G.A. Family Services Holds Ceremony For Foster, Adoptive Families

The G.A. Family Services Foster Care offices in West Seneca and Holland hosted a special adoption ceremony recently to recognize foster care families and Resource Permanency Center families that have adopted a child over the course of the last year.

The event celebrated National Adoption Month. Al Dirschberger, Erie County commissioner of social services, along with representatives from the Office of Child and Family Services were in attendance to share words of encouragement and congratulations to each family.

Lutheran Pastor Emily Ebert, who is also a certified foster parent, began the ceremony with a welcome and prayer.

“We gather together at this time to recognize and celebrate the commitment all of these beautiful families have made to each other. These children are special gifts; gifts you have chosen to parent through nurturing love. At this time, we will invite our families forward one by one for their sand ceremony,” she said.

Each family stood before the room with several containers of sand of varying colors inside. When each family member poured their colored sand into a larger container, the multicolored result represented their foundation of love and their family as one. Sand ceremonies are common for adoption families, weddings, and other unifying celebrations. A special sand container was created during the event for Daniel Hartman, Erie County Department of Social Services adoption attorney, with each family contributing to it. After 38 years of practicing family law, Hartman will retire in 2018.

“We wanted to make sure we honored Dan for his hard work,” said Maggie Dreyer, director of G.A. Family Services Foster Care Program. “Dan and his staff have helped finalize the adoption paperwork for many of the families in attendance tonight. They deserve a lot of credit because they played a vital role in each families’ journey.”

G.A. Family Services works with various county government and social service agencies to offer support to families looking to foster or adopt children in Western New York. Training and skill building, financial support, post-adoption and post-guardianship support, and foster care classes are just a few of their resources available.

“We want our community to know that there is not a perfect family or perfect situation to foster or adopt a local child,” said Dreyer. “If you are flexible, loving, reliable, and have an open mind, you can make a difference in your community,” she said.

For more information on foster care or adoption services provided by G.A. Family Services, please call 1-800-674-4237 or visit G.A. Family Services on the web at www.gafamilyservices.org. G.A. Family Services is a part of Lutheran, a Christian organization with a comprehensive continuum of community, residential, and home based supportive services that help people of all ages gain or retain independence.