Fostering Hope – Support for Foster Parents

By: - September 2, 2011

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Foster and adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes. Infants, toddlers, teens, one kid, two kids, ten kids. Therfore, families involved in foster care come to the table with a variety of perspectives.

Fostering Hope is a Tapestry small group that provides support and encouragement to foster families of all kinds. This summer we chose to pause the group to reflect on new ways to make this group more relevant and helpful to those who serve children in care. We are now re-launching the group on Sunday, September 11th, with some new faces and a renewed focus.

Fostering Hope will now be facilitated by the newest members of Tapestry’s leadership team, Ira and Valerie Kirkley. Ira and Valerie are in the midst of their own foster adoptive journey. They adopted a sibling group of two (one boy and one girl) after fostering for over a year, and are currently fostering a third child. The last four years have seen them deal with a variety of unexpected circumstances from parenting a child with physical disabilities to adopting from a Native American tribe to developing a relationship with their kids’ biological parents. Prior to foster care, Valerie worked extensively with at-risk teenagers. Ira has a degree in Biblical Text and currently works as an executive in the home improvement industry. They both have a passion for helping children from hard places, and they are committed to serving and coming alongside foster families to connect, encourage and equip them for the journey ahead.

A child’s foster or adoptive experience can rarely be navigated successfully without one or more loving and informed caretakers. Unfortunately, providing a child with such loving guidance can be draining to say the least. A foster or adoptive parent’s outlook ebbs and flows between behavioral outbursts in one moment and a meaningful moment of connection the next. Fostering Hope is a safe and open environment that acknowledges the unique frustrations experienced by foster parents while inviting them to share ideas and experiences that offer hope, healing and joy.

Fostering Hope is open to all who are involved in serving children through foster care, including those who are fostering, fostering-to-adopt or are considering foster care or foster care adoption. The group meets on the 2nd Sunday evening of each month from 5:00 to 6:15 pm at Irving Bible Church (generally in the Training Center, across from the Tubes indoor play area, but for September the group will meet in Room West A). Children ages birth through 5th grade can participate in the Sunday evening children’s programs during this time, and no registration is required.  Training certificates are also available for participation in this group.  In addition, a church-wide family meal is served immediately following the group for those who are interested. The cost is $3 per person with a $10 per family max (for families of four or more).

For more information or questions, contact Valerie Kirkley at vvkirkley@yahoo.com.

Also Found In: News & Events, Serving Children in Foster Care, Tapestry Blog