Thursday, May 31, 2018

Important Announcement!

Retiring and new members of the AFS Leadership Team: Rich Denman, Abby Deatherage, Joyce Moffitt, Sarah McHugh, Teri Altpeter, Sara Brunsting, Dina Ackermann, Anne Contant

It was in June, 2008 when I felt the call of God to start a ministry for adoption, foster care & Safe Families (AFS) at Willow Creek.   My area pastor put out an email inviting interested people to come to a meeting at my house. I didn’t know what to expect, but 10 very fired-up people showed up and we began brainstorming about how we could support the adoption, foster care, and Safe Families communities.  Next month it will be 10 years since that first meeting, and what an adventure it has been!

Last fall I sensed that God was leading this ministry into a new era, and early this year I made the decision to step down from the ministry at the end of May.  At the same time, God had been speaking to the hearts of some of the others on our leadership team, and several of them believed that God was prompting them to step aside as well. We all believe that God is on the move and is planning to take this ministry to the next level! We have spent the last few months as a team, planning and transitioning new leaders to carry on this much needed ministry.  Your prayers are appreciated as we are still looking for someone that can lead the foster care team, and others to join the adoption and Safe Families teams. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Abby Deatherage at

It has been a joy to walk together with so many of you on your adoption, foster care, and/or Safe Families journeys and to build this ministry at Willow Creek.  It has also been an honor to have been able to lead the most amazing leadership team I’ve ever been a part of. Their commitment to serving children, families, and to this ministry has truly been a gift from God.  I have also had the privilege of partnering with so many of you from organizations that serve the adoption, foster care and Safe Families communities.  I have learned so much from you and am continually inspired by the passionate work that you do.

I may have the opportunity to contribute to this blog from time to time, but for the most part, it will be updated by folks from the Adoption, Foster Care and Safe Families teams.

Thank you for trusting me and this ministry for the past decade. I’m excited to see what God will do next! I wish you all of God’s blessings as you continue your journey.

Dina Ackermann

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Adoption Community Picnic!

Adoption Community Picnic 

Join us for an evening of fun and food with other adoptive families!

A photographer will be taking free family photos.
Saturday, June 9th from 4 to 8p.m.
Butterfield Park
375 W. First Street
Elmhurst, IL 60126
A main entree and water will be provided.
Please bring a side dish or dessert (with serving utensils), chairs, and any lawn games.
Please R.S.V.P. to and
let us know the number of adults and children (with their ages) you will be bringing.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Hosted by the Adoption Ministry at Willow Creek Community Church

Monday, May 7, 2018

Adoption Education Opportunities!

Upcoming Family Education Opportunities: May 2018

Learn from the comfort of your home! Bethany offers a variety of national family training opportunities to help you learn and succeed as parents. Opportunities include valuable conference alls and webinars, designed for families currently in the adoption process or post-adoption.

Here's a look at our upcoming training sessions. Be sure to register early for each event by using the "register now" link provided. Space is limited.

Behavioral Matching

(Trust Based Parenting
Conference Call Series)

The Trust-Based Parenting Conference Call Series offers in-depth training for parents of children with early trauma. In this session, we will learn about Behavior Matching and Voice Quality. We will explore our own childhood experience of how adults engaged with us and how to use TBRI Engagement Strategies for Organized and Disorganized Attachments. You will have the option to join via phone or internet.
1 hour certificate.

Thursday, May 10, 2018
8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. EST
Register Now

Thursday, May 10, 2018
9:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. EST
Reigster Now

Depression After Adoption

(Family Education Webinar Series)

Participants will learn how a new adoptive parent can experience similar features of postpartum depression. This webinar will review symptoms, treatment, risk factors, and coping strategies. How an I, as a new parent, feel sad and hopeless, accomplishing our goal of adoption? You are not alone.
1.5 hours certificate.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
8:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. EST
Register Now


Upcoming Family Education Opportunities


Sharing Power 

(Trust Based Parenting
Conference Call Series)


The Trust-Based Parenting Conference Call Series offers in-depth training for parents of children with early trauma. This monthly call features some basic concepts of the TBRI model to practice each month and add techniques through the year. Be ready to learn and talk about TBRI techniques via phone or internet.
1 hour certificate.

