In 2012, Miriam’s Promise achieved Hague Accreditation by the Council on Accreditation for international adoptions. This accreditation allows Miriam’s Promise to pursue adoption opportunities for those families seeing to grow their family through international adoption. Miriam’s Promise is now in the process of completing the self-study for re-accreditation so that we may continue to offer the best services possible to our international families and be kept to the highest ethical standards in the industry.
Many of the children we see are defines as “children from hard places”, which includes children who have experienced some type of abuse, neglect, trauma, prenatal exposure to substances, high levels of stress, difficult labor or birth and/or early medical trauma. Our children that we serve began their lives in chaotic birth families, were exposed prenatally to drugs, faced multiple interruptions in caregivers or began their lives in international orphanages. These factors put them at risk for trauma, issues with brain development as well as sensory processing issues. This interruption or disability to process makes it difficult to complete daily tasks and can impact motor skills, behavior and emotional well-being. Sensory processing deficits can exacerbate disruption in attachment, social and emotional development and academic success. In 2012, tow of our staff completed intensive training through the child development institute at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). In 2013, two more of our staff completed this training. This enables us to help both children and adoptive parents in their quest to form healthy attachments and strong connections with their children.
In 2013, tow of our staff members participated in an intense training, also provided by TCU, to create a therapeutic camp for kids that have attachment and behavioral challenges. Camp Nurture (based on the Hope Connection Camp of TCU) came to Middle Tennessee in 2014. The collaboration brought together 3 highly respected local attachment therapists, Miriam’s Promise, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, Let it Shine Gymnastics, Pediatric Therapists and ShowHope. Camp Nurture provides a therapeutic environment for adopted children from “hard places” and their parents. Camp Nurture is a unique, intensive immersion experience that allows parents and children to learn how to delight in each other again as well as to develop new skills and techniques designed to begin healing the trauma and attachment deficits created by institutionalized care or difficult beginnings. As part of the camp process, parents participate in several all-day trainings, on-site practice with their children and create a unique support network as a result.
We also continue to offer counseling to incarcerated pregnant inmates in the Davidson County jail through our Expecting the Best program. Recently, Miriam’s Promise was invited by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to expand the Expecting the Best program to the CCA facility. This program is designed for mothers who are already parenting on the outside. This program is an evidence-based parenting curriculum for women also enrolled in the facility’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. A counselor meets with the women weekly for encouragement, support, self-discovery and parenting skills training. The rotating 8-week curriculum helps women work through the challenges of parenting faced after incarceration. We are also providing education on trauma and attachment as these mothers prepare to return to their families.
In 2014, we were able to prepare 49 families to adopt through our home study process; 21 expectant mothers sought counseling; 23 children were placed with their forever families; 62 incarcerated mothers received pregnancy counseling and parenting coaching and 5 children from “hard places” received counseling to help them ore completely attach to their new families.
Updates in technology are needed in several areas. We are in need of two desktop computer terminals, 3 tablets and a large flat screen television with laptop plug-in capabilities which would enable us to retire our projector which is over 10 years old. Estimated cost: $3,000
We are always in need of gift cards to grocery and discount stores. We give these to our pregnancy clients for gas, groceries and household needs. We provide about $2,000 per year in gift cards.
While we have a strong and loyal base of volunteers (over 140), we are in constant need of additional volunteers to assist staff on site and help with annual fundraisers. We are always seeking new board members who have a heart for the mission of Miriam’s Promise. Volunteers are also needed to provide in-kind skills such as: communication and marketing pieces, IT services and wider referral relationships with other non-profits.
When Moses' mother lovingly placed her tiny baby boy in a basket in the great Nile River, she was both desperate and hopeful. When the Egyptian princess pulled Moses from among the reeds, she was both excited and unsure. It was Miriam, Moses' sister, who bridged the gap between these two loving parents. Offering her mother as a wet nurse, she supported Moses' adoptive mother while fostering the relationship with his birth mother. It was Miriam's promise to her brother who let this very special baby grow into a leader of his people and a great man of God.
