ROANOKE,Va. – Jennifer Foley, mother of three, is one of the first set of parents to complete a Child Parent Relationship group session for adoptive parents.
“It’s not weak to ask for help, its strength to ask for health,” said Foley.
The fully funded 10-week session is offered through Family Service of the Roanoke Valley, for children who have suffered from abuse, neglect and domestic abuse.
Foley says having the group therapy sessions with other parents lets her know she’s not alone.
"Even in those moments where life feels like it's falling apart, because I don't understand my son, to know I am not the only mom out there," Foley said.
Foley's son was adopted into her family when he was just 10 months old.
Now at age 7, this mother of three says the trauma he endured at such a young age is why she attends these meetings.
"I know how much I love him. We have these standards of what love is supposed to look like and it's unfair because not everyone is going to be at the same standard. So (it feels good) to just be able to understand what love looks like for him," Foley said.
An $80,000 grant from Social Services covers the cost for anyone who qualifies.
During weekly two-hour sessions, a group of five parents sees and share insight into their children's emotional world through play therapy.
"Typically, the general population just sees play as play and it's just what kids do, but play has so much meaning and it's the way they are exploring and understanding the world,” said Jennifer Amateis, clinical supervisor at Family Service of Roanoke Valley.
“And when parents come to understand and interpret that language, there is such a bigger empathy that opens up."
Foley says the service has left a long-term impact she is forever grateful for. To apply, call 540-563-5316 for the next group therapy session.