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TENNESSEE CONFERENCE REVIEW

an edition of
The United Methodist Reporter
Volume 154 Number 42 054000 February 22, 2008 Four Sections—Section A

Eliza Mae—An Adoptive Parents’ Story


As I sit down to try and put into words how the mira- other forms required for an international adoption, our
cle of adoption has touched our family, I wonder where paperwork was submitted to Vietnam and the long wait
to begin. My seven month old daughter, Eliza Mae, is began.
rolling around on the floor at this moment, babbling There were days, weeks, and months when it felt like
incessantly and pulling at her little toes. She has a head the phone call would never arrive. I have thought many
full of dark hair, and her giggles are contagious. Though times about this wait. I so wanted to get to the end of it
she has been in our arms just over three months now, she and not look back with regret. I wanted God to find me
was in our hearts before she was even conceived in her faithful in the waiting, and not constantly impatient.
birth mother’s womb in Vietnam. There were times of failure in this area, for sure, but I
My husband and I were married in May of 2002, and never lost faith in the belief that He was in control. For
we had our first child in December of 2004. When he every tear that I cried waiting and praying for Eliza to get
was around seven months old, we decided to try and here, I was never able to escape a deep-down knowing
become pregnant again. However, it wasn’t long until that He had already foreseen every detail of the “time-
Bishop Wills relates to adopted children who were part of thoughts of adoption began rattling around in our minds. line” of her life (*Psalm 139).
the Miriam’s Promise report to the 2007 Tennessee Each family comes to its decision to adopt in a differ- Finally, on September 27th, 2007, our agency called
Annual Conference ent way. For some, it follows on the painful heels of to tell us that our daughter was waiting for us in the Nam
infertility. Others make the choice to fulfill a lifelong Dinh Province of northern Vietnam. One month later we
Meet Miriam’s Promise dream. And, for other families, including ours, it is an act
of faith and a willingness to watch God unfold a beauti-
boarded a plane. We sometimes call Eliza our holiday
baby, because she was placed in our arms for the very
By Debbie Sims ful plan. So it was that a few months into our efforts to first time on Halloween, and we arrived back home in
Located in Nashville’s become pregnant, we decided to put things on hold, and Nashville early on Thanksgiving morning.
historic Tulip Street see what God might have in store. Adoption has added new dimensions to our family’s
United Methodist Church At this time we began researching adoption. We also life, love, and faith. It is clear to us now that there was
on Russell Street, began praying about this decision, and on Valentine’s always a space meant just for Eliza. Watching her eyes
Miriam’s Promise was Day of 2006, we officially began our adoption “journey.” dance as she plays, we know she is truly home.
established in 1985 by the We chose an agency that is out of state, so we contacted *If you would like to read more about our travels to
Tennessee Annual Miriam’s Promise in Nashville to conduct our home bring Eliza home, please visit our blog at www.lovetoel-
Conference to provide study. After it was completed, along with the mounds of ly.blogspot.com
pregnancy, parenting and
adoptions services.
Originally intended to be Expecting the Best—Prison Ministry Program
a small satellite office of By Lee Ann Higgins, MSSW targeted the unique needs of these women and in
Holston United Methodist On any given day, up to 600 women are housed in the January of 2007 she began Expecting the Best, a pilot
Home for Children of Davidson County Correctional Facility. On average, 15- counseling program for pregnant women in the
Greeneville, Tennessee, A very happy dad with his 20 of them are expectant mothers. While medical care is Davidson County jail. Today, the weekly group meet-
Miriam’s Promise quickly adopted daughter. available, the county does not provide any pregnancy ings regularly draw a group of 7 or 8 women.