Thursday, June 14, 2018
8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. EST
Register Now

Thursday, June 14, 2018
9:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. EST
Register Now

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Fall TBRI Workshops at Holt-Sunnyridge!

Monday, April 23, 2018

They're Adopting Twins!

Sarah McHugh has been a part of the Adoption, Foster Care & Safe Families Ministry at Willow Creek for about 3 years and  has been a driving force in a leadership role, supporting children and  families in our ministry.

We are thrilled for Sarah and her husband Zach, that they have been chosen to adopt twin babies that are due to be born in July!  While this is reason to get excited, their budget didn't anticipate the extra cost of adopting twins from out of state. 
Can you help?

A page has been set up to make giving a donation easy, and all donations are tax deductible.
If you'd like to learn more about Zach and Sarah,  you can visit Sarah's blog, or watch their adoption video.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I Can’t Ask Friends and Family to Fund Our Adoption. Can I?

The following is taken from the Lifesong blog.
Published 3/9/2018 


Asking for money for any reason is hard. Asking for money to fund an adoption is no easier. But is it wrong?


Here are 3 questions to consider–

1. Why are you asking for financial support?

Adoption is expensive, but expense–alone–isn’t always enough of a reason to ask other people for help.
Many adopting families ask for help because the amount of money required in a short timeline far exceeds their ability to pay. For example, according to Adoptive Families Magazine, the average fees for a domestic adoption in the United States are $39,966. Many adoption agencies require a bulk of that money up front to handle application, homestudy, and agency fees, etc. While coming up with $39,966 over several years may be possible, coming up with it in a matter of months may be another story altogether. If God has clearly led your family to adopt, He may clearly lead you to humble yourself and ask for help.
Note to adopting families: If God has called you to adopt and you are asking friends and family to contribute financially, take the time to explain why the financial help is vital. Be willing to share God’s heart for the fatherless and your specific call to adopt. If it applies to you, be clear that adoption is overwhelmingly expensive, and most candidates for adopting don’t have access to the required fees in the required timeline.

2. How are you asking for financial support?

The how in this case is as important as the why.
Just as God has prompted you to adopt, so, too, He will prompt the right people to support your adoption. In many ways, this is a fantastic way for friends and family to participate in caring for fatherless children whether or not God has called them to adopt. But still, we must ask correctly. Make the need known, but be careful not to over-request. Host as few fundraisers as possible with the lowest possible overhead cost so that every dollar goes as far as possible. If someone gives generously to your adoption, take that person off of future fundraising requests. He or she now knows you are adopting and will give again if God directs.
Note to adopting families: Begin by making the need known to your closest friends and family. Writing a personal letter has proven to be very effective in this regard. Be sure to celebrate every gift–no matter the size–through prayers of praise and notes of gratitude. Also, very often, your inner circle will be happy to give generously without the need to buy t-shirts or jewelry.
Do you want to help your friends’ and families’ gifts go further? Consider applying for a matching grant or fundraising support through Lifesong. We even have a free crowdfunding tool for our approved families to use!

3. What are you contributing financially to your adoption?

Be certain when asking others to contribute to your adoption that you are contributing all you can. While your life should not end while you wait to adopt your child, enjoying expensive dinners out or posting photos of extraordinary vacations while asking people to help with your adoption may send the wrong message. If God has called you to adopt, He may be calling you to sacrifice immediate luxuries … and that’s OK. You won’t regret sacrificial obedience to God.
Bottom line: Asking friends and family to help isn’t wrong if it’s done in the right way for the right reasons. And most importantly?–Where God leads, God provides.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
–2 Corinthians 9:8

Money should never be the reason children don’t have families.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Safe Families Volunteer Training at Willow Creek!

