A Maple Lake mother of seven -- and foster parent to more than 530 children -- is starting a Brainerd support group for adoptive and kinship care parents for families in Crow Wing, Morrison and Aitkin counties.
Julie Pribyl is the east central Minnesota parent liaison for Minnesota Adoption Support and Preservation, a collaborative organization that is attempting to ensure that Minnesota's adoptive parents have the support they need to deal with the many parenting issues that can arise in adoptive homes.
This first adoption support group meeting will be 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Brainerd Public Library large group meeting room. Other meetings will be held at the same time and location on the third Tuesday of each month. All meetings are free and informal. Pribyl plans to bring adoption support information to the meetings, which will have an occasional guest speaker.
The support group is an opportunity for adoptive or kinship care parents -- relatives who are caring for related children through long-term placement or adoption -- to discuss respite care, training opportunities, medical resources, get advice on school individualized educational plans and adoption assistance programs, among other topics.
It's a place where adoptive parents can go to learn from one another and a place to go to vent frustrations and share even the smallest successes. It will be a confidential, nonjudgmental environment where parents can come share, listen and give ideas to others, said Pribyl.
Pribyl and her husband, Dave, who is a farmer, have taken in more than 530 foster children, including emergency and long-term foster care children. They have four children, ages 20-31, a former foster son now 31 and two sisters they adopted through the foster care system who are now 5 and 8.
Pribyl said the adoption support group is a resource for adoptive parents. She also can help provide information to help make schools more "adoption friendly" for adopted and foster children and their families.
The program was developed in an attempt to reduce the number of disrupted adoptions that were happening with Minnesota's Waiting Children.
"There was no support," said Pribyl. "They need the support. It's not the same talking to a social worker as it is another parent. Adoption is doable, but you need support from other people."
The support group is open to any parents involved in adoption or kinship care, including those adopting through the foster care system, Minnesota's Waiting Children or international or private adoption.
To be included on mailings about the adoptive support group or for more information, call Pribyl toll free at (877) 699-5937 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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