Does the world really need another blog? Probably not, but HALO is not in the business of knowing what the world needs. We are however 100% committed to deciphering, detecting and understanding what our hundreds of thousands of children in foster care need. That, my friends, is the HALO agenda. As the founders of HALO realized, there are two fundamental approaches to how to parent children in foster care. One approach, that sends the message of “you didn’t learn so I am going to teach you by assuming dominance over you and control over you so that you can be obedient” and the other that says “something terrible happened to you and you did not learn, so I am going to teach you by showing you I am trustworthy. I will show you trust by sharing power with you and coming along side you to help you as you struggle. ”HALO is committed to sending the latter message. We recognize that every precious child is a unique creation with tremendous value and worth and our world ON OUR WATCH let them down. HALO desires to come alongside them and show them the beauty that lies in the love one human can have for another. This is what they have never seen and it is IMPOSSIBLE to show this love through punishment, lectures and harsh consequences. Traditional discipline only works for children who have an established relationship of trust with their parent. Even now, after all we have seen, we would venture to say that the way in which we should parent our foster and adopt children is so exceptional to traditional discipline that those who understand it utilize it with their biological children as well.
So what is the BLOG for? The blog, is to share information so that you are no longer in the dark. So you can replace what you don’t know with something new, something BETTER, something so filled with love and grace that you feel good inside when you parent. A central theme with the parents and families that have completed the HALO program is, “Why doesn’t everybody have this information? ”In a few years they will. All the people who have access to the information are working tirelessly day and night to spread the word. This includes researchers, advocates, social workers, counselors, foundations, churches and most importantly the foster and adopt parents. These insults happened ON OUR WATCH and it is our responsibility to combat what has been done. We are doing it. You are doing it. Together, we can bring peace and healing and understanding to these children. We finally found a solution that works. No more describing the problem and spending hours and a multitude of resources trying to figure out what to do about it. We now KNOW what to do about it. The Institute of Child Development, led by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross, at Texas Christian University has spent the last 20 years researching the solution and THEY FOUND IT! Now they teach it. Many of you were able to attend the Empowered-to-Connect simulcast last month. Did you know this message of hope and healing went out to over 30,000 people? People are yearning for solutions because the foster and adopt families are in tremendous pain. They long to love their children but are so tired and so weary because nothing they seem to be doing is working.
HALO hosted the Empowered-to-Connect conference as well. We had 194 people register. Throughout the conference the HALO team kept telling me to tell the audience what HALO is and what HALO does. I was hesitant to tell everyone. I waited and waited and waited until I could wait no longer. At the last break of the conference, I shared the bare minimum of what we do. One of our HALO families graciously shared their life changing story. Then it happened, there was a line of people telling us their stories of heartache and pain and asking for help. The emails and calls followed. That night, I went home and wept. I wept because there are just so many and HALO does not have the infrastructure to help them all. Then I looked back over what HALO has accomplished over the last year and half. I remembered how far we have come and the number of families we have helped. I remember how Amy Gray, the McLaughlins and Jennifer Abney gave of their resources openly because they believed in our mission. I remember how Dr. Purvis and her team welcomed HALO with open arms. I remembered all the volunteer buddies who showed up every Monday night to love a child. I remembered all the voice mails and emails with messages of hope and I remember our clinical director, Brooke’s voice in my ear telling me to calm down and put one foot in front of the other. I remember the tears on the mother’s faces as they let go of their pain and guilt and I remember the “you want me to do what” faces of the dads who think we are telling them to let their kids get away with something. Most of all I remember the darkness in the eyes of a child with trauma being replaced by a shining light of joy. HALO is pure treasure because of all the people that make it so. Yes, there are too many, but our world is filled with treasure, people just waiting for us to walk through the door and show them what they can do. We have found these loving people and will be expanding from one HALO program to four in the coming months. This is just the beginning of our part in this story. We fall in line behind the visionaries at Empowered-to-Connect, Show Hope, and the Institute of Child Development. We are armed and ready to fight for the peace that our children and families deserve.
So, the purpose of the HALO blog will be to share information and encouragement for all the foster and adopt warriors out there. It will serve as a reminder to our HALO alumni families of what they already know and provide information to those starting this new parenting journey. We will inform you of learning opportunities and uplifting stories of healing. We desire to restore HOPE by focusing on all that is GOOD.From our team to yours, it is an honor and privilege to serve.
Cindy R. Lee
HALO Executive Director