Tidewater Parent: IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Wishing Well Adoption and Family Services
POSTED ON MAY 7, 2014 BY SARAH JOHNSON IN IN THE SPOTLIGHT, KID HEALTH + SAFETY, OTHER TOPICS, PARENTING
Linda Michie began advocating for children 14 years ago.
Having finished her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice Services, she began working on her Master’s in Urban Studies at ODU. She took a job at the University’s Social Science Research Center where she learned how to design Program Evaluations. Her first evaluation was for a school program. The program was receiving rave reviews and gaining a popular reputation. The data showed the program to have no positive impact on the intended educational scores. She was hooked.
Linda worked in family research for 5 years when the city of Virginia Beach offered her a position as a child protective services investigator. She worked in private therapeutic foster care, as a case manager, and as a supervisor, and for the past 7 years as an advocate for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system.
This past November Linda decided to venture out on her own. She wanted to use all the knowledge she had gained through her education and her career, and on May 9, she opened Wishing Well Adoption & Family Services LLC, a state licensed child placing agency.
The new firm assists in the adoption process by conducting home studies for families who are preparing to adopt, or take custody of a child. At Wishing Well, prospective parents can complete their home studies, their mandatory pre-adoptive parent training, and meet their post-placement supervision requirements after the child has been placed in their home. Birth parents can receive counseling concerning the adoption process and discuss what choices, and rights they have, as well as learn about the families that are hoping to adopt, and even participate in creating a post-adoption agreement for contact or the sharing of information with the adoptive families.
The firm also offers services to families that need assistance with parenting skills, supervised visitation, and custody investigations. Many types of parenting classes will be offered; comprehensive parenting, introduction to parenting, co-parenting, parenting teens, and parenting children with disabilities, to name a few. Linda intends to develop a full range of parenting classes so that any parent who needs to develop new skills, whether court ordered, or just interested in learning, will find a class to suit their needs and their schedules. Supervised visitation is another service offered at Wishing Well. Supervised visits will take place in the community in a natural setting; like a park, a restaurant, or a bowling alley. The supervisor will remain with the child throughout the visitation and strict adherence to court orders will be followed, but the families will be able to have a more relaxed and social atmosphere for visits. Finally, divorcing couples who wish to present a neutral, unbiased report to the judge in their custody dispute can obtain a custody investigation. The custody investigation is very similar to a home study, but biographies both homes involved in a divorce. A report is written for the judge. Linda has an excellent understanding of the matters that need to be considered in making recommendations in custody cases.
Linda’s hope is to increase the number of children in our community who live in safe, loving homes. Understanding that there are many ways to accomplish this goal, Wishing Well has tried to create a broad spectrum of services to assist both families that are doing their best to remain together, and families who are making the choice that the best way to meet their goals is to live apart.