Our mission is to ensure the well-being of the child by nurturing individuals and families. We take that mission seriously in the work we do in pregnancy counseling, adoptions, family counseling and our jail programs. Because our clients are vulnerable, it is critical that we respond with great care and respect to all that come through our doors. While we may never fully know each hurt that exists for every client, we do understand the grief and great needs that remains after separations, abandonments, broken attachments , infertility and unplanned pregnancies.
Since 1985, we have provided hope and healing to thousands of children and families who are coping with issues of grief, loss and transition. We are unique because of our long-term commitment to the children and families we serve. As the needs of our clients and children have changed and intensified, out staff continues to equip itself through continuing education. All program staff are Masters level. Four staff members completed a prestigious and rigorous training in TBRI therapy (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) through TCU, 2 of those went on complete a more specific training at TCU to develop a therapeutic camp.
Those two staff members were part of the collaborative senior staff that brought Camp Nurture (based on Camp Hope of TCU) to middle Tennessee as our newest adventure. The collaboration brought together 3 local attachment therapists, Miriam’s Promise, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, Let It Shine, Pediaiatric Therapists and ShowHope. Camp Nurture provides a therapeutic environment for adopted children from “hard places” and their parents. Camp is an immersion experience that allows parents and children to develop new skills and techniques designed to heal the trauma and attachment deficits created by institutionalized care or difficult beginning. Prior to camp, parents participate in weekly, all-day trainings and follow-up camp with additional work.
Our work in TBRI created a new paradigm for staff. During 2014, we re-invented many of our programs – counseling for pregnancy clients, the psycho-educational groups for incarcerated moms and pregnant women, and our adoption pre-training groups. Since most of our children come from “hard places” (even in newborn domestic adoptions), our work is now centered around helping parents create the healing environments these children need for secure attachment and optimum development.
We are excited about our growth, the support of our Board of Directors in this new emphasis and are grateful to event supporters and donors for making this growth possible.
Miriam's Promise has been providing pregnancy counseling since its inception in 1985. Services include:
Miriam's Promise is the only entity that currently offers this type of program to women in Middle Tennessee correctional facilities. This is an ongoing program consisting of weekly group sessions of 7-8 pregnant/parenting inmates. The sessions cover issues that positively impact:
Miriam’s Promise offers a counseling program designed to provide a safe haven for children, parents and families who are going through a difficult time. A thorough assessment is done to assess each child’s individual situation before deciding on a comprehensive treatment plan. We offer specialized counseling in different areas of focus including attachment disorders, trauma due to abuse or neglect, grief and loss, and behavioral issues. We see many children who have been adopted domestically or internationally. While we do see children on an individual basis, most therapies include a component designed to include parents and equip them to deal with their children in a more effective way within the home environment. Our approach is a very holistic and comprehensive one and includes working with schools, physicians, and others who play a significant role in the child’s life.
Debbie has served as Executive Director of Miriam's Promise since l991. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University graduating Cum Laude. Debbie received a Masters of Arts from Trevecca Nazarene College and has conducted Post-Master's work there. She began work with Miriam's Promise, formerly Tennessee Conference Children's Services, in 1985 as a caseworker and served four years prior to joining Catholic Charities of Tennessee. Debbie served as Adjunct Professor from 1996-2000 for Martin Methodist College. Her professional involvement includes a variety of roles within the local, state and national arena such as service on the Families for Children National Task Force of the United Methodist Association; the Inter-Agency Adoption Coalition of Middle Tennessee; the Child Welfare League of America and the Steering Committee for State-wide Conference through the Department of Children’s Services. In 1993-96, Tennessee Adoption Law underwent a massive overhaul, the first since 1951. Debbie served as an agency liaison to the Adoption Law Commission and worked closely with the Commission meeting with legislators and adoption professionals across the state. Debbie has served as an instructor, panelist, and speaker for many seminars and workshops throughout the nation on topics such as grief counseling, coping with infertility, open adoption, teen pregnancy and adoption practices.
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Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215