grew in response to the need for services. In 2003, counseling or mentoring services. “Miriam’s Promise is the only entity that currently
Holston scaled back its operations to concentrate in east In late 2005, Miriam’s Promise received a request offers this type of program to women in jail,” says Lee
Continued on page 5A for help from an incarcerated woman. Staff member Lee Ann. “These expectant mothers have commonly experi-
Ann Higgins responded and provided counseling. enced domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse and
Pregnancy Counseling Program Through that relationship, it became apparent that the
women’s jail had an ongoing need for pregnancy coun-
dependency, have been arrested and jailed before and
have other children. They are not only facing the conse-
Tina was 24 with two young children and pregnant seling. Lee Ann designed an eight-week curriculum that Continued on page 5A
when she was evicted from her apartment. She learned
that money she was giving her soon-to-be-ex husband
was being used for drugs rather than paying rent. When
she called Miriam’s Promise, her counselor went into
From Scarlett—My Story
action. Staff and volunteers rounded up household items I was arrested on New Year’s Eve 2005. During the My counselor, Lee-Ann walked with me through the
and furniture from surrounding congregations and made processing medical exam, it was discovered that I was decision-making process, and never once denied me the
sure Tina and her children had a safe place to live. She pregnant—about 3 months. I was in total shock. I’d been option of parenting and helped me look at all the ways that
found a supportive environment at Miriam’s Promise a regular user of crack, not taking very good care of my could happen. She did all she could to deliver the same
that allowed her to explore decisions for her future, her health, smoking, etc. After a couple of months of pre- type of services to me she would to any other client. She
unborn child and ways to care for her family. Tina even- tending it wasn’t true, I realized I needed to look for a made sure I finally got the medical care I needed, was with
tually chose adoption for her newborn son, selected the stable and sensible solution. The baby’s biological father me in the hospital and helped to make sure I could deliv-
adoptive family and stays in touch with them and her was out of my life. My ex-husband was supportive of me er like anyone else, without being chained or shackled.
counselor at Miriam’s Promise. but would never raise this baby for me or with me. My I now get pictures and letters from Ike and Vicki, the
Mary was referred to Miriam’s Promise after living in plans were very incomplete for raising my child. adoptive family. I also have the peace of mind that my
the state foster care system for years. The facility in I wrote five letters but didn’t have stamps so my decision was and always will be honored and that I am
which she was housed was closing, she was almost 18 weekend-time roommate mailed my letters to agencies in not alone.
and pregnant. Through the Elizabeth Project, a mentor- which I outlined my situation, what I needed and how to Jail is a lonely place, hopeless and anonymous. This
ing program at Miriam’s Promise, she found a church contact me. Miriam’s Promise was the first and only one type of service replaces those feelings with someone to
family. This young Mary was surrounded by loving and to visit me in person and that made an immediate impres- care about you and your situation, replaces it with hope
caring friends who welcomed her and her new child. Her sion. It told me I would be treated with respect and with- and being seen for who you are, not for the crime you
mentors helped Mary find an apartment and to furnish it. out prejudice due to my incarceration. I wanted someone committed or are accused of.
They hosted a “Christmas in July” shower for her that who would treat me like a person. Continued on page 4A
provided for her apartment needs and for her baby. The United Methodist Reporter (USPS 954-500) is published weekly by UMR Communications, 1221 Profit Drive, Dallas, TX 75247-3919.
Miriam’s Promise mentors were there at the pre-natal Periodicals Postage Paid at Dallas, Tx and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to The United Methodist Reporter,
Continued on page 8A PO Box 660275, Dallas, TX 75266-0275.
4A TENNESSEE CONFERENCE EDITION OF THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER February 22, 2008

International Adoptions Pasta & Promises 2008 to


By Kim Warner Hudy, MSSW
Today, more and more families who Benefit Miriam’s Promise
come to adoption feel that their child is You are invited to Pasta &
waiting for them overseas or may already Promises, the annual fundraising
have a special connection to a specific dinner and art show benefiting
foreign country. Miriam’s Promise has Miriam’s Promise on Friday night,
been pleased to assist these families who March 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm at the
choose to adopt internationally. Factory in Franklin. This annual
Caseworkers meet with prospective event supports the pregnancy, par-
adoptive families to discuss the adoption enting and adoption services provid-
and home study process. While there are ed by Miriam’s Promise, a not-for-
many countries to choose from when profit agency affiliated with the
adopting internationally, we also assist Tennessee Conference of the United
families in exploring their options for the Methodist Church. Pasta &
best fit. Miriam’s Promise provides home Promises 2008 will again feature the
study and post placement services to Ayana, one of a growing number of chil- very popular live and silent auction
families in middle Tennessee. While we dren adopted internationally. of original pieces by regional artists
are pleased to have partner agencies that along with a delicious pasta dinner. Art pieces by well-known regional artists are
we work with for the actual referral and family who has recently adopted as well as available for sale at Pasta & Promises
Individual tickets are $100, or gath-
placement of a child, a family is not an international adult adoptee. It is a er several friends together and reserve a table for eight for just $600. If your company
limited to only these agencies and has the wonderful way for our clients to meet would like to support the event as a sponsor, contact Miriam’s Promise for details on
option to work with any placing agency. other families who are also adopting and corporate sponsorship opportunities. Last year’s event drew over 400 people, so make
We are also proud to be a member of the form support systems from the very your reservation now and don’t miss Pasta & Promises. Contact Miriam’s Promise at
Joint Council on International Children’s beginning of the adoption process. (615) 292-3500.
