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Thank you, Julie

The Baby Fold is saying goodbye to our Vice President of Develpoment, Julie Payne, who has been leading our fundraising efforts for nearly 10 years. She has accepted a new position in town as the CEO and Practice Administrator for Eye Surgical Associates. Julie has been instrumental in enhancing many of the foundational pieces in our Development and Public Relations Department, including the successful growth of our annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. We are grateful for her many years of service, and wish her the best in her new role.

Introducing Our Honorary Chairs for the 2016 Festival of Trees

The Baby Fold is pleased to announce that Bill and Jan Lawrence will serve as the Honorary Chairs for the 23rd annual Festival of Trees. Bill is the President of PLR Insurance and Jan is part of the PLR team, with offices in Bloomington, Pekin, and Tremont.

Bill has been active with The McLean County Chamber of Commerce since 2008, and chaired the board in 2014. The Lawrences have a heart for those in need. They have been active in Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary, Bible Study Fellowship and many other worthy causes. Bill and Jan are people of great integrity and passion. We are grateful to have them serve The Baby Fold in this way.

The Festival of Trees will be held Nov. 17-20 at the Bloomington Interstate Center. The theme selected by the Steering Committee is, "A Gift of Love." There are still a few Steering Committee chair positions open. To learn more about Festival, click here.

Safety First

It may seem strange to some people to think that a family would need to intentionally work on bonding together. But that connection between parent and child can be difficult when the child is a foster or adoptive child. It takes special care to help a foster child to feel safe. Jeremy and Lauren, siblings, age 7 and 4 know what it's like to feel unwanted, confused and angry. They were severely neglected in their biological home. They entered The Baby Fold's foster care program, and were placed with Rita and James Jones. Because Jeremy was accustomed to taking care of Lauren, he resisted the Jones' attempts to care for her. He felt he could not trust them to keep them safe. He often exploded in angry outbursts, rejecting any attempt at nurture or love. Lauren, wanted attention from her foster parents, but had high levels of anxiety, fearful she would not get the affection that she wanted so much.

This family has transformed, due to the hard work they've done with our staff. Today, Jeremy and Lauren call Rita and James, Mom and Dad. They have been adopted by the Jones family. This new family was formed through the dedication and love of the parents, who persevered through the hard times. They listened to their Baby Fold therapist, Jen Walbridge. They used everyday activities to connect and build trust. For example, when they have game night, it's an opportunity to bond. Candyland- a simple and easy child's game. But with what the Jones learned from Jen Walbridge, adoption care worker, they made it so much more. They intentionally made Candyland not a competition, but a chance to connect. Whenever any member of the family moved forward, they all celebrated together. If someone had to go back a few spaces, they empathized and encouraged them to not get discouraged. Mom would demonstrate a chair push up or Dad would model some deep breathing. "It doesn't have to be complicated," said Jen. "Simple things matter. Greeting your child at the bus, (not busy in the kitchen or office) with a bottle of water and a hug helps any child feel safe and loved."

If you would like to learn more about how to connect with any child, The Baby Fold is hosting and Empowered to Connect simulcast on April 8 and 9. Click here for more details and to register.

You Don't Have to be Perfect......

No, you don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who will love you just the same.

Click here to learn more about how foster parenting just might be right for you.