Giving the Gift of Love in Arlington

There was something money cannot buy in the Carlin Springs Elementary School cafeteria on Saturday, Dec. 16. It was the Foster Care Holiday Party, held every year at this time, and it included parents, foster parents, volunteers, and children who had been embraced by foster parents, coming together to celebrate. These foster parents had given their time, and affection, to children who for various reasons, for varying amounts of time, needed to live in a family that was not their own.

Leslie and Robert (Bobby) Harden were enjoying the party with their two children. A while back they had been thinking about adopting a child when one of their colleagues mentioned the Foster Parent Program and said it was fun, enriching, and well-run. Since there was an information session approaching soon after, they signed up. Shortly after, a training session was available, so they signed up for that too. “The training was great,” said Leslie Harden, “and the support is great.” Before long, they had started fostering. They fostered their daughter Vanelope, and quite a few others, before they ended up adopting their daughter when her family could not take her back. They pursued a domestic adoption for their son Va’Kai .

Erica Serrano, the resource parent recruiter, for Arlington County Department of Human Services’ Child and Family Services Division, pointed out the number of donations that made the Holiday Party possible, including, food, beverages and entertainment. Serrano is always looking for more prospective foster parents to come to the information session. For more information, see:

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