Gustavus Adolphus Family Services' (GAFS) Therapeutic Foster Care Program is celebrating National Adoption Month.
In 1995, President Clinton proclaimed November as National Adoption Month. The celebration usually includes National Adoption Day, with courthouses throughout the nation participating and hundreds of adoptions being finalized simultaneously. There are thousands of children waiting for permanent homes in the foster care system.
''We have children right here in our community's foster care system waiting for a forever family,'' said Sylvia A. Trusso, MSW, program manager of GAFS Foster Care Program. ''There is a shortage of foster families, especially adoptive families, and a great need for both. By bringing awareness to the community-at-large, we hope that those who have been thinking about becoming foster parents and adopting a child will make the call.''
GA Family services kicked off Adoption Month with a multi-cultural dinner held at the GA Learning Center. Foster families and the children celebrated by bringing food from their different cultures. They shared a brief history about their culture and traditions they experience within the family.
James believes that a foster home teaches a young person what it feels like to be part of a caring family. ''It gives a secure state of mind and they get to know what an actual family feels like,'' he said. James graduated from Frewsburg High School in 2011, played football for the Frewsburg Bears and is now attending Jamestown Community College.
Chris and Don Baker have three adopted children. Don was adopted at birth and knows firsthand what it means to be part of a loving family. The Bakers have been foster parents for 11 years and they can't imagine not being foster parents. Don feels blessed to be able to give to other children the love and sense of belonging he was given. The Baker's adopted daughter Mary will celebrate her ninth year with the Baker Family in December.
''I can't imagine being anywhere else!'' she says with a smile.
The GAFS foster care program ''adopted'' Nichalas, who is a linebacker for the Southside Blue Devils. His mother is a GA foster parent and asked if GA would adopt him as a player, and support him and his team.
''Nichalas is the big brother to one of our foster children, and it seemed like a perfect idea that we would give him the support and love he gives his foster brother,'' Trusso adds.
Fostering is a life enriching experience where every experience is personal. Therapeutic Foster Care is a program of Gustavus Adolphus Family Services, located on the Lutheran Social Services campus in Jamestown. GAFS is a specialized treatment program for youth and their families who are in need of care. Treatment includes residential, educational, therapeutic foster care and preventative services.
For more information about becoming a foster parent log onto www.gafamiyservices.org or call Sylvia Trusso at 307-2749.