From:                              Christy Obie-Barrett [] on behalf of Christy Obie-Barrett []

Sent:                               Wednesday, January 05, 2011 12:23 AM


Subject:                          Family Finding AFFEC January 2011



A Family For Every Child

Family Finding (541-343-2856)

880 Beltline Rd. Springfield, OR 97477 

A Family For Every Child

January 2011

A Family For Every Child

880 Beltline Rd.

Springfield, OR 97477



Faith, hope and miracles make special Christmas memories

By Judith McGinnis, Times Record News  


Today many will remember a Christmas miracle long ago, when the birth of a child in Bethlehem brought the promise of peace on earth, good will to all men.

Life in the modern world can make it difficult to believe miracles still happen. Conversations with people who work with local social service agencies however remind us, however, that divine intervention still exists. That at Christmas time and throughout the year, good things can still happen to people who had little hope they ever would.

In the famous children's book "The Polar Express," the gift of a sleigh bell restores the true spirit of Christmas for a little boy who thought he might be too old to believe.

Just such a bell recently passed this spirit on to an 11-year-old local boy, his three siblings and the father they barely knew.

"The children had been in foster care about six months, removed because their mother was physically abusive," said Suzanne Stone, outreach and education director for Child Advocates. "The mom had kept the biological dad away from the kids, so they hadn't seen him very often."

Click Here to Read Full Article



Mother and daughter reunite after 22 years; thanks to MySpace 

By Brittany Earl


WISCONSIN RAPIDS(WAOW)--After years of searching and coming up with nothing, a mother and daughter who grew up miles apart and never knew it are reunited through My-Space.

This Christmas, Julie Drost is thankful to spend time with her daughter, something she missed out on for 22 years.

Julie Drost, biological mother of Gina says, "Not a day went by that we didn't think about her."

Drost was 18 when she gave birth but was unable to take care of a baby. Years later the pair searched for one another, Kocher always knew her biological mothers real name. Eventually Kocher typed her biological mom's name into the social networking site MySpace and got a hit.

"She was the 4th profile down and sure enough I clicked on it and her little bio said I have been looking for my daughter all my whole life, it felt like an open door it was my opening right there to say hey here I am," said Kocher.

Kocher sent a message to Drost hoping to connect with her past.

"I had no idea what to write it was very intimidating to sit there and think of something to say to someone you've been wanting to meet your whole life," said Kocher.

Two days later they spoke on the phone for the first time, making plans to meet over dinner.

"I thought I would run up to her and cry but I didn't do that I didn't know what to do. It was afterwards I hugged her. The whole situation it's like wow it's finally here," said Drost.

It was then Drost realized the daughter she gave up was never far. Kocher's adoptive family lived just five miles from Drost, in a neighboring town in Illinois.

Kocher says, "I worked two jobs that she could potentially see me at." "I probably went to the check out when you were there and didn't even know it," said Drost.

Almost three years later, the women are inseparable both now live in Wisconsin. Kocher met her husband in Wisconsin Rapids and got married and had a baby. Kocher says she is thankful she found her mom Julie Drost so she could be part of it all.

Both Kocher and Drost say they believe they found each other when they were suppose to.



Finding a Family: Robert's Story 

By Dana Arquilla


The holidays are usually spent with families, friends and loved ones. But sometimes we take for granted what we've been given. In today's "Finding A Family" segment, we meet a young boy whose only wish for Christmas is to find a permanent home.


On the court, he's a one-shot wonder. And basketball isn't his only game. Robert tells us he's also thinking of playing in the NFL.

But off the court, he's struggling to find the one thing that matters most to him.

"A mom and a dad," he said.

Why is that so important for him to find a mom and a dad?

"Because I'd get a lot of attention and respect from them. And, I'd just get to hang out with them a lot," he explained.

Robert's spirit is as strong as his game -- even though he's been bounced around from family to family.

What's the hardest part of not having a family? "Not having a real mom and dad," he said. "Not live in a foster home."

But now, his one wish for Christmas is to find a home team.

He describes his "perfect" family to us: "Loving and kind of strict ... Because if you get in trouble, they'll punish you because they love you."

Robert's mentor has helped him through tough times, but says these circumstances haven't changed who he is.

"He's so respectful, has wonderful manners, and he's just so fun to be around," said Abbey Wilson.

If Abbey had one word to describe Robert, she would describe him as "loving."

This time of year is especially hard for Robert.

When I asked him what else falls on Christmas day, his first response was "Jesus' birthday."

Robert turns 12 on Christmas day. And what's top on both of his lists?

"Find a mom and dad that truly loves me."



Being a Family Finding volunteer does not require any special education or background, simply the desire to help abused and neglected foster children find their family members and community connections that do care for them and want to play a supportive, loving and healthy role in their lives.  

Often times, the rewards of being a Family Finding volunteer are not immediate, but there are many rewards in helping these children. Our Family Finding volunteers are considered "Special Advocates" for the children. 

Many of our Family Finding volunteers say it's been an intensive, heart-wrenching experience. It's hard to see something that needs to be done when so many other issues are being addressed. But despite the heartache, they say they're very glad they got involved. Are you ready to stand up for a child who needs you?

The first steps are completing the application materials, passing a background check and participate in 5 hours of training modules. After successfully completing the training modules, the volunteer is assigned his/her first case. A volunteer's average time commitment to a case is approximately 5-10 hours per month. Volunteers are asked to stay with a case until it is closed, 3 months on average.


To find out more about the AFFEC Family Finding Program go to or call: (541) 343-2856 or stop by our office to pick up the application packet 880 Beltline Road - Springfield, OR 97477. Intersection of I5 & Beltline, behind the Shari's Restaurant, or go to our website and start the application process under "Family Finding" tab.



2011 Additional Family Finding Resources  


There is an excellent tutorial for those who are new to family research at; everyone starting out in genealogy should understand the basics and this tutorial covers them. After you complete the tutorial, the following is a basic plan and generally only requires the tools that you already have like your computer and Internet service provider.


Another free online resource is the Latter Day Saints/Mormon site, which has many free online records at and original documents on their pilot site at

They have also just added a new Beta site that has a few more databases, which you might find useful at: In addition to their online records, they have Family History Centers where you can go for personalized help with research and look at microfilm and while they will not do your research for you they will help you, a lot.


USGen Web is another free online resource at This site is packed with how-to tips, queries and records for every state and most counties within those states.


There is Rootsweb at

a free site hosted by where you can search for surnames, post queries on the message boards and subscribe to surname mailing lists.


Be sure to check each state that you need information from as many have their own projects, for example, the state of Missouri has a great website that has many free source documents online at

and South Carolina has many free wills and other court documents at this link.


Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites, 2010

You may have to register for their free newsletter to access this list but you will find that helpful also.


The only site that is included on this list that has some links that are free and some that are not is Cyndi's List but it will be well worth your time to look through the list for the free websites because of their quality:


For specific dates only: If they died in the USA they are probably on the SSDI,

but that won't tell you much about them.


If they are on find-a-grave

their obituary may be there too. It may not. Surprisingly great numbers of relatives listed. You will need some basic information.



40-year journey leads Charlotte woman to biological family  


By Sonja Gantt/ Newschannel 36


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This Christmas will be extra special for one Charlotte woman. She is spending it with the brother she thought she would never find.

It's been a nearly 40-year journey for Sylvia Russell.

"This is the book that my adopted mom made for me," said Russell, who knew from an early age that she was adopted. "I think the most important part is how she wrote in there, I didn't grow in the tummy but I grew in the heart. ... It was a good childhood. I didn't want for anything. They provided very well."

Inside the baby book was the only clue about how her life started.

"There's my adoptive mom and dad and there's my birth mom," she said, pointing to a photo.

But Russell didn't think much about the picture of her biological mother until she was 14. That's when the only mother she'd ever known died of ovarian cancer, and then that picture in the book took on new meaning. Click Here to Read Full Article



Orphan Trains  


The Orphan Train was a social experiment that transported children from crowded coastal cities of the United States to the country's Midwest for adoption. Two charity institutions, The Children's Aid Society (established by Charles Loring Brace) and The New York Foundling Hospital determined to help these children. The two institutions developed a program that placed homeless city children into homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains which were eventually labeled "orphan trains." This period of mass relocation of children in the United States is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America.  

The orphan trains ran between 1854 and 1929, relocating an estimated 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children. At the time the orphan train movement began, it was estimated that 30,000 vagrant children were living on the streets of New York City.


Interesting reads on Orphan Trains:


Fly Little Bird Fly by Donna Nordmark Aviles (2004) 69 pages

"Holding tight to one another, vowing never to be separated, Oliver and Edward board the Orphan Train headed west to find a new home." The year is 1906 and the boys have been told that their mother has died and they are now alone. Follow the adventures of the Nordmark brothers as they travel on America's Orphan train from the streets of New York City to the vast farmlands of the Midwest. The true story of Oliver Nordmark.


Beyond the Orphan Train by Donna Nordmark Aviles (2004) 120 pages

In this sequel to Fly Little Bird Fly, Oliver and Edward Nordmark are young boys who are sent west in 1906 to Kansas. After being sent to different farms, the brothers lose track of one another. In 1913, fifteen-year-old Oliver decides to hop a freight train and strike out on his own in hopes of finding his lost brother. Follow Oliver's true story of adventure and discovery.


Orphan Train Riders by Tom Riley 188 pages

A brief history of the Orphan Train Era (1854-1929) with entrance records from the American Female Guardian Society's Home for the Friendless in New York.


Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story by Andrea Warren (1996) 80 pages

The book has alternating chapters on the history of the orphan trains and the true story of one of the riders, Lee Nailling - who rode in 1926 to Texas.


The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America by Marilyn Irvin Holt (1994) 248 pages


Freelance writer Holt carefully analyzes the system of the orphan trains, initially instituted by the New York Children's Aid Society in 1853, tracking its imitators as well as the reasons for its creation and demise. She captures the children's perspective with the judicious use of oral histories, institutional records, and newspaper accounts.


Plains Bound: Fragile Cargo by Charlotte M. Endorf and illustrated by Sarah M. Endorf (2005) 87 pages


In a series of interviews with Orphan Train riders and their descendants, Charlotte Endorf shares their touching stories. Most of the riders included in this book were sent to Nebraska from New York.



Princess for a Day Event Update  


We are starting to plan our 2011 "Princess for a Day" event and would love to have your help. Our goal this year is to have 300 girls, but we need you!

First Princess Volunteer Meeting:  

~This Thursday~                              

January 6th, 5:30pm

880 Beltline Rd.

Springfield, OR


If you would like to get involved in the planning of the Princess for a Day event, please join us this Thursday for our first committee meeting!



Still needed roles:

Lead/head Organizer for hair and makeup


Tea Room Organizer


Accessories Coordinator


Designing and printing invites


Gathering donated dresses and accessories



How can you contact A Family For Every Child?
Call, email, or visit us online or in person!

contactus880 Beltline Rd.
Springfield Oregon 97477

office - 541-343-2856
toll free - 877-343-2856
fax - 541-343-2866

Executive Director--Christy Obie-Barrett



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