Bringing families together: Nevada County Child Welfare and Sierra Forever Families bring back the 49er Fun Park event and host monthly support groups | TheUnion.com

Bringing families together: Nevada County Child Welfare and Sierra Forever Families bring back the 49er Fun Park event and host monthly support groups

Submitted to The Union

More than 200 members of local families formed through adoption gathered at the 49er Fun Park in Grass Valley on Tuesday, June 26, to enjoy a summer's evening of activities, courtesy of the generosity of Nevada County Child Welfare and Sierra Forever Families, according to a release.

Children of all ages played arcade games, munched on pizza and enjoyed the Fun Park's irresistible array of go-carts, batting cages and miniature golf. Their parents, all Nevada County residents who have adopted through the foster care system or are about to, relaxed in the shaded picnic area, networked and reconnected with friends. Not that some of them didn't find themselves in the bounce house too.

Sierra Forever Families, established in Nevada City 35 years ago, is a nonprofit foster family agency that focuses on finding permanent homes for children in care. Although Sierra coordinated the event, all foster/adoptive and pre-adoptive families in Nevada County were invited to attend, with Nevada County Child Protective Services picking up the tab and the generous folks at 49er Fun Park filling in around the edges with the two bounce houses and beverages.

The challenges of parenting children who have had a bumpy start can leave families feeling isolated at times. Adoptive children sometimes perceive themselves as "different." A gathering like the one at 49er Fun Park is a golden opportunity for the entire family to relax in the company of others who have walked in the same shoes. Nevada County's adoptive parent network is a place to exchange valuable parenting tips and learn about supportive services.

The 49er Fun Park event has been a welcome annual get-together for foster/adoptive families in past years but had been on hiatus for three years. It was revived this year in large part due to the organizing efforts of Debbie Campbell, the post-adoptive resource social worker for a local collaborative post-adoption support venture between Nevada County Child Welfare and Sierra Forever Families.

An adoptive parent, Campbell also runs two monthly support groups for Nevada County foster/adoptive parents. One is the first Friday morning and the second is the third Monday evening of each month. Child care is available; more information can be found at sierraff.org, by calling 530-478-0900, by calling Debbie Campbell at 530-537-7405, or on Facebook at Nevada County Foster and Adoptive Families.

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Source: Sierra Forever Families.