November is National Adoption Month, so what better time to celebrate adoption as an amazing option for building your family? If you’ve thought about adopting, but are not sure where to start, consider attending the 20th Annual Adoption Fair hosted by the Adoptive Families of the Capital Region (AFCR), a local, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization that has been supporting adoptive families for over 30 years.
The Adoption Fair features Marie Dolfi, a licensed clinical social worker, presenting a seminar entitled ‘Adoption: Where do I start?’ which will provide an overview of the various paths a family can choose in their adoption journey. Following the seminar, mini-workshops on infant, international, and foster care adoption will run concurrent with the exhibit-style Adoption Fair in which attendees will have the opportunity to visit with adoption service providers including adoption agencies, attorneys, pediatricians and social workers that assist in the adoption process.
“After thinking about adoption for a long time, and becoming completely overwhelmed with the abundance of adoption information available online, my husband and I attended the Adoption Fair, met with real professionals and adoptive families who answered our questions and helped us feel at ease starting the process to adopt,” says Tracy Paxon, AFCR co-President and adoptive mom. “About 2 years after we attended our initial Adoption Fair we finalized the adoption of our amazing son, Jacob. Today we are in the process of adopting another child and are thankful to AFCR for helping connect us with adoption professionals and for supporting us through our adoption journeys.”
In addition to the Adoption Fair, AFCR offers many educational and social programs for families formed through adoption as well as those looking to adopt. Brenna Autrey, AFCR co-President and adoptive mom comments, “AFCR was my lifeline when I was waiting for my child to be born. I attended all of their events, connected with other parents who were also waiting, and asked questions of parents who had already built their family through adoption. AFCR helped to educate me, calm me, and offer me hope. I'm not sure what I would have done without the organization to lean on.” Autrey adds, “What I love about AFCR is they provide support through all stages of adoption - from pre-adoption to post adoption. Some of our closest friends have been found through events through AFCR. My child loves knowing people who are "like him"; I value those friendships.” Volunteer, and adoptive mom, Kristin Blick adds, “When we were first trying to decide if adoption was right for our family we quickly got very overwhelmed with all the information you can find online. A lot of it can be intimidating and honestly a little scary. AFCR put friendly faces on what is ultimately a very human, personal experience. If it wasn't for this organization I'm not sure we would have our beautiful baby girl today."
In the last few months, AFCR hosted a number of great events including the second annual membership picnic and a trip to Ellm’s Farm. “One of our favorite outings each year is the AFCR trip to Ellm’s Farm” says Kate Jankowski, volunteer and adoptive mom. “My son is only 3 years old, but since he was a baby we have enjoyed hayrides and pumpkin picking with our AFCR family. It’s great to be able to connect with other families in a social setting and build relationships that will last a lifetime.” In addition to the social events, AFCR held a ‘Meet and Greet’, as well as a seminar by Dr Anthony Malone on developmental pediatrics and personal perspectives on adoption. “Dr. Malone was so informative. I think he did a great job covering all the really important risks associated with adoption in such a concise and easy to understand manner,” shared Laurie Coreno Reynolds, licensed mental health counselor and adoption clinician.
On November 1st members came together at the Albany Devils game for some socializing and celebration of National Adoption Month, on November 17the from 6:30-8:30pm, Laurie Landau, licensed clinical social worker and adoptive mom will facilitate a prospective parent discussion panel at Guilderland Public Library, on December 6th AFCR families with young children will get together for the Yankee Trails ‘Santa’s Magical Express’, and on December 12th AFCR will hold the annual Holiday Party. Adoption is an amazing path to parenthood, and AFCR is available to families regardless where they are in their adoption journey. For more information about AFCR, please visit their website at www.adoptivefamilieny.org or call their voicemail at 518-763-8019 and one of their volunteers will get back to you.
The 20th Annual Adoption Fair will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 10:15am-1pm at the Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Ave, Delmar, NY 12054