Services aka JCICS which holds its Over the years we have placed children
members to higher ethical and educational of all ages and races that include children
standards than other adoption agencies.
Miriam’s Promise was proud to be the
first adoption agency in our service area
with both medical needs and children who
are considered to be healthy infants in
their respective countries. Our
Older Child Adoptions
that implemented home study education By Allison Balthrop, MSSW discipline, anger management, and spe-
caseworkers continue to support our
and training for prospective adoptive In the last 5 years Miriam’s Promise cific interventions to promote attach-
clients throughout their adoption process
parents. This training component occurs in has placed 18 “older children” in adoptive ment. Furthermore, the groups provide
and beyond the required supervisory
a group setting and is a critical part of homes. These children’s ages range from parents an opportunity not only to gain
reports after placement occurs. We are
understanding the adoption process in 2 to 13 years of age. (Older child adoption insight and support from trained staff but
happy to assist when questions or concerns
order to fully prepare to welcome a child is defined as the placement for adoption also to learn from the experiences of
arise and enjoy hearing from our families
into their hearts and homes. The twelve of a child over the age of 12 months.) their peers. Simply being part of a group
year after year as adoption is not just a
hour course is offered over the course of a Additionally Miriam’s Promise assisted in of parents who truly understand the chal-
one-time event but a lifelong process.
few weeks and covers such topics as the the independent adoption of 14 older chil- lenges they face is therapeutic for the
Many of our adoptive families come back
history of adoption, the adoption triad, dren whose ages ranged from 14 months participants.
to us for assistance in completing a second
potential attachment issues, transracial, to 14 years. Counseling services are another impor-
adoption. Some of our highest
and transcultural issues, adjustment, Recognizing the importance of prepar- tant part of our Older Child Adoption
compliments come from clients who tell
diversity, grief and loss and developmental ing our families for the unique challenges Program. Individual and family counsel-
us their friends worked with us when they
issues to meet a child’s needs. Families of raising older adopted children, in 2006 ing is offered to children and their fami-
were adopting. What a wonderful gift to be
also have the opportunity to meet with a Miriam’s Promise expanded the education lies who need intensive therapy to build
a small part of building families for life.
curriculum offered to our clients. attachment. Fees for this service are based
However, before new curriculums could on a sliding scale in an effort to make the
From Scarlett—My Story be designed it was necessary for staff to
receive intensive training in such areas as
services available to all who are in need.
Typically the adults are seen for an
Continued from front page tinued to stay in touch and to visit. She’s attachment and child development. (Staff intake/assessment interview. During that
I want to say how much I appreciate the held on to my personal belongings for me, training opportunities were made possible interview it will be determined whether
respect and dignity I have been shown especially the keepsakes from the hospital in large part because of the generous dona- the child will be seen individually or with
from Miriam’s Promise and Lee-Ann. I and the gifts from Ike and Vicki, my son’s tions made by members of our board.) the parents. Play therapy is the primary
haven’t got that from many people since mom and dad. Miriam’s Promise offers extensive intervention used with young children.
