Last week, some of our Little Flower staff had the opportunity to join a training session with Sarah Lee, an accredited Counseling Psychologist from Hong Kong. Sarah Lee has experience in working at university, schools and non-government organizations.
During her first two days with us, she worked with our Beijing Group Home foster parents. Most of our parents have raised their own children who have grown up and moved out of the house. Though they're experienced parents, they don’t have backgrounds in social work, psychology, or medicine. Our Group Home manager and our staff are constantly supporting our foster parents and the children in their care, but the types of training provided by volunteers like Sarah are a wonderful supplement, to help them further understand the psychological support the children might need.
The training session with Sarah developed more and more into a vibrant dialogue and Q&A round, during which our parents could bring up their biggest questions and concerns. Sarah was a great listener, helping these parents to articulate their thoughts as well.
In addition to talking about the children, this training was a good occasion for an exchange among the foster parents about their own experiences. They devote their lives to these children and the families that they have formed. Of course, when they find that a child in their care has been adopted, it can be a difficult experience. To “lose” a child they’ve taken care of for years is always an emotionally difficult moment. Sarah managed to let the foster parents see this event more positively--to see the adoption as a very positive development for the child rather than as a personal loss.
The training on the third day was held at the Little Flower Early Education Center. This time, the teachers sat down at the small tables that their students normally use, and listened carefully to Sarah's presentation. More of an informative lecture than a dialogue format this time, she reviewed the several stages of childhood development, and the changing needs and requirements of children at each stage.