Maine Children’s Home Newsletter

July 2020
Greetings John,

Greetings from the Dorothy ‘Bibby’ Alfond Campus in Waterville. It feels really good to be able to type these words, as we have been keeping numbers of people on our campus very low for months and have continued to keep direct service and support very light for in-person activities. As we are committed to following all health and safety guidelines, we are wearing masks, sanitizing, ZOOMing, safe distancing, and continuing to provide the majority of our outreach with virtual tools, phone calls, e-mails, and careful individualized follow-up and support. We are here to help.

On behalf of the children, youth, and families we serve, the MCH Board and staff, I want to thank the many individuals that have responded to our recent Red Stocking Annual Appeal. Because of your caring and support we are able to keep helping people in need who are asking for support in more ways than ever. If you haven’t had a chance to make a gift we would greatly appreciate your consideration. The challenges that Maine children and families are facing will not be decreasing any time soon and the calls for our care and support are vital to helping families have more support, training, and guidance. Every gift matters.

In this issue, you will see a number of vivid examples of the ways we are helping so many people to work through these difficult moments. We’ve lost a friend and colleague and have been honored to have learned much from her good works. We are thankful for the committed team of professionals at The Maine Children’s Home who strive to live out our mission every day, ‘to build and strengthen families and their children, instilling hope for the future and a better quality of life.”

We are thankful for the support of so many groups and individuals that help to sustain our efforts each month. Thanks for helping us to keep making a difference to improve so many lives.

In gratitude,

Richard Dorian, Executive Director

June By the Numbers
Mitchell Family Adoption Unit:
Adoption Story
At the beginning of July, we received a visit from adoptee, Scott, who was visiting from another state. He shared his story below about his journey through adoption at our organization.

"I was born in October 1969 and was placed with the Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers shortly after my birth. At the end of that same year, I was placed for adoption with a couple out of central Maine. I grew up knowing from the day I could understand that I had been adopted. I was always encouraged to ask questions about it and seek my birth family should I ever want to locate them. My parents were so open and supportive. I was raised in Maine until 1977 when we moved to the south, and ultimately back to New England in 1984.

I was blessed with two fantastic parents that loved me more than I could have ever imagined. I was spoiled rotten, not in the colloquial way, but with love, respect, and guidance. I tested them through the years, to be sure, but they never failed or disappointed. As my professional life began, I worked in the industrial supplies business and moved all around the country and ultimately ended up in the south with my wife and three girls. As happens, physical issues began to arise, and I began to constantly question my hereditary background. I reached out to The Maine Children's Home about 15 years ago to see if they could help. They got in touch with my birth mother and she graciously filled out a health questionnaire. It was a great relief to see the results of this very thorough survey. But it left me wanting to learn more, but Maine had closed birth records, so I was at a bit of an impasse.

Fast forward to 2019. I did the Ancestry and 23 and Me DNA tests to get an idea of where my birth family had come here from. In September of this same year, I got a direct message from 23 and Me from a guy claiming to be my cousin. Very long story short, it was my brother's son on my birth father's side. That began a magnificent relationship that has culminated in finding my birth father who had no idea I was even born, finding my brother and sister that none of us knew about and even my paternal grandmother, who was 98 when I met her. I have taken my wife and kids up to meet everyone a couple of times, my sister has been to my home state to visit and I've gone back and forth by myself a few times since this all began.

To summarize, it has been absolutely a life-changing experience. My last visit up to Maine, I met three sisters to my birth mother, my aunts, who made it clear that the path I went down with the orphanage and being given up for adoption was a far better path than what would have been had I not been given up. At 50, I now have a father (I lost my adopted dad in 2003), a big brother, a big sister, countless nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, all of whom have been 100% open and welcoming to me and my family. My adopted mom is so happy for me because, in her words, 'I am all you have. Now, when I die, you have a huge family to carry on with.'"

Christmas Program

We know there will be new challenges for our Christmas Program for 2020, in light of the current health crisis, and are beginning many tasks early. We are starting to collect donations for this year's program early to help give us a boost and get started packing earlier.

Here is a current list of needs for our Christmas Program or you can shop from home and check out our Amazon Wish List to have the items shipped directly to our campus.

Special thanks to the Christmas Planning Team, donors, collectors, and supporters who are right there with us to help ensure Maine children will have a great Christmas.
The Connected Community


Every Thursday, we share information to help parents connect with their children who come from hard places. Check out this month's Thoughtful Thursday posts on our blog.

Donations

Since 1985, Southwest Airlines has proudly hosted the LUV Classic Golf Tournament and Party, donating more than $18 million to children’s charities over the last 34 years. As we all continue to evolve in the wake of COVID-19, Southwest made the difficult decision to cancel the LUV Classic Tournament and Party originally scheduled for October. To still celebrate the LUV Classic’s milestone 35th year, Southwest Airlines is donating $1 million dollars to 101 local charities who focus on serving children, their families, and communities and The Maine Children's Home was luckily chosen to receive $5,000 from Southwest!

Our Friend & Co-worker, Emily Fournier
Many people from the Waterville and Fairfield communities may be familiar with the Recycled Shakespeare Company, or most especially, Emily Fournier, who was one of its founders and served as their Executive Director. Emily also served The Maine Children’s Home as a part-time Administrative Assistant in the Turner Family Counseling Center. Our community was very saddened by Emily’s sudden passing on Saturday, July 11th in a tragic whitewater rafting accident.
You can read much more about Emily, her devotions to the community, and her incredible efforts to bring community theater and Shakespeare alive.

Family and friends are inviting support to honor Emily to keep the work of the Recycled Shakespeare Company active: The Recycled Shakespeare Company, C/O Lyn Rowden, 4 Cottage Street, Fairfield, ME 04937.

Emily had a great sense of humor and she was always kind, compassionate, and helpful. Each week, Emily drew 'Minion & flamingo' drawings for her deskmate, who worked the opposite half of the week from her, so she could build a connection with her desk buddy. We are grateful to have these reminders of Emily's kind heart and talent to display in our Counseling Center in honor of her.

Emily’s many gifts will be missed but we will work to carry on her many acts of kindness, respect, and commitment to inclusion and care of all people.

Upcoming Events

The Connected Community @ MCH is holding summer caregiver trainings in August & September for adoptive and foster parents on using Trust-Based Relational Intervention® as a trauma-informed approach to parenting. This training incorporates an understanding of the unique needs for children who have experienced trauma and how to form strong, attachment-focused bonds with the children in their homes/families.

We are also offering Making Sense of Your Worth for a small group of women, in which the group focuses on understanding how our self-worth affects our experiences in relationships.
For more information on these trainings, please contact Lindsay Bragdon.
Adoption Information Meetings are now virtual. Our Adoption Program hosts FREE adoption informational meetings the last Wednesday of each month. If you are interested in attending, please complete this form.


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