being here in jail; not to say I expected dif- In the future, I want to become involved educational opportunities to adoptive The staff at Miriam’s Promise is
ferent treatment because of the baby. I am with Miriam’s Promise as a mentor for and prospective adoptive families each always committed to providing the best
in jail for a reason. other pregnant inmates. I know it made a year. Our attachment training program services to all clients, but especially to the
I want to share that I am proud of real difference for me and in how I han- begins with a 4 week seminar on most vulnerable of our clients, the older
myself for not taking the easiest path in dled my decision to place my son. Lee- “Rebuilding Attachment in Traumatized adopted child. Although we are a non-
spite of my need not to hurt. My baby Ann continues to make a difference since Children” followed by bi-monthly sup- profit agency and resources are limited,
needed more than a temporary foster home then and to be a link to the world but espe- port group meetings. Topics covered in no effort is spared to ensure that staff is
and time spent waiting for me. Miriam’s cially to my son. these groups include: helping children well trained and capable of delivering the
Promise was there for me when no one I have every confidence that Miriam’s cope with separation and loss, positive highest quality services possible.
else was. Lee-Ann responded to my letter. Promise and the adoptive family will keep
She visited me and really listened to me. their promises to me; promises for open-
Miriam’s Promise met many of my mate- ness and for honesty in the exchange of Kevin, Laura and Anastasia—An International Love Story
rial needs. Lee-Ann was able to be right information and for ongoing services I Once upon a time there was a baby girl was abandoned for a second time.
there with me in the hospital and has con- may need. born in a Russian prison. Her name was Meanwhile, Kevin and Laura, a
Anastasia. With her birth mother, Anastasia Tennessee couple who wanted to adopt,
spent the first three years of her life virtu- met Ana at the residential facility.
Sponsor a Therapy Session ally in solitary confinement. Upon her
mother’s release, she was abandoned at a
Immediately captivated by the child,
Kevin and Laura opened their hearts and
Russian orphanage. At age 6, Ana came to began the process of bringing Anastasia to
Justin is an eleven-year-old who is being raised by his grandmother who is strug-
the United States through adoption by a Tennessee and adopting her. Anastasia is
gling financially and her health is declining. Last year, Justin’s twin siblings were
New Jersey family who were unprepared now eight years old and continues to
placed for adoption by their birth mother through Miriam’s Promise. Justin has suf-
for the challenges of raising a child dealing adjust to her new family. Through
fered many losses. Due to his grandmother’s poor health, an adoption plan will also
with attachment issues and cultural Miriam’s Promise, Kevin and Laura
need to be made for Justin. Justin is in need of intensive therapy which his grand-
changes. After 3 months, the New Jersey received adoption assistance funding and
mother cannot afford. Please consider giving a therapy session for a child like Justin
family told Ana she was going to a tempo- now participate in ongoing therapy to aid
by donating to Miriam’s Promise. One half-hour session is $25, and a one-hour ses-
rary “camp” when in reality she was sent to in attachment and adjustment for the entire
sion is $50.
a permanent residential facility. Anastasia family.
February 22, 2008 TENNESSEE CONFERENCE EDITION OF THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER 5A

Adoptive Parents Story Meet Miriam’s Promise


They were only given 48 hours to prepare for Continued from front page
their son’s homecoming. A birthmother had cho- Tennessee and Miriam’s Promise became
sen them as adoptive parents for her two day old an independent not-for-profit agency.
son and wanted to meet them as soon as possible. Inspired by the biblical story of
They met her for the first time at her apartment Moses’ sister Miriam, Miriam’s Promise
and were introduced to their son that was cradled provides a safe place for women who
in her arms. She did not hesitate as she talked must make difficult decisions about the
over how she’d been so uncomfortable with her future of their children. The story from
decision to place in an independent/private adop- Exodus 2:1–10 is one of hope and inspi-
tion that she’d called her counselor and asked to ration. The new pharaoh of Egypt became
see families waiting to adopt through Miriam’s alarmed at the growing number of
Promise. She met them on Sunday and Monday Israelites in his country and was worried
afternoon, they brought their son home. The trust that they might side with Egypt’s ene-
and respect they had for her helped bridge the mies. He ordered the Hebrew midwives
fear and sadness she felt as she looked for a fam- to kill all the baby boys they delivered.
