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Western Mass. events aim to recruit and match adoptive adults with local children in foster care

SPRINGFIELD The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) and the Department of Children & Families (DCF) invite adults considering adoption from foster care to attend two informative events in April. Anyone interested in adoption, from beginners to experienced adoptive parents, is welcome to attend either or both free events. These events aim to recruit and match prospective adoptive parents with local children in foster care. Adoption Information Networking Session, April 12, 6 - 8 p.m. at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital, 1233 Main St., Holyoke This Adoption Information Networking Session is designed to give adults the opportunity to network with social workers to learn about the children and teens who will attend the April 24 Adoption Party. Social workers will also explain the adoption process, the various ways to help families find the right child for them, and the support services available for adoptive parents and children. Refreshments are included. Waiting children will not attend this event. This event previews the April 24 Adoption Party to help interested families make the best use of that event. Adoption Party, April 24, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Springfield College's East Campus, 701 Wilbraham Rd., Springfield This event focuses on finding adoptive families for local children and teens in foster care. The program begins at 10 a.m. with an orientation for adults on the "ins and outs" of adoption parties. Waiting children and their social workers arrive at 10:30 a.m. for the fun and games. This adoption party gives prospective adoptive parents the chance to interact with waiting children through informal activities, including arts and crafts and group games. Attendees should dress casually for this event. Refreshments will be served. Nearly any adult can be considered to adopt a child, teen or sibling group from foster care. Prospective parents can be single, married or partnered, straight or gay, homeowners or renters, and of nearly any income level. The priority is finding a good match for each child in need of adoption. In Massachusetts, more than 600 children and teens in foster care are waiting for adoption into permanent loving families. School-aged children, sibling groups, children of color and youth with special needs tend to wait the longest for families. MARE's Adoption Parties provide a relaxed setting where waiting children and adults hoping to build their families can meet. Participants can also learn about the adoption process and support resources available, as well as financial subsidies for which children adopted from foster care may be eligible. To RSVP for the Adoption Information Networking Session and/or the Adoption Party, or to learn more about adoption from foster care, contact MARE at 1-800-882-1176 or visit www.mareinc.org. MARE is a private, non-profit organization, working since 1957 to find a "permanent place to call home" for children in foster care, including sibling groups and children who are traditionally harder to place. We do this by recruiting, educating, supporting and advocating for families throughout the adoption process.