ST. GEORGE — In honor of national adoption month, Premier Adoption and Utah Foster Care teamed up to host a free day at Staheli Family Farm for families touched by adoption.
“Celebrating Families Through Adoption” is an annual event where families who have adopted children, or are interested in learning more about the adoption process, can take their kids to ride tractors, eat lunch and earn prizes while parents network and learn.
A number of child-oriented businesses were also present at the event to speak with parents about services they offer at little-to-no cost. Kendra Healey, recruiter for The Adoption Exchange, said events like these are not only beneficial to parents by providing access to information but also through giving families a community support system.
“Other families need to know that they’re not alone,” she said. “We have support from other families that have done this or maybe come somewhere where they can ask questions or even just be celebrating a stress-free event and be able be a family.”
Parents at the event told St. George News that adoption has been one of the most rewarding opportunities they have experienced. Niko Hensley, a father of seven, said he and his wife had four sons before they began to experience fertility challenges.
That’s when the couple decided to become foster parents, hoping to adopt a little girl, before they adopted another boy. After adopting their son, Hensley and his wife welcomed a baby girl and are expecting their seventh child.
“The little boy who we adopted has made our family who we are,” he said.
This experience has not only changed his immediate family but also his son’s mother, who Hensley said they have developed a close relationship with.
Events like Celebrating Families Through Adoption help parents who are wanting to adopt find a firm starting place.
Hensley said adoption is made out to be a lot more daunting than it truly is, adding that while it presents its own challenges, there is a growing community ready to help. Hensley and his wife went through Utah Foster Care when adopting their son, working primarily as his foster parents before they were able to adopt him.
This is one of the most straightforward avenues of adoption, he said, because Utah Foster Care looks to the foster parents first when adoption is a viable choice. Utah Foster Care officials walk parents-to-be through the entire process.
“The kids are waiting right now,” he said. “They need homes. They need families who can love them, support them and take care of them.”
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