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City hosts local adoption events

Date: 10/17/2012

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD — The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) and the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF) will offer two free adoption events this fall in the city, to assist local foster children in finding permanent homes.

An adoption information meeting will be conducted at the Westfield Athenaeum on Oct. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. The purpose of the session is to explain the adoption process, providing attendees the opportunity to meet social workers and learn about children currently in need of adoption. Families who've adopted children from foster care will also be present to share their experiences.

On Nov. 4 at the Boys & Girls Club from 1 to 3:30 p.m., an adoption party will be hosted for prospective adoptive parents. Foster children and their social workers will attend the event. Opportunities for interaction and discussion will be presented through an array of activities, including games and crafts.

MARE is an information and referral service that assists the DCF with the placement of children in need of long-term homes.

"We are the connecting link between children in foster care who need a permanent family, and adults looking to adopt," Janice Halpern, director of Public Relations and Fundraising for MARE, said. "People don't have to be movie stars, or travel across the world — there's hundreds of local children in need of loving homes."

Halpern explained the importance of adoption parties. "There's all kinds of benefits. The adoptees are able to network with the social workers, who bring information about the children at the party as well as others in their caseloads. For the children, it's an opportunity hang out with peers, whom they may have been in placement with at one time. Sometimes, siblings cannot be placed [into a temporary foster home] together, so it's a chance for them to visit each other," she said.

To RSVP for either event or for more information, contact MARE at 617-54-ADOPT (542-3678), 800-882-1176, or visit