A Home is More Than Simply a Shelter…

dan2The first line of the Beyond Shelter brochure reads, “A home is more than simply a shelter; it’s a foundation that allows one to focus on the future.

On June 8 three men walked into their new home for the first time. These three men who came from very different lives had one thing in common. Until that day, they were homeless. This was an emotional day for everyone. “This carpet is softer than the ground I slept on” was what one of these men said that first day. One gentleman spent his first day trying to find the recliner that was most comfortable after being discharged from the hospital earlier that day. Barely able to walk or stand for any length of time, he began to heal with a roof over his head instead of sleeping in the woods as he had the week before. “We have a fridge. We have food. I can take a shower whenever I want.”  These are all things heard that first day. Things most people take for granted. In less than sixty days the world as these three men knew it had changed.

One has already moved on and now lives independently in a house with his girlfriend. He has talked about going back to school to get a degree and a good paying job with the hope of getting involved in his young son’s life.

One has volunteered almost every day at the “Open Door” (a local program that helps recently released inmates get back on their feet). He now has a paid position there and has even been promoted to weekend supervisor and key holder. This gentleman has a passion for reading and music. He has begun building a “Free Little Library” as a way of giving back to his new neighborhood and to share his passion for reading. He continues to play his guitar and has even offered lessons to staff.

Beyond Shelter 021The third gentleman is still recovering from his knee replacement and continues to improve each day. He has physical therapy three times a week and is not only able to walk, but now rides his bike daily. He too has started to work again. Through the generosity of Goodwill’s training program, this gentleman will learn valuable job skills and get paid while rebuilding a work history.

Next week the life of another chronically homeless individual will change forever when he moves into the Beyond Shelter Home and begins to build his future…

Dan Mills
Beyond Shelter Coordinator

What I am Grateful For

I have been with Catholic Charities for over 2 years now. My feelings are the same for this organization as when I first walked in the doors. Our community is hurting and we at Catholic Charities are here to offer hope. I am grateful for the amazing group of individuals in the Wausau Office where I work. Together, we greet the many faces that enter our building, we take the time to listen to our clients to find out what their needs are, and then we do our best to assist. Sometimes, it is just an ear that the client is looking for. I am blessed to have the time with our Warming Center closed to listen and direct clients to services within our organization and the community.

Just this past week, I have gotten to know a client that has frequented our building numerous times always concerned about everyone around her. I don’t believe she ever came here asking for anything for herself. A simple conversation and a purely simple question of “What can I do for you?” led me to a sad realization that this lady was in need of many things but never inquired. Since the initial conversation, there have been many more and we are now meeting this lady’s needs; she has shoes that fit her, she has more than the one outfit that she continued to wear, and she is being matched up with other resources in the community.

I am grateful for the God given talent of striking up a conversation. I am grateful for the time Catholic Charities allows me and all the services and connections we have made in the community to assist clients. God Bless the work we do here, but God Bless our clients even more. They need us and we are here to serve!

Barbara Sugden
Wausau Warming Center Coordinator

Search Calls Filled With Fear, Excitement and Wonder

magenSome of my favorite calls lately have been search calls from Adult Adoptees. It is always very interesting when someone makes their very first phone call in the search for their birth family. The voice on the other end of the call is often filled with fear, but I can hear the excitement and wonder they have with the many questions they ask. Most are starting the search for answers such as, “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” But “why” is often one of the biggest questions they need answered. These calls for me are very reconfirming that what we do here at Catholic Charities Post Adoption Resource Center for new family education is twice as important. I love that we talk to our families about identity, being open with their children, sharing their own stories and giving them all the information they have to answer those questions.

Many of the Adult Adoptees who call us have not been told very much information about their adoption. Sometimes their adoption may have taken place over 50 years ago. I think it’s important to prepare families about what our children may feel and ask, and let them know how important it is to share what they know about adoption with them. If parents are able to answer these questions from a young age, we will have Adult Adoptees that won’t have to wonder about these questions throughout their lives. Openness creates trust!

Magen Duffy
Post Adoption Resource Specialist


Valuing The Relationship of Adoption


I have been working with a family now almost continuously for over six years. They first came to Catholic Charities at the end of 2010 hoping to become parents through adoption. Earlier that year, the couple became married. They always knew they wanted children, but because of medical issues the wife was informed by her physician that becoming pregnant and carrying a child would not be an option for her. After careful consideration of options, the couple decided they would become parents through adoption, specifically domestic adoption. Fast forward two years and the couple happily became matched with a birth mother and soon after took placement of a beautiful little girl. The family was able to meet their daughter’s birth parents and birth sister, who chose them and continue contact with their daughter’s birth parents today.

Although we know as adoption professionals that openness is what is best for all members of the adoption triad (adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents), it can sometimes be difficult for adoptive parents to come to terms with and accept. Some look at it as “shared” parenting, and some view the birth parents as a threat (will my child love his/her birth parents more than he/she loves me, etc.). This family though has remained positive in not only embracing their relationship with their daughter’s birth parents, but truly valuing that relationship and what it means to their daughter in the long run. There have been times when they haven’t been able to reach their daughter’s birth parents or know they are struggling in some way, and it’s been difficult and sad for them. They miss that contact when it’s not there and worry for their daughter’s sake that they may lose touch with them, fearing she won’t have a relationship with her birth family as she gets older. The couple now have placement of another child through adoption and are just as adamant about continuing an open adoption relationship with his birth family. In fact, there was a period of time due to some legal issues when they had to put that relationship on hold and it broke their hearts not knowing if they would ever connect with his birth mother again. Thankfully they have been able to rekindle that relationship. Rhea Adoption Family

As Mother’s Day approaches I think about the relationships birth moms have with adoptive moms. Can you imagine the magnitude of connectedness knowing that one mom conceived and carried a baby for nine months and then unselfishly allowed another family to parent that very child for a lifetime? By choosing adoption for their children, those birth mother’s made a couple experiencing the heartbreak of infertility become parents. In the same sense, the adoptive parents are recognizing that gift and unselfishly welcome these “strangers” into their hearts. I am so glad we have adoptive parents who recognize the sacrifice and unconditional love birth parents have for their children and value that their children have so many people who love them. The more, the better, right? I hope you will join us this Mother’s Day in not only honoring the exceptional adoptive moms like the one mentioned here, but also recognize Birth Mother’s Day and how without one we wouldn’t be celebrating the other. Rhea Adoption Family 2

Rhea Newman
Adoption & Pregnancy Support Social Worker

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