EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- Dr. Karyn Purvis is the best-selling co-author of "The Connected Child." It has helped countless adoptive and foster parents better connect with their children as they seek to love and care for them in a way that honors God. She recently spoke at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler during the East Texas Family Conference - "God's Heart For Orphans."
Dr. Purvis says the need to help children who have been harmed is enormous."
"Some of the most tragic children I have worked with, or most heartbroken children that I've worked with, have been children who are foster children. They know they don't belong. They don't have a family of their own."
Dr, Purvis, a Developmental Psychologist, has spent the last ten years developing research-based interventions for at-risk children. "If they didn't get the touch and the eye contact and the nurturing and the care and the safety when they were tiny, no matter what age they are now, they still need it," she said.
As a former foster mom, Dr. Purvis has seen it first-hand. "When I started fostering there was not a manual for helping a child from a hard place. What they most desperately want, they may reject with force because they are afraid."
She says connecting with one of these children takes patience and persistence.
"Be prepared to slow down. Be prepared to take time of work. Be prepared to keep that child close to you and spend great deals of time with this child. These children don't know what a family is."
The encouraging news is, with the right tools, there is hope says Dr. Purvis.
"I've worked in a number of countries around the world and all points U.S. and I have never yet seen a single child that doesn't come to dramatic levels of healing in an environment that is informed for how to help this child heal and willing to make the sacrifices."
She advises families to weigh those sacrifices in how they decide to help a child.
"Be sure it is God's timing. Be sure that you've heard the call correctly because there are thousands of ways God calls us to minister to the orphan."
Dr. Purvis is dealing with her own challenge right now. She is battling breast cancer, but it's not slowing down her work to help children. With a tear rolling down her cheek she says, "I think as long as their is breath in this body, I can't not be with children."