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Follow along with NewFound Families as we work to support families. In this news column we seek to provide current information about the admininistration of the child welfare system. Become part of our community and join us on Facebook.

It is sometimes hard to imagine after all you have put into the holidays to make it special for EVERYONE that some might be feeling a bit sad or even angry. We have heard throughout the years that children in foster care will often have unresolved conflict with holiday celebrations. Here are some that come to mind and a couple with helpful hints.

It was 10 years ago that we developed this organization as FACES of Virginia Families: Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Association. We are still the only family support and respite organization in Virginia. However, during this past 10 years more and more organizations have been incorporated using the name FACES. As a result, we are no longer distinguishable by our name alone. In the past, we have even received donation checks that were intended for other FACES organizations and had to find them and send them the check. 

From Compassion Fatigue to Compassion Satisfaction.

So, let’s say that you have 4 children living in your home. Each one with their own set of demands on your schedule from therapy appointments, to worker and parent visits, school outings, homework, and so much more. You do all of this out of love and compassion, and by the end of the day all you want to do is fall back onto your bed and collapse…forget about brushing your teeth, doing the dishes…just collapse. With all of that who has time to think about self-care. You may actually be thinking I don’t even have time to read this blog. I understand. I, also, must ask you to please take the time. Your first step toward self-care and compassion satisfaction may begin by reading this article.

"The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet."- Dr. Naomi Rachel Remen

Do any of these things EVER apply to you, if so, you just might want to keep reading…

  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Worry that you are not doing enough for the traumatized person
  • Diminished joy toward things that you used to enjoy
  • Blaming others for the difficulties you are experiencing
  • Feeling hopeless for the traumatized person
  • Dreaming about the traumatized person’s experiences
  • Physical AND Mental Exhaustion
  • Rejecting intimacy
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Low self image
  • Detachment from your friends and loved ones
  • Accidents and errors
  • Lack of Flexibility
  • Memory difficulties

Welcome to our creative corner! Where we will chronicle the continued growth and development of FACES of Virginia Families and the wisdom that comes from our collective community of foster, adoptive, and kinship families here in Virginia.

My name is Cate Hawks and I am the Founding Executive Director of FACES of Virginia Families. I am looking forward to writing for you about the lessons I learn from families just like yours.

Tonight, I would like to focus on a new development we are considering at FACES of Virginia Families.

Gary Allison, an adoption attorney from Virginia Beach, passed away last Thursday. Gary was an outstanding practitioner of adoption law establishing a reputation throughout Virginia for his competency and compassion.

A Memorial Service will be help on May 20 at 5:00-8PM at the offices of Shupert Law, 1333 Laskin Road Virginia Beach, VA 23451.

Please consider making a donation to FACES of Virginia Families in honor of Gary Allison. Read on for more about Gary and FACES, including a video of our low-cost Camp FACES that illustrates some of the work we do for adoptive, kinship, and foster families in Virginia.


gary-allison-memorialGary Allison was a native of Ohio and moved to Virginia in the 1970s. He passed the Virginia State Bar in April 1976 and began practicing law in the City of Virginia Beach. In his early career, he became a strong litigator while serving as a prosecutor for eight years for the City of Virginia Beach and then went into private practice.

Gary's compassion for children led to a successful family law practice focusing on adoption. Gary became an outstanding practitioner of adoption law establishing a reputation throughout Virginia for his competency and compassion. Gary touched many lives, not only of children in need of a family to love them, but families in need of children to love. Gary had a mutual respect with the judges and courthouse staff in the local courts and was known by his colleagues as the go-to attorney when custody and adoption cases were complicated.

He was a long time member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and represented adoptive parents as well as birth parents, touching lives not only in Virginia, but throughout the Country.

Although Gary was known as a workaholic during most of his career, he traveled and hiked throughout the world and practiced and instructed yoga. Three years ago Gary was diagnosed with a rare cancer and fought it while savoring each day enjoying life. Gary retired in November 2013 and moved with his Wife, Cornelia, to Canada, while undergoing treatment in Seattle, Washington. Gary passed away April 23, 2015.

Gary was a credit to his profession and to humanity and he will be missed.


FACES of Virginia Families provides educational, advocacy, and support services to families caring for children unable to live with their birth parents. We are a non-profit organization with advanced ruling 501 C(3) status and recognized as a corporation by the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

FACES provides free assistance and direction to anyone who calls, runs low-cost weekend camp for adoptive families, educational webinars, training to foster parents--including matching them with a more experienced family to mentor them, advocacy, and more. Below is a video from Camp FACES in 2014.

NewFound Families

Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Association
PO Box 85
Ashland, VA 23005
Email for information