Association acts as support group for parents who foster, adopt
by Jennifer Cohron
Feb 20, 2011 | 1629 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The mission of the Walker County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association is to support those who care for local little ones.

The nonprofit’s motto is “Taking care of the littlest people takes the biggest heart.”

President Tabatha Smith said the group has been around for more than 10 years and that some of the most important assistance it can provide is for emotional needs.

“We try to not only help the kids but the foster parents also,” Smith said.

Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at Jasper First Church of the Nazarene.

Smith said the gatherings are an opportunity to share some of the unique problems and concerns that arise while raising a child in state custody.

Vice president Jamie Beasley added that only another foster parent can understand certain situations.

“There are so many ways it is like being a regular parent, but then again it’s not. There are a lot more rules you have to follow,” Beasley said.

Next month’s meeting will be focused on community involvement.

Anyone who is interested in being a foster parent or supporting others who foster is invited to attend.

Smith said that in the past, the group has been focused on fundraising. The current leadership is looking for more ways that people who can’t give monetarily can help.

For example, she said prayers or an offer to watch children during one of the group’s meetings would be appreciated.

The association is also accepting donations such as clothing, toiletries and baby items.

“When children first come into care, we like to give them a bag with necessities in it. If a foster parent gets an infant in the middle of the night and needs a baby bed, we want to help with that too,” Beasley said.

Smith added that people are needed to sponsor children for birthdays, holidays and sport activities as well as to help pay for the expenses of foster parents who would like to attend educational conferences.

Smith said the check foster children receive from the state barely covers half of their basic needs. Only $50 is allowed for extracurricular activities.

“People think this is about money. It’s not. We do it because we want to and feel like this is our calling,” Smith said.

Smith and her husband became foster parents two years ago after experiencing several miscarriages.

Beasley has a biological son and has cared for four others through foster care.

Beasley said although parting with a child is difficult, she gets back so much in return for her sacrifice.

Smith agreed.

“People say, ‘Bless your heart.’ These children are blessing ours,” she said.

For more information, visit Fapa Walker on Facebook.