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November Is National Adoption Month
In acknowledgement of National Adoption Month, Home Page Correspondent Lauren Gooch spoke with Executive Director of Tioga County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) McKenna Christman, as well as Placement Liaison and Foster Care Supervisor Trisha Tanner. Both women are key players in the well being of so many children, and the success of their experience during foster care. They explained their purpose and passion within this field, and the reward of helping children find security and, maybe even their “forever home” through adoption.
McKenna Christman explained the need for children who are going through the court process to have a support system. “I think children are already having a really hard time going through the system. You know, court is a really hard thing to go through. It’s tough for adults, let alone children,” shared McKenna. CASA provides a trained, community volunteer to advocate for the child while they undergo this court process. These volunteers serve as a voice, eyes, and ears for the child during their time in dependency court.
On the other side of the situation, Trisha Tanner acts as a connection between the court system and Tioga County Children and Youth Services. Under the umbrella of this liaison roll falls the responsibility of supervising two foster care caseworkers. Serving as this bridge between court and placement, Trisha and her team take great care to find the best foster home available for each child’s situation. “We try to get all of the background information that we can on these kids, so that we can provide our foster parents with all the information, so that we don’t just have a child show up on their door and they know nothing about this child,” she explained. This transition in to a foster home is often frightening for children. Taking this into account, Trisha’s department supplies all of the support available for both the foster parents, as well as the children, to make the process as smooth as possible, including consistent visits within the foster home. The road of a foster parent is not always clear, as the number one goal is reunification for the child and their biological family. However, Trisha clarifies with the individuals that if this reunification is not a possibility, the opportunity for adoption is then available. This process can lead to “forever homes” and brand new families. “I actually have an adoption coming up tomorrow for a child. This happens! By the end of the year, we might have 10 adoptions going through this year.” She went on to say, “When they find their ‘forever home’, that’s when we are rewarded, knowing that kiddo is loved, cared for, and will be.”
Folks who can’t become foster parents, but would still love to extend help and support, have plenty of options! McKenna shared how far financial donations can reach in CASA’s efforts. “Your donations can actually help us prepare training materials, get advocates through the training and matched with a child and start working with a child right away. So, that way they’ve got someone there for them, and helping them through this time.” A donation link will be posted on the Tioga County CASA Facebook page. This is also a good place to reach out with any questions or thoughts you may have about being part of the process, or the office can be reached at the number (570) 948-9525. In addition, considerations and questions for Trisha Tanner’s department can be directed to the number (570) 724-5766.
When considering the idea of adoption, and the sheer transformation that it brings, Homepage Vice President Sara Vogt has first hand experience and insight! After the adoption of their two daughters Johanna and Julianna, Sara says, “The paperwork ‘pregnancy’ felt as real to me as when I carried our son in my womb.” If you are considering adoption, and would like more information from the Vogt family’s experience, please click on the link here!
Awareness and involvement in foster care and adoption is a deep and essential topic. The Bible says to, “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27) All of those in our county, such as McKenna and Trisha, who work tirelessly to carry out this commission, are making a greater impact that we’ll ever know. A heartfelt appreciation to all represented in these departments during this year’s National Adoption Month!
Contact information for McKenna and Trisha can be found below:
I’MPACT: Tioga County CASA
16 Water Street
Wellsboro PA 16901
Trisha L. Tanner
Placement Liaison/Foster Care Supervisor
1873 Shumway Hill Road
Wellsboro, PA 16901