Are you ready to step out onto the water and take a leap of faith? Looking for a way to help the kids and families who are struggling? We challenge you to DO SOMETHING.
Safe Families for Children is a movement fueled by compassion to keep children safe and families intact. We rely upon host families, and a network of support, to open their arms, their hearts, and their homes.
Safe Families Volunteer Training
Saturday, May 5th, 2018
Willow Creek Community Church, Room B206
67 E. Algonquin Road, So. Barrington, IL


This event is designed to equip you to welcome a child into your home (Host Family) or support a host or placing parent (Family Friend) and move you through the training process efficiently. The live Comprehensive Training Session includes everything you need to become a certified Safe Family Volunteer—all in one place. 
  • Start or submit your application
  • Get fingerprints taken for the background check
  • Complete your training hours
  • Meet like-minded families who will support you
The training will be in two parts.  The first 2 1/2 hours will be for all volunteers. The second 1 1/2  hours will be for Host Families.  So, anyone interested in being a Family Friend only needs to stay for the first part.  Host Families need to stay for the whole training.
Doors open at 8:30 AM for those who need to start an application, schedule a home study, start a background check, or ask one-on-one questions.  The training session begins at 9:00 AM sharp!
A light breakfast and lunch is included.

Email us at with questions,

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Adoption, Foster Care, Safe Families for Children Open House!

Adoption, Foster Care, Safe Families for Children
Open House!

Wednesday, April 11th
7:30 - 8:45
Willow Creek Community Church
Room F280 (Hospitality Room)

Come learn about adoption, foster care, and Safe Families for Children and learn how you can get involved in these growing ministries at Willow Creek.

Interested in serving kids in foster care?  Representatives from C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Royal Family Kids Camp, and Teen Reach Adventure Camp will be on hand to show you ways you can get involved.

No registration necessary.  Questions? Email

Thursday, March 1, 2018

IL Adoption Law

Public Act 96-0895, which became effective May 21, 2010, makes it possible for an adult adoptee or surrendered person born in Illinois, who is 21 years or older, to request a non-certified copy of his or her original birth. This act also allows birth parents of adopted or surrendered persons born on or after January 1, 1946, to specify their wishes with regard to contact and to the release of their identifying information.

Public Act 98-0704, which became effective January 1, 2015, makes it possible for a birth mother or birth father of an adult adopted person born in Illinois to request a non-certified copy of the original birth record as it was filed at the time of the birth.  

You can find more information about the Illinois state adoption law HERE.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When Church is a Challenge for Kids

When life is a struggle, Believers want and NEED church. We desire fellowship with others, corporate worship, and being led through Scripture for a nugget of God’s peace that passes all understanding. Unfortunately for many foster and adoptive parents, the idea of going to church may also bring up feelings of anxiety.
  • Should I try to have my child attend Sunday School or will the separation be too much for them?
  • Will people think that my kids are “out of control” because they struggle to self-regulate?
  • Is it worth trying to actually get my kids to church?
  • Will I be called out of service repeatedly if my child experiences a meltdown?
  • Should I take my child even though he might be so overstimulated that it will take the whole rest of the day to help him regulate?
  • Read more about foster/adoptive families’ experiences, here's a great place to start.

At Project 1.27, part of our mission is to help equip churches to support foster and adoptive families. As you think about your church, or the church your foster/adoptive family attends, consider the church culture and how it responds to children from hard places and the parents who care for them. Does the church leadership prioritize foster and adoptive ministries? Do the children’s programs seek to accommodate a child from hard places through extra training and understanding? Are there opportunities to engage the church congregation to think more about serving kids in foster care or those who have been adopted?

How can I help my church become more foster and adoptive friendly?
  • Investigate your church culture through asking foster/adoptive families about their experience in church.
  • Explore additional resources or ministries your church could offer to support foster/adoptive families.
  • Schedule a time to talk with someone in leadership at your church about what you have learned and the need that exists at your church.
  • Contact Project 1.27’s new Family Care Team Manager, Marilyn Robinson (, if your church leadership is interested in developing more strategic ways to support foster and adoptive families.