ily to love her child as she did. This is how they The midwives, however, feared God and
describe their experience today: did not follow the pharaoh’s orders. The
I don’t just think of our son’s birthmother as pharaoh then commanded all his people,
just a “birthmother”. She is so much more than “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews
that. She is a very brave woman who made the you shall throw into the Nile.” Facing the
ultimate sacrifice for her son. Her family turned infanticide of all male children of the
against her during the time she needed them the most. She stood firm and went through Hebrew slaves in Egypt, Moses’ mother,
probably one of the toughest times in her life by herself. They did not support her in the an Israelite woman, made a plan to save
decision she made and still do not have anything to do with her 5 years later. She was the life of her son. Placing him in a bas-
dealt a “bad hand” in life, but tries to make the best out of life that she knows how. ket, she hid him in the Nile and sent his Adoptive mom Claudia feeds Tank, her
I do know that she still hurts and I wish I could do something to make the pain go sister Miriam to watch and see what hap- son. Miriam’s Promise was involved in this
away, but all I can do is pray and ask God to bless her life in a special way since she pened. The pharaoh’s daughter discov- transracial adoption.
blessed our family with our precious son. She gave me hope in life when I thought there ered him along the river and decided to
was no hope and the joy that comes from hearing the words “momma” and the sounds adopt him as her own son. Miriam Promise provides counseling services,
of “pitter patter” feet dancing around the house. She allowed me to experience an stepped forward and offered their moth- open adoptions where the birth mother
unconditional love that you can only experience with a child. I am so thankful that God er’s services as a wet nurse for the baby. chooses and is involved with the adoptive
put her in our lives. She doesn’t call much or come by to visit, but Sam knows who she And so, through a birthmother’s loving parents, or a closed adoption plan.
is because he prays for her every night. choice, a sister’s brave advocacy, and an Adoption services at Miriam’s Promise
I want to close with a blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his adoptive mother’s acceptance, this tiny center on the creation of families. The
face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you baby, a child of God, grew to become the agency provides screening and counseling
and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 leader of his people. Like Miriam, the for prospective parents, known as “waiting
agency provides a safe place for women families.” In domestic infant adoptions,
who must make difficult decisions about expectant mothers are able to learn about
Therapeutic Supplies Needed the future of their children.
For women experiencing unplanned
the different waiting families and make
specific choices for the placement of their
Anastasia was adopted from Russia after spending the first three years of her life pregnancies, Miriam’s Promise provides child. Many lasting, loving relationships
with her birth mother in virtual isolation in prison. She was abandoned upon her moth- counseling. As a safe, non-threatening, are formed as mothers and adoptive par-
er’s release, adopted, and then placed in a residential facility by an adoptive family friendly place to go, Miriam’s Promise is a ents bond over the shared love of a child.
that could not handle her special needs. Many older children like Anastasia have expe- haven for women suffering the emotional, Miriam’s Promise also provides interna-
rienced tremendous grief and loss, abuse and neglect. Miriam’s Promise has set up a health and long-term issues that accompa- tional adoption services for waiting fami-
room specifically for therapy with these children. This room provides a safe place for ny many unplanned pregnancies. Staff lies, and has placed children of all ages
children to work on grief, anger, sadness, loss, attachment and preparation for adop- members are trained to help with all major from several countries. All adoptive par-
tion. Many therapeutic supplies such as books, art supplies, puppets, and therapeutic decisions, provide referrals and assistance ents receive counseling, home study edu-
games are needed to effectively work with these children. Please consider making a for basic healthcare and nutrition, and cre- cation and training on adoption issues, and
donation for therapeutic supplies to help children like Anastasia get the most out of ate safe living environments always with on-going support after the placement is
their therapy. For more information, contact Miriam’s Promise at 615-292-3500. the well-being of the unborn child and made. Post-adoption services for families
mother as the foremost goal. Many hours include on-going counseling, attachment
are spent in consultation with each moth- therapy, and family support groups.
Transracial Adoptions er-to-be about their futures and their wants
and desires for their children. For those
Miriam’s Promise extends the promise
of hope and healing to birth parents, preg-
Many of the adoptive placements made by who choose to parent, the agency sets nancy clients, adoptive families, and chil-
Miriam’s Promise are transracial in nature. This practical goals for housing and other dren, fulfilling our belief as United
means the adoptive parents are adopting a child of a necessities, working with the client Methodists that the family is a crucial ele-
race different from their own. These placements throughout the pregnancy and maintains a ment in the nurturing of children, and that
offer unique challenges to the families involved. It is relationship after the birth. For those who children are a gift from God, to be wel-
essential that families acknowledge that they will be choose adoption for their child, Miriam’s comed and received.
