Every family had perfect attendance

Mike Schloss knows about parent support and the importance of community. Before he became a stay at home dad, he worked at Treehouse, a local organization that provides much needed support to foster children in Washington.

When his daughter was born, Mike joined PEPS for Dads. Later, he joined Baby Peppers. He was the only dad in this daytime group for 5-12 month olds, but the group formed bonds and he made good connections.

A couple of years later, he and his wife, Kathryn, decided to grow their family through adoption. They went through the process at Amara to prepare for being foster/adoptive parents.

Amara’s mission is to ensure that every child in foster care has the love and support of a committed family – as quickly as possible, and for as long as each child needs.

“Getting ready to be a foster/adoptive family is life-changing even before you have a child join you, ” Mike says.

Amara is a local not-for-profit organization with a 96-year history that serves children in foster care and provides intensive support to foster and adoptive families. Amara’s mission is to ensure that every child in foster care has the love and support of a committed family – as quickly as possible, and for as long as each child needs. Amara welcomes all types and configurations of families. It is also a PEPS Network Partner.

Amara knew they wanted to provide this important structured peer-to-peer way for their foster and adoptive parents to share with each other and get support. It customized the PEPS curriculum to fit the needs of its families and also made sure that childcare was an option. By inviting its alumni foster and adoptive families to be part of the groups, current families benefitted from insights from those who have been on the foster and adopt journey.

“It was because of the support of Amara and PEPS that we were able to have this shared, powerful experience,” Mike says. “There is incredible need out there [to adopt]… incredible families are fostering… and incredible need for support for those families.”

Even as Mike was going through the home study process to get his foster/adopt license, Amara asked him to facilitate a pilot PEPS group for Amara parents. Unlike most PEPS Groups, he facilitated the group as a participant. That means, he handled the logistics and led the discussion topics but also participated as a parent – an experiment that benefitted everyone!

They met, using the non-judgmental approach and format of PEPS, but different in some important ways. First off, it was a shorter commitment of 8 weeks. And the kiddos ranged in age from just a few weeks to 5 years. And the group itself was smaller, with just 4 couples.

Amara targets having between 4-6 couples in their groups, to accommodate the children and also the busy childcare providers, who are approved volunteers with Amara. Mike’s group felt that four families was a max.

Every family had perfect attendance. “We basked in each other’s highs, sat with each other’s lows,” Mike said.

In their group, families found a community “just like them,” who could understand the highest highs and some very low, lows, and be there for each other with emotional support, concrete information and ideas, and a strong social connection.

“It was because of the support of Amara and PEPS that we were able to have this shared, powerful experience,” Mike says. “There is incredible need out there [to adopt]… incredible families are fostering… and incredible need for support for those families.”

Mike knows parent support and the impact that it has on children and families – he’s worked in it, he’s volunteered for it, and he’s living it as a dad.

Amara is launching its 5th group soon, and a 6th soon after.

 

These kinds of partnerships are one way that PEPS is bringing parent support to more and more families – and it’s because of you.

When you support PEPS financially, you are helping us create groups for parents – and partnerships in the community.

Please make a gift today!

Thank you for helping us grow our connections and our purpose!

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