Years and years of education, it seems, can not fully prepare a person for the experience of becoming a parent. But for couples considering adoption or foster care, an upcoming event will provide at least a glimpse of what to expect.
Erica Jourdan, who works at the Buncombe County Department of Social Services, says she and her husband never imagined they’d adopt a teenager when they first started exploring their options. But one 15-year-old’s profile captured her heart, and that young woman has since become her adoptive daughter. At the Saturday, Nov. 3, Foster/Adopt Fall Festival, prospective parents will have the opportunity to view photos and profiles of kids who are presently in need of a home. The kids, hoping to find people to take them into their lives, create their own profiles to introduce themselves.
Black Mountain resident Rebecca Colley, who spent much of her youth with foster parents, has adopted two children, and will provide foster care for two more. “It gives me a chance to give back,” she says. “I’m really thankful that I went through it. There’s a lot that I can relate to and recognize.”
Attending the free event is a first step in the process for prospective foster or adoptive parents. “The festival is just a feel-good meet-and-greet, where people can drop by and get information,” Jourdan explains.
Foster and adoptive parents will be on hand to talk about the rewards and challenges of providing foster care or bringing up adopted kids. “Families need to be prepared that even if these kids came from the most idyllic home life, they’d still have issues with being taken away from everything they know,” Jourdan says.
For those wanting to help “at-risk” youth, but not prepared to wade into the great responsibility of adoption, abundant information will be available about mentoring and sponsorship programs that link adults with youth in need. Agencies from throughout the region that work with youth in foster care will attend the festival.
The Foster/Adopt Fall Festival will be hosted by the Buncombe County Department of Social Services and Professional Parenting. Snacks will be offered, and a kids’ area will have arts and crafts, face painting and music.
The free event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce on Montford Avenue, from 3 to 6 p.m.