Today foster and adoptive parents gathered at the Evangelical First Free Church in Westfield to raise awareness and support for each other.
The Healing Homes Adoption & Foster Care Conference held today in Westfield, was a way for local families who’ve adopted or are fostering children to connect.
“Today we’re holding a conference that is meant to get the word out in the adoption community that we’re an available resource to support one another, to equip one another, to encourage one another, just to educate people who are interested in fostering or adopting,” explained Sarah Lakota, an adoptive parent.
Speakers and panels of individuals who had been adopted and were available to answer parents questions. There were also breakout sessions to focus on specific topics like international adoption, support for dads, foster care issues and open adoptions. For parents like Karen Cree, the day was all about making sure she did the best she could for her family.
“We just want the support. We want to do it right. We want to be the best support that we can for our children. We have a set of twins that are 7 now that we brought into our home when they were 5 weeks old and being part of an open adoption. We just have a lot of questions and want to make sure that we’re doing it right,” said Cree.
And for others the day was about raising awareness for those who may not know that these kinds of resources exist. Even for those just starting to look into fostering and adopting.
“There’s just, there’s such a need. Just even locally there’s such a need for people to step forward and help with kids who need a loving home,” said Debbie Vanette, a foster parent who’s looking to adopt herself.
On the second Tuesday of each month the church also hosts a support group for adoptive or foster parents and those looking to adopt or foster a child. The department of children and families brings in speakers to address a variety of issues. All of those meetings are free and free child care is provided as well.