Opening Doors to Hope and Belonging
Opening Doors to Hope and Belonging

Opening Doors to Hope and Belonging

Introducing DePaul’s first podcast…Opening Doors to Hope and Belonging!

We believe in the power of open communication and shared stories…that’s really where the idea for this podcast began. Our goal with the Opening Doors podcast is to explore the worlds of foster care, adoption, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. We want to help share stories from the populations we love and serve every day. We also want to take a broader look at vulnerable and forgotten populations outside the walls of DePaul. We think those stories deserve to be shared too.

This podcast is a chance for us to learn and grow together and we can’t wait to get started!

Listen Now:

Find Us On:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn/Alexa

Season 1 Episode Information:

Episode 1 – Foster Care Basics

  • Guest: Kate Means, DePaul’s director of foster care and independent living
  • Questions: What is most important for people to understand about foster care? What does foster-to-adopt mean? Where do prospective foster parents start? How will COVID-19 affect the foster care system?

Episode 2 – Life As Foster Parents

  • Guests: Debra and Brett Martin, DePaul foster parents
  • Questions: What is life like as a foster parent? What expectations did you have going into the process? What is the most challenging part? What is the best part? What advice do you have for other foster parents?

Episode 3 – Foster Care Myth Busters

  • Guests: Emily Moore and Chris Tompkins, regional recruiters for DePaul
  • In this episode, myths surrounding foster care are debunked and questions about the process are answered.

Episode 4 – The Power of Independent Living

  • Guests: Chelsie Wilson, independent living supervisor and Chelséa Lewis, former independent living program participant
  • Along the often-challenging road to independence, DePaul’s Independent Living (IL) program offers support to young people as they transition from life in foster care to life as adults. Join host Alison Wickline as she discusses the program with DePaul staff as well as an individual who credits the program with changing her life.

Episode 5 – Sponsored Residential Basics

  • Guest: Amber Wieringo, director of residential services
  • Questions: What is the sponsored residential program at DePaul? What does it mean to be a compassionate caregiver? How can a sponsored home be beneficial for an individual with a developmental or intellectual disability? Why would you encourage someone to consider becoming a compassionate caregiver or to find a sponsored home for their loved one with a disability?

Episode 6 – A Conversation with a Compassionate Caregiver

  • Guest: Anthony Hancock, DePaul sponsored residential provider
  • DePaul’s sponsored residential home providers, or compassionate caregivers, empower individuals with disabilities to be active members of families, experience community involvement, and find normalcy in everyday life. Join host Alison Wickline as she sits down with a compassionate caregiver to learn more about opening your heart and home to an individual in need.

Episode 7 – Introduction to Medicaid Waivers-Part One

  • Guest: Emily Moore, regional recruiter for DePaul
  • Join host Alison Wickline and DePaul regional recruiter Emily Moore for Part One of an introduction to the complex topic of Medicaid waivers. This episode is a chance to learn more about the two Medicaid waiver programs that provide services for individuals with disabilities, the Commonwealth Coordinated Care (CCC) Plus waiver and the Developmental Disabilities (DD) waiver.

Episode 8 – Introduction to Medicaid Waivers-Part Two

  • Guest: Emily Moore, regional recruiter for DePaul
  • Join host Alison Wickline and DePaul regional recruiter Emily Moore as they discuss the complex topic of Medicaid waivers for individuals with disabilities. Part Two of the series focuses on the services available and how to access them.

Episode 9 – A Foster Child Comes Full Circle

  • Guest: Shannon Shepherd, adoption specialist and supervisor at DePaul
  • Shannon is an adoption specialist and supervisor at DePaul. She also grew up in and out of the foster care system, giving her a unique connection to the work she does every day. Join host Alison Wickline as she discusses Shannon’s emotional full-circle journey.
  • Click here to read more of Shannon’s story.

Episode 10 – Open Home, Open Heart, Open Mind

  • Guest: Gabby Range, DePaul foster parent
  • J.D. and Gabby Range started their foster care journey with open minds and open hearts. They hoped the journey would eventually lead to an adoption, but they were committed to changing a child’s life either way. In this episode, host Alison Wickline is joined by Gabby to discuss the importance of having an open home, open heart, and open mind.
  • Click here to read more about the Ranges.

Episode 11 – The Value of Support and Connection

  • Guests: Amy Burns, regional manager of community-based services, Molly McPike-Copenhaver, ICC coordinator and clinician, and Zaria Parks, clinician
  • When children and families find themselves at a crossroads where clinical services are necessary to heal and move forward, DePaul’s Community-Based Services are there to guide the way. In this episode, host Alison Wickline is joined by members of the community-based services team to discuss the program as well as new support groups for teenagers in need.
  • Click here to learn more about DePaul’s Community-Based Services program.
  • Click here to learn more about support groups at DePaul.

Episode 12 – Finding Forever Families with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids

  • Guest: Morgan Bays-Simpson, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter at DePaul
  • In this episode, host Alison Wickline and guest Morgan discuss the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and more specifically, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Foundation funds recruiters, like Morgan, who use a child-focused model to find permanent homes for children in foster care.
  • Click here to learn more about Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Episode 13 – Choosing Compassionate Care for Their Child

  • Guests: Joyce Morrison, compassionate caregiver and Jessica St. Clair, parent who chose compassionate care for daughter
  • DePaul’s sponsored residential providers are committed and compassionate caregivers who open their homes to children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In this episode, host Alison Wickline is speaking with one of those compassionate caregivers, Joyce. Joyce cares for 11-year-old Lily, and Lily’s mom, Jessica, is also joining  the episode to discuss her family’s decision to seek compassionate care for Lily.
  • Click here to learn more about DePaul’s Sponsored Residential program.