a minority family after placement. Miriam’s
Promise is committed to providing the education
and preparation needed to make these adoptions
successful. We recognize that it is critical that fami-
The Best—Prison Ministry Program
lies begin to make the necessary lifestyle changes Continued from front page both Mom and baby.”
before the child is placed rather than waiting until a quences of the judicial system, but are In the future, Lee Ann would like to
crisis occurs after placement. A primary goal of tran- also ill-prepared to manage the stress of see Expecting the Best expanded to
sracial groups at Miriam’s Promise is for individuals incarceration, pregnancy and re-entry all include incarcerated women in other
to evaluate their strengths and limitations as transra- at the same time.” Accordingly, the class- counties. She also has a vision for estab-
cially-adopting parents. Some of the issues that are es cover topics such as responsible deci- lishing a volunteer mentoring program.
addressed include: demographics of the neighbor- sion making, family planning and life “By establishing a presence in the prison
hood, racial makeup of the schools, church, and skills. When clients are released from jail, system, Miriam’s Promise can offer its
social groups the child will be immersed in, extend- Miriam’s Promise continues to offer par- services to an often neglected group of
ed family acceptance, opportunities for same-race enting or post-adoption support services. women and hopefully equip them for a
mentors, and for opportunities for interacting with “It is vital,” says Lee Ann, “that these fresh start. I also believe that establishing
other multi-racial families. Additionally, transracial women establish a support system in their a one-on-one volunteer mentoring pro-
training groups are designed to provide ongoing Gracie, a transracial adoption, community. We hope that ongoing sup- gram could make all the difference as
support and education for the families involved. enjoys the annual Miriam’s port and follow-up by Miriam’s Promise these women leave the prison system and
There is no participation fee for this service. Promise Fall Picnic can assure a safe and healthy lifestyle for re-enter society.”
8A TENNESSEE CONFERENCE EDITION OF THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER February 22, 2008

Training and How You Can Help Miriam’s Promise Biggest Needs:
Education are Keys Children’s games at the annual Miriam’s Promise
 Kroger and Wal-Mart gift
cards, Gas cards,
to Successful Adoption Fall Picnic. Special thanks to Girl Scout Troop #417
for providing games and activities at the picnic.
($5, $10, $25) for our
birthmothers
 Diapers and wipes—Newborn
As the world of adop-
tion continues to evolve to size 4
 Certificates to Book stores
and change, Miriam’s
Promise strives to fully (i.e., Barnes & Noble) to
prepare families for order educational material
 Disposable cameras
the challenges of
adoptive parenting.
Preparation and edu- Infant Needs:
cation have long
been a component in  Crib Sheets/Blankets
the programs offered by  Baby formula/bottles or gift
this agency. The domestic cards to purchase as needed
infant adoption program  Baby toiletries
requires that prospective parents par-  Baby clothing—size Premie
ticipate in six weeks of classes that explore issues such to 24 months
as infertility, needs of adopted children and open rela-
tionships with birth parents. Ongoing bi-monthly support Miriam’s Promise continues to be blessed with many ice to Miriam’s Promise. Recently, a group of Girl
groups are offered to those in this program as they wait wonderful volunteers who give their time, talents, and Scouts from a Franklin church refurbished the chil-
for the placement of a child. In addition, a seminar is gifts to the agency. Many United Methodist congrega- dren’s area in our office with a new television and toys
conducted annually for extended family members of par- tions designate Communion offerings and special col- and provided games and activities at our annual picnic.
ents waiting for a child. lections for the work of Miriam’s Promise in Middle Many churches make winter hats and scarves for our
Similar training and education is required in the Tennessee. A monetary donation of any amount would clients, and several United Methodists volunteer in our
agency’s international program. Couples and individuals assist in purchasing necessary tools for our work with offices regularly.
who are adopting children from other countries partici- children. Miriam’s Promise is always in need of the following
pate in a twelve-hour course designed to prepare them Many United Methodists offer the gift of their serv- items. Please call 615-292-3500 with questions.
for the needs of a child whose world will change when
they join their family and become a United States citizen.
Recently, as the needs of Miriam’s Promise families
have become evident, specialized seminars have been Golf and Walk Challenge for Miriam’s Promise
developed and support groups facilitated for families of Thanks to the generosity and dedication of all the friends and supporters
children with attachment issues. Attachment issues are of Miriam’s Promise, the 8th annual Golf and Walk Challenge held
common in children who have been traumatized and September 24, 2007, raised $121,587 in pledges to benefit the programs and
neglected. The parents of the se children are taught tools services of the agency!
to help the children learn to trust adult figures and Fun and friendly competition was on the agenda as 119 golfers and 42
depend on them for their needs. walkers converged on Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee, to
The agency helps to facilitate other support groups support the work of Miriam’s Promise. The 4.2 mile walk challenge was a
that serve its clients as well as others in the community. new feature for the event and the dedicated walkers raised over $19,700 in
These support groups include one for birth parents, one pledges! Walk event chair Nikki Hightower is already planning to make the
for families who adopt transracially and one for single walk challenge an even bigger part of this annual event.
international adoptive parents. In response to the numer- The golf scramble event attracted over 30 teams, each pledging an aver-
ous events, seminars, support groups and trainings, age of $4,000 in sponsor donations for Miriam’s Promise. Golfers enjoyed
Miriam’s Promise has designated a new staff position to free clinics, lunch from the grill and plenty of fellowship and friendly com-
coordinate these efforts. petition. Prizes were awarded for the longest drive, closest to the pin, and
The pregnancy counseling program of Miriam’s best team score. Many thanks to our tireless volunteer event co-chairs Mary
Promise has also evolved in its approach to education Cooper and B.J. Brack, Jr. for all their hard work.
and training. The Elizabeth Project, a mentoring program The 2008 Golf and Walk Challenge for Miriam’s Promise will be held
for pregnant young women, strives to encourage a September 29 at Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee. For L to R—Mary Cooper, Michael Williams,
healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. From that base, a information on participating as a walker, golfer, or sponsor, please contact and Betty Alexander volunteer at the
new program, Expecting the Best, has been developed. Miriam’s Promise at 615-292-3500. 2007 Golf and Walk Challenge
This program serves women in the Davidson County Jail
who are pregnant and greatly in need of education,
preparation and support regarding their pregnancy and
their role as a new mother.
Pregnancy Counseling Pregnancy Counseling Profile
The staff of Miriam’s Promise recognizes that all Continued from front page Marcy was without even the basic resources a single woman needs to
parents can benefit from the training and educational visits and her baby’s birth. They celebrated feel cared for and self-sufficient.
services the agency provides no matter the circum- together when Mary and her child were bap- She was living in a half-way house
stances of their home and the level of their income. The tized. in a very unsafe neighborhood
goal is to see children thriving and happy in their “for- Tina and Mary are just two of the many because it was the first place with
ever” families. expectant mothers who contact Miriam’s an opening and she’d just been
Promise each year. Pregnancy clients come released from prison. She called
from all walks of life. Some are mature Miriam’s Promise looking for sup-
adults with careers, and others are pre-teens. port and guidance, Marcy was six
Every client has a different set of circum- months pregnant. She was fairly
stances, but all share the crisis of an sure adoption would be the best
unplanned pregnancy and uncertain future way to ensure her child a bright
for themselves and their child. The pregnan- and secure future, but there were Marcy’s son Davy celebrates an
cy counseling program addresses emotional, more pressing concerns to important first birthday with his
health, financial and lifestyle issues. address before she could emo- adoptive family.
Counselors and clients tackle the everyday tionally commit to an adoption plan. Over the course of a month, Miriam’s
issues of pregnancy and parenting, including Promise helped her find safe housing, provided her transportation to her
pre-natal care, living conditions, employ- pre-natal appointments, gave her assistance with groceries, maternity
ment, family support and goals. Through clothes and peace of mind. Peace of mind that no matter what her decision,
careful examination and reflection, and with adoption or parenting, there was a caring, compassionate and non-judg-
the help of Miriam’s Promise, crisis pregnan- mental place she could turn to for even the most basic of human needs
Eric and Lisa are adoptive parents who have participated cy clients can make mature life decisions for could be met.
in the special ministry of Miriam’s Promise. themselves and their child.