really have been wanting to get to E2C and C4C…crossing my fingers all falls in place for that to happen this year.ReplyCancel

  • Allison H. - My husband and I hope to have our dossier submitted by this fall (just sent in our 1-600A form last week) and for us to be able to go together would be so encouraging for us in the wait!ReplyCancel

  • Robert Gentry - My wife and I just began the process of adopting from Uganda. This is something that God birthed in us 3 years ago and is finally coming to fruition. We are pumped and would love to go to a conference that will encourage and educate us!ReplyCancel

  • Susie Sanders - I am in the process of adopting and would love to go and learn!ReplyCancel

  • Randee - We have adopted once already and are working on a second. This conference would be a huge help in our training!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Kochon - Love Dr Purvis! So many families enter into the adoption journey unprepared to parent these children…. Thinking they already know how to be a mom and dad! We live helping families realize there is much to learn, strategies that help, and how to balance nurture and structure in parenting kids from hard places. Thanks for promoting this!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Great idea, Lauren! We miss you guys!! I’d like to win tickets to go to the conference because maybe, just maybe, iivo would take that as some sort of sign and get serious about a home study! ;) ReplyCancel

  • Catherine S - My husband and I are starting the adoption process later this year and this conference would be a huge help and encouragement!ReplyCancel

  • Leah - We adoptive parents to one little sweetie and plan to continue adding to our family through adoption. The opportunity to attend the conference and absorb all of Dr. Purvis’ wealth of info would be wonderful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Dianna Kramel - We are just a few weeks short of having our son home a year from Ethiopia. It has been an amazing time for all three of us yet we we know there will be times ahead that we need to be prepared for when it comes to hard places. This conference would be a great opportunity for us to better ourselves for the road ahead and all that is in store for us.ReplyCancel

  • Charisa Knight - Hoping to win for a sweet friend who is a foster parent. :) ReplyCancel

  • Shannon @ Dinglefest - Love this amazing giveaway! We’ve adopted four children, most with special needs, in the past two years, and this would be wonderful for me and my husband.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - It would be such a blessing to be able to attend the conference and learn more about how to meet the needs of our little ones from hard places.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - Love! Been wanting to attend empowered to connect for years!ReplyCancel