Episode 14 – A Unique Kind of Loss

  • Guest: Kate Means, DePaul’s director of foster care and independent living
  • Ambiguous loss is an experience foster kids face every day. Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone in the world can empathize, as we have all experienced the loss of things that aren’t really gone, but aren’t there anymore (far-away family, routines, school friends, etc.). Join host Alison Wickline and Kate Means, director of foster care and independent living, for an informative and eye-opening discussion about this unique kind of loss.
  • To learn more about ambiguous loss, check out these resources:
  1. https://www.ambiguousloss.com/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-sickness-and-in-health/202005/covid-19-and-ambiguous-loss
  3. https://www.fosterclub.com/foster-parent-training/course/wounded-spirit-grief-and-loss-foster-care
  4. https://www.nacac.org/resource/ambiguous-loss-foster-and-adopted-children/
  5. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/06/covid-grieving-life

Episode 15 – Seeking, Support, Help, and Hope

  • Guest: Laura Boardwine, DePaul adoptive parent
  • DePaul’s Community-Based Services program offers a variety of interventions and supports to youth and families in need. In this episode, host Alison Wickline is joined by Laura Boardwine, whose two adopted children are currently receiving counseling and in-home services. Alison and Laura discuss the decision to seek support for Laura’s children, the stigma that comes with asking for help, and the effect of community-based services on her family.
  • Click here to learn more about DePaul’s Community-Based Services program or to make a referral.

Season 2 Episode Information:

Episode 1 – Born Into Foster Care

  • Guest: Shelly Hutson, former DePaul foster parent
  • Children enter the foster care system at all ages, some when they are older, some when they are very young. This episode is all about a baby who entered the world and the foster care system and a family who made a commitment to unconditional love.

Episode 2 – Let’s Talk About Legislative Advocacy

  • Guest: Emily Moore, DePaul regional recruiter and legislative advocacy committee leader
  • The goal of DePaul’s Legislative Advocacy Committee is to stay informed and vocal about government policy that makes an impact on the work we do and the people we serve. Ahead of the 2021 Virginia General Assembly Session, Emily Moore joins host Alison Wickline to discuss what to watch for and what to expect during the session.

Episode 3 – Get Involved: Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children

  • Guest: Katie Van Patten, program director, CASA of the Roanoke Valley
  • Back in Season 1, host Alison Wickline listed some ways to get involved outside the walls of DePaul. One of those ways was to become a CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, volunteer. In this episode, Alison is joined by CASA Program Director for the Roanoke Valley Katie Van Patten to discuss this impactful and important work.
  • Click here to learn more about CASA programs across Virginia.
  • Click here to visit the national CASA program website.

Episode 4 – The Impact of a Pandemic on Foster Youth Aging Out

  • Guest: Meredith Breeden, DePaul independent living specialist
  • Every year, roughly 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system in the United States. When they age out, they face significant challenges in meeting their needs for health care, education, employment, housing and emotional support. But what happens to those youth when a pandemic hits? In this episode, host Alison Wickline searches for those answers and also speaks with DePaul Independent Living Specialist Meredith Breeden to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth in DePaul’s program.
  • Click here to learn more about DePaul’s Independent Living program.

Episode 5 – Self-Care and Filling Your Cup

  • Guests: Lise Martin, regional trainer at DePaul, and Becky Sellers, clinician at DePaul
  • During this pandemic, you might have transitioned to a new way of working or you might have lost your job. You might be struggling with managing childcare. You may be worried about your health and the health of those around you. It’s a lot, and research says self-care can be an important part of weathering these storms. So let’s talk about self-care and the importance of it right now. Join host Alison Wickline, along with Lise Martin and Becky Sellers for this informative and encouraging discussion.
  • Click here to find more self-care resources and information.

Episode 6 – A Goat, A Goal, and What It Means to Be Brave

  • Guest: Amy Burns, a licensed professional counselor, supervisor, and site leader for DePaul’s Abingdon office
  • Last summer, DePaul Community Resources was thrilled to announce the release of A Goat’s Tale: Billie the Fainting Goat Learns to be Brave by author Amy Burns and illustrated by Julianne Orr. In this episode, host Alison Wickline will introduce you to this interactive and educational story about a fainting goat. She’ll also catch up with Amy to discuss her work and the journey to get here.
  • Click here to learn more about the book and how to order.

Episode 7 – New Journeys and Lifting the Net

  • Guest: Micki Brumfield, DePaul sponsored residential provider
  • Micki Brumfield and her husband, Chris, have been sponsored residential providers with DePaul Community Resources, or as we like to call them compassionate caregivers, since 2011. If you’re not familiar with the sponsored residential program, it offers children and adults with disabilities compassionate care in a home-based setting. In this episode, host Alison Wickline and Micki discuss her family’s journey and the two amazing women whose lives changed and who have changed lives.

Have an idea for an Opening Doors to Hope and Belonging episode? Email awickline@depaulcr.org.