BUCKHANNON – Folks who are thinking about becoming foster parents, those who are already foster parents and those who have adopted children are invited to a new support group forming in Upshur County.
The name of the group is the Upshur County Foster Care/Adoption Support Group.
Lori Ulderich Harvey, executive director of the Upshur County Family Resource Network, said they are sponsoring a kick-off party for the group on Tuesday, July 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Upshur County Recreation Park Pool. Harvey said she hopes lots of folks will come out for the gathering to help support one another and find out about fostering and adoption.
“Anyone who is interested in information to foster or adopt, those who are new to fostering or adopting and our veterans that have adopted 20 years ago or who have fostered 20 kids would be appropriate for this group,” Harvey said. “We need our veterans there as well as new people, too.”
Harvey said the group is important, especially now, when there is such a large influx of kids who need fostered because of the addiction crisis in the Mountain State.
“There is not, to my knowledge, a formal support group in Upshur County or any county surrounding us, so right now, as a foster parent myself, I know it is hard to have time when kids are going to ball practice or running around,” Harvey said. “When you are a foster parent, you have visits and lots of paperwork you have to do. That adds more; that takes away from family time. One of the tools of child abuse prevention is taking some of the pressures away from families.”
“We want this group to be more recreation and less education,” Harvey added.
Although the group is designed to be fun, Harvey said there will be some education, such as CPR training, which is a requirement for those who foster children. Other specialized topics geared toward the groups will be added to the meetings of the Upshur County Foster Care/Adoption Support Group.
“We are starting the group off with a pool party and will have drinks and snacks – we want this to be an absolutely fun, recreational time for both parents and kids,” she emphasized. “I think this is important – when you sit around a traditional support circle, people don’t open up as much – they just sit there.”
“In my head, this will offer side-by-side conversations where folks can share a little bit more or talk about other things because it is just you and the person beside you talking. That organically gets people together,” Harvey continued.
Another advantage of this recreational get-together is the children who are adopted or in foster care can get together and interact. She said the goal of the get-together is to let everyone relax and talk and “just be.”
“They know what they are going through. Anyone can say they understand what someone is going through and say they empathize with them, but they don’t know exactly how it is,” Harvey said. “I really think it’s important for these types of families to get together, especially with the kids. The kids may not become the best of friends, but they can network with other children in the same situations.”
The event is free, and RSVPs are not required but would be welcomed to make sure the FRN orders enough pizza and drinks. Additional information or to RSVP, call 304-473-1051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.