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Poland church to host fostering and adoption forum
July 24, 2019

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At 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, the Church of the Rock, 7025 Luteran Lane in Poland will host a fostering and adoption forum. The event will feature five local families who will share their stories of the joys and challenges they have gone through. The event is open to the community and childcare will be available.

The five families featured at this event come from several area churches. The families include the Brungards from New Springfield Church of God, the Homrighausens from New Life Church in Poland, the Fellows from the Gate Church in North Lima, the Woodwards from 614 Church in Masury, and the Cooks from the Gate Church in North Lima.

"They are not actually from our church, but they are friends of our church," said Church of the Rock associate pastor Nick Glatzer. "[Putting on a program like this] is one of the ways we believe we are called to fulfill the gospel of the Kingdom of God."

Glatzer said the goal is to give folks, especially those who might consider fostering or adoption, an honest look at what it's like from those who have experience. For Jesse and Tracie Fellows, their experience can be summed up in one word. Insufficient.

"Our biggest challenge would be wrapped up in the word 'insufficient,'" Jesse said. "Filling out medical history, our knowledge is insufficient. Our daughter has an assignment at school involving heritage or family traits, our knowledge is insufficient. Our daughter has questions about her biological family, we can provide some answers, but it's often insufficient. Our daughter is having a low moment struggling with her worth and identity specifically tied to her adoption...all of our love, encouragement, time, and investment, in that moment, is some how insufficient. There are moments, when she has felt that her worth as a baby must have been insufficient. And there are moments when our presence as her parents feels insufficient."

As to the many challenges adoption and fostering create for a family, Matt and Amy Brungard mentioned a few.

"Many of the children's behavior patterns are learned and set between the ages of 3-5," Matt said. "It's very hard to change that learned behavior; it's a slow process."

He said much of their history, from family medical history to genealogy, is unknown. That means many questions the adopted children have may never get answered.

"Many children come from different cultures and backgrounds," Matt said. "The older the child the harder it is for them to assimilate into yours. There can also be racial tension bringing your child into a different community and school district."

He said adoptions can create financial stress on a family. He referred to private adoption agencies and international adoptions.

Another stressful situation can stem from "open adoption." In this form of adoption, communication and visitation between the birth family and child can take place after the adoption, creating a challenge emotionally for both adults and children involved. Matt said any type of adoption affets much more than just the immediate family.

"Adoption affects the whole family," he said. "Grandparents, aunts, and uncles should be involved, and many times they are never considered in the process and tensions can arise within the family community."

By providing the experiences of the five families and what to look for, Glatzer is hoping to shed new light on adopting and fostering children. While some of the evening will focus on the challenges and stress, there will also be the joys and good times that adoptive families go through.

For those who can't attend, but want to learn from the event, they can live stream it at the church's web site www.cotr.net.

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