National Adoption Month: Shenandoah Valley Social Services says finding homes for children in their community helps reduce trauma

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 6:03 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Lauren Wimer, a senior family service specialist with Shenandoah Valley Social Services, said one of the most important things to remember during National Adoption Month is the need to match children with families in their own communities.

“It helps reduce trauma. A lot of times we don’t have the number of families that we need in our community and children are having to be placed outside of the area, so in Roanoke or Richmond or Northern Virginia or even in Virginia Beach,” Wimer said.

Nicole Ocheltree adopted her son Marquel about three years ago after fostering him for four years. She said their first night together, she was scared.

“He was going to be my first child and I had my mom stay with me that night because I was like I am not starting this out alone,” Ocheltree explained.

Ocheltree has raised Marquel since he was nine months old. Ocheltree said it is her mission to recruit other foster and adoptive parents.

“It is hard. They are challenging. you are going to cry, but you are going to smile and laugh and even if they do return home,” Ocheltree explained. “You are going to know that you had a time in that life that you positively impacted a child, that may remember you for the rest of their lives.”

Wimer said while November highlights the need for adoptive families, the need doesn’t stop at the end of the month.

“The goal of foster care is reunification, so we are always recruiting foster families, but we definitely highlight the need for adoptive families during November,” Wimer explained.

For more information on adoptions in the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

To learn more about how National Adoption Month is being celebrated around the country, click here.

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