Ribbon Tying Event Celebrates National Foster Care Month - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Ribbon Tying Event Celebrates National Foster Care Month

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People in Charlottesville came together Friday to focus on the need for foster parents in the community. Those involved with the process say caring for a child, even for a temporary period of time, can help change their lives for the better.

May is National Foster Care Month. People gathered in downtown Charlottesville Friday afternoon to raise awareness and celebrate those who have stepped up to help give a home to children in need.

Natalie and Stephen Comer say they didn't set out to be foster parents, but that's where their hearts led them.

“God ordained it that way and that's where we landed and then our first child - we fostered her and it became an adoption opportunity,” Natalie said.

The Comers adopted their oldest daughter, Emma, about four years ago. Nine months later, little Asher came into their lives through a private adoption.

“The birth order just sort of fell into place, so we didn't even have to try to work that out, but it sort of happened that way,” Stephen said.

Then the Comers ended up fostering a brother and sister for a family they knew.

“That was a very unique situation because we never thought we could do it. We never thought we could bring children into our home and then see them go,” Natalie said.

The couple says the experience changed their lives and transformed their family.

“They just blended in and it was an amazing experience, but to see how much they changed and healed over that year and a half, it was really like we had a great role in raising them up and preparing to send them forward again,” Natalie said.

Friday afternoon, people tied ribbons on trees along the Charlottesville downtown mall to represent the 221 children in foster care and honor parents like the Comers.

“It's a good opportunity, I think, to give back in such a meaningful way and there's lots of gifts and rewards that come with it, like being a parent, so I think it's an exciting opportunity as well,” said Allison Saunier, a recruitment specialist with Community Attention Foster Families (CAFF).

The Comers say they've gained so much by providing this kind of support for families in need. They are currently in the process of adopting two more foster children in their care.

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