Douglass & Runger - April 2022



When you’re in pain, daily activities like walking to the mailbox or reaching for a plate from the cupboard can exacerbate inflamed joints and weak muscles. However, just simply being a human can intensify this pain, too. The

skills, and endurance, among other benefits. It’s the practice of gardening to stimulate mindfulness. Dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, the Persians were known for creating beautiful, calming gardens for this very purpose, and the first documented use of gardening for medical reasons is from the 1800s. Since then, connecting humans to plants is now a common treatment in many countries.

reason is in your brain. For years, researchers have connected our mental well-being with our physical health. Study after study shows that those who suffer from mental illnesses also have intense bouts of pain. Physical therapy is a powerful treatment method designed to use your body’s strength and movement to stimulate physical healing. But to holistically recover from an injury or pain, you may have to also address your mental health.

What do I have to do? To effectively engage in horticulture therapy, you have to engage with nature. Plant a small garden in your yard and tend to it each day or week. Join a community garden, plant an indoor herb garden, or pluck weeds from your yard. If you’re not much of a gardener, try visiting local botanical gardens or hike a local trail and identify plant life each week.

This spring, as April showers loom, consider a centuries-old practice that has shown time and time again to improve mental wellness. All it requires is a little dirt, patience, and the great outdoors. What is horticulture therapy? As the American Horticultural Therapy Association explains, horticulture therapy can improve cognitive and memory abilities, balance, language

Or, ask your local nursery for suggestions about plants that are easy to care for. The goal is to physically and mentally connect with nature, which bonds you to a simpler form of life.

To learn more about horticulture therapy, connect with a local psychiatrist or counselor.


Stepparent adoptions — and other adoptions — are among some of the most rewarding tasks we do here at Douglass & Runger. Everyone is usually very excited about this opportunity, but we have witnessed the other side of stepparent adoption: the instances when it doesn’t work out. To avoid any additional hurt, heed these facts about stepparent adoption. What is step-parent adoption? When you choose to adopt your stepchild, you are legally stepping into the role of their parent. Under Tennessee law, children can only have two legal guardians, so by taking on this role, you are replacing one of their biological parents. This means you are legally and financially responsible for this child until they are 18 years old or recognized as an adult by the courts. This responsibility does not go away should you divorce their other biological parent, the one who still has their parental rights, or said parent passes away. How does it work? In cases where the biological parent you are “replacing” is still alive, we must obtain permission from that parent to terminate their parental rights. For some parents, namely those who are not involved in their child’s life, this is an easy decision. But other parents who have been very active may be insulted and confused. In these instances, we recommend family therapy and counseling to establish a stronger relationship among the child’s parenting team. After all, you can be a parent without a legal designation.

The courts may also choose to terminate a parent’s rights without their permission if the court deems it is necessary and good for the child.

The other factor to consider is the child’s age. Children ages 14 and older must consent to stepparent adoption. Children who are under 14 are interviewed by the judge, who then uses what the child says — and other factors — to conclude what is best for the child. From there, the process continues. In standard adoption cases, parents undergo a six-month waiting period and are required to go through a home study before the adoption is finalized. Stepparents can have this process waived because they already have a relationship with the child. If you or someone you know is considering stepparent adoption, seek support and guidance from experts. Call Douglass & Runger today or visit to learn more!

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