News & Events

July 25, 2014: Overcoming Fear, with Love

Lora Petersheim always will remember the baby that broke her heart and helped her overcome fear of becoming a foster parent. A nurse, she was taking care of two babies in a neonatal intensive care unit. One had an adopted home, and throughout the day family members visited, brought gifts, laughed and spoke happily about bringing the baby home. The other baby was in the custody of the state.


“There were no gifts, no phone calls, no signs of love for that baby,” said Lora. “When the infant was discharged that night to DFACS, I cried and cried. I felt just a little of the pain that God feels for His children, and it was almost unbearable. My fears vanished as they were replaced with the desire to love children who needed to be loved, no matter the cost.”

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Parenting Classes Begin Aug. 6 in Decatur


Parenting classes begin Aug. 6 on our Decatur campus!
Connect with other parents, gain confidence in your parenting skills and learn how to build a support network. We help all types of parents, from single mothers to parents of unruly teenagers to parents desperate to regain custody of their children after unfortunate situations.

The series of six discussion-oriented classes will take place Wednesdays beginning Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. The classes are free, and the Active Parenting Now curriculum (which you keep) is $15.00. A Certificate of Completion is provided to those who complete the class.

RSVP to Bonita at


Note: UMCH staff may also conduct Parenting Classes with the Active Parenting curriculum for schools, churches and other groups. If you’d like to talk with someone about scheduling a class for your group, contact Bonita or your closest UMCH office.

Parenting classes begin Aug. 6 on our Decatur campus.

Deloitte Impact Day

For 15 years, Deloitte has sent volunteers to nonprofits across the country on the same day – Impact Day. The Children’s Home has been honored to be chosen as a host site for several years. What an IMPACT these volunteers truly made! They pruned hedges, repaired a porch, rebuilt a fence, and did other projects to make our campus a safer and more inviting home for our residents. Thank you, Deloitte!


Corporate groups are always welcome! Contact Sharon Brewer for more details.




Birthday Girls Give More Than They Receive

What a great example of Christian love and service! Two sisters, Brooke and Lauren Edmunds celebrated their 8th and 6th birthdays in May. Instead of presents, the girls asked their guests for donations of money – the sisters raised $115! – toys, games, and books for the United Methodist Children’s Home! It’s a birthday tradition. Their parents, Kristin Patterson Edmunds and Tim Edmunds are life-long members of Decatur First United Methodist Church and the girls are 6th generation members!


This sweet story gets even better. The day after Brooke and Lauren delivered their gifts, two new children were welcomed into one of our foster homes – a 4-year-old boy and his 4-day-old sister. Those toys and books from Brooke and Lauren were PERFECT for the little boy and were taken directly to him at his foster home. What a great example of how your gifts have an immediate impact on the lives of our children!


PS. This story first appeared on our facebook page. “Like” our page today – our facebook family is the first to hear our good news and uplifting stories.

Brooke and Lauren Edmunds Facebook post


Foster Care Transforms An Entire Family

UMCH Social Worker, Tondra Stiles:


Keagan* came to live with the Miller family two weeks before his second birthday. The Millers were new foster parents and this was their first placement. The DFCS worker and I dropped Keagan off with a collection of donations from UMCH and some items from his birth home. We shared as much as we knew about his situation at the time, answered as many questions as we could, and then left the Millers alone with Keagan.


I can honestly say that although I expected these foster parents to do a good job did with Keagan, I never would have guessed what an impact they would have on Keagan’s mother, Summer. Of course, having a toddler that has experienced trauma and separation was an adjustment—having a toddler at all requires adjustment! But the Millers jumped in with two feet. They took Keagan to the doctor and helped to reverse his constant congestion. They used verbal redirection, time out, choices, and positive rewards. They bought cars and trains—lots and LOTS of trains—and knew all the songs from Thomas the Train. They found ways to get him to eat vegetables instead of junk food—in quesadillas, chili, etc. This guy was finally on his first schedule—he took naps and learned how to fall asleep all by himself after bath and story time. He thrived with routine and lots of play. But what was so critical was not that he received this routine at the foster home; what mattered most was that Keagan’s mother learned how to do these things too, and why they were so important.


The Millers attended every hearing and meeting. They picked up Keagan at the end of his family visits. They brought photographs to Summer, and artwork he created at daycare. They created an email account and began to make videos of Keagan to send to Summer. These videos and photos showed what a typical week looked like at their home, and kept Summer involved and engaged in Keagan’s life. Summer would ask Keagan about the zoo, his road trip, his success and trials on the potty, etc. when she would see him at visits. Then she began to send her own videos. Keagan loved watching these. He didn’t realize they were recorded, and that his mother couldn’t hear him when he talked to the video.


Keagan grew several inches and began to talk. He spent his second birthday, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas with the Millers. The Millers grew closer and closer to Summer. They encouraged her when she felt lonely, and they applauded her triumphs at treatment and parenting classes. Everyone involved began to see a true change in Summer. And when visits were changed to overnight, Summer followed the Millers’ routine to the letter so that Keagan would feel some continuity. She even bought the same foods that he began to eat at the Millers. When it was time for Keagan to go home, the Millers felt great about it. They had developed and cultivated a special relationship with Summer that was about mentoring, coaching, mutual respect and kindness—free of judgment, criticism or blame.


Keagan went home the day before Good Friday, so it was Great Thursday. There were a lot of tears—happy and sad. It was not their final goodbye. Just a few weeks ago, the Millers visited Keagan and Summer at the park. Summer calls once a week and talks to the Millers about what’s happening with Keagan. Keagan gained a second family, and Summer gained a support system. This is the true gift of foster care.


Are you ready to transform lives through the gift of foster care? Learn more today!


*The privacy and safety of our children is very important to us, so all names